Stop. Seriously. Stop using ice if you want faster healing. You’ve heard this right? No you haven’t? Well, you’re not alone. Telling anyone who’s been through a first aid class not to use ice for minor injuries is like telling them to drive on the other side of the road.
It was almost 2 years ago when I first got wind of this insane concept. I mean, how can anyone NOT use ice? Haven’t they heard of R.I.C.E? My dazzling 4-color business flyer prominently displayed this useful first aid reminder for soft tissue injuries. But then…
Then the gentleman who coined the snappy acronym in 1978, Dr. Gabe Mirkin, comes out with this article stating that both ice and complete rest are not as helpful for healing as he thought. Well, shit.
“A summary of 22 scientific articles found almost no evidence that ice and compression hastened healing over the use of compression alone, although ice plus exercise may marginally help to heal ankle sprains (The American Journal of Sports Medicine, January, 2004;32(1):251-261).”
This sure turns your world upside down right? It did mine. We’re probably a lot alike so do what I did and go read articles, watch videos, absorb any information you can track down on this. I don’t like to give out false information and it takes a boat load of proof to convince a skeptic like me.
I’ve since used my family as guinea pigs (doesn’t every good scientist?) and talked a few colleagues into trying it. You can read of my son and father’s non icing adventures here, but the simple reality is that I’m now a convert. The pain is something to endure initially, but the injury heals quicker than using ice and resting completely.
The key here is that inflammation holds the fluid (lymph) responsible for delivering the healing cells to the injury site. When we use ice, it may numb the pain but it blocks the body’s natural healing process. The same is true for anti-inflammatory medications. Heat and gentle movement around the injured area help promote circulation and assist the lymphatic system in drainage.
Now your safety brain may be thinking, this is all fine and dandy to try with myself and maybe a few trusted friends but how is this going to fly at work? Oh yeah, this affects your job alright. This opens the proverbial Pandora’s Box in your Safety Management System doesn’t it?
Throwing ice on a rolled ankle or a sore shoulder is not only a knee-jerk reaction, it’s what safety pros DO. You’re probably already imagining all the paperwork involved in changing first aid protocol for minor injuries. Sorry about that reality.
Let’s switch to happy thoughts. The good news is that not using ice is showing faster recovery. This means that in non-emergent situations the rehabilitation can usually start right away, or the next day. The worker can move and use the injured part as long as the movement does not increase the pain and discomfort. They get back to work as soon as they can do so without pain.
Here’s how this helps your business case to management:
I just reposted an article throwing some numbers around about the costs of ‘minor’ injuries. (Source: Supervisor’s Safety Bulletin. June 15, 2016)
The sprains and strains numbers did not surprise me, but don’t you think $17,000 per incident could be reduced if return to work was quicker? It could certainly be reduced if it wasn’t a recordable in the first place (that’s where being bendy, stretchy, agile and mobile comes in).
The inflammation/tendonitis numbers had me blown away. $24,500 per incident! A majority of which is certainly preventable with this new protocol.
Of course you were already thinking this, you know this because you are part of the ninja movement community. You know about first aid tools like movement-based massage therapy, mobility programs and emphasis on total worker health.
But do you implement these tools? Will you take action on this paradigm shift?
If you are struggling trying to get your stretching to get some traction or you want to create a badass mobility program, I’d like to invite you to join me in my online Ninja Mobility Management Course.
It’s essentially a “train the trainer” course for safety and risk professionals.
I’ve been reluctant to teach a program like this because there are a few professionals in our industry who simply want to save a buck and check the box. But, they are not YOU.
You share my passion for watching over the hard working men and women in physical jobs and ensuring they are not injured and come home safe to their families.
This online course will teach you how to:
Get more buy-in and engagement from your workers
Effectively roll out a new mobility program to all crews at a variety of worksites
Inspire workers to do mobility moves on their own time
Get workers to understand the benefits of optimal mobility for themselves and the company
I can’t wait to bring you into rockstar safety pro status with this program!
Stay Awesome My Friends.
P.P.S. If you’re going to try out not using ice for faster healing, let me know how it goes!
If you are interested in more tips on how to turn your workforce into ninjas to lower injury rates, I’d love to have you on our Safety Pro VIP list. CLICK HERE to sign up