Applying ice to a soft tissue injury helps reduce pain, swelling and inflammation. Using ice massage takes this technique to a new level by allowing targeted application of ice and slight pressure to the injury site.
Although any ice will help reduce the pain and swelling, some experts feel that ice massage is the most effective method of applying ice to an injury, and it is used by many physical therapists during the treatment and recovery phase of injury rehab.
The easiest way to perform ice massage on an injury is to freeze water in a small paper cup. Rip the cup to expose the ice. With the injured body part elevated above the heart (if possible) to reduce swelling, massage the injured area. Keep moving the ice in a circular motion for 10 minutes; never hold it in one place. As the ice melts, tear down the sides of the cup to expose the rest of the ice.
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In order to get the best result, it's important to ice the injury during the 48 hours after the injury, before the swelling becomes advanced.