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  • Last updated Aug. 27, 2015

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Image source: pitcherlist.com

If you're in pain after a pitching performance, then ice. If not, don't ice.

Ice impedes the flow of nutrient-rich blood to the muscles. Nutrient-rich blood is what carries away the toxic lactic acid that builds up after prolonged activity. Ice slows recovery. But it can decrease inflammation and pain. So if you're in pain, do it. If not, ice will only slow down your body's natural recovery processes.

How To Ice Safely

Always place a shirt or cloth over the arm before placing an ice pack on it. It's never a good idea to place the ice directly on skin. Ice for 20 minutes. Then take it off for 20 minutes. You can repeat this process for as long as you need to, but don't leave the ice on your arm for longer than 20 minutes.

A Better Solution: Compression And Ice

Compression helps to minimize the swelling associated with athletic injuries. It also helps to resolve, or get rid of, swelling by squeezing the fluid that causes swelling out of the injured tissue. Minimizes swelling. Helps to eliminate swelling that's already occurred by "squeezing" excess fluid out of the affected area.

Game Ready is a company that makes a device that provides cyclical compression, which has been shown to be better than traditional therapies such as elastic bandages and cold wraps. I used the device and can attest to its benefits. The device is portable but expensive. However, many physical therapy clinics have one. Ask for it. Cyclical compression is preferable to static compression as it more closely mirrors the muscle contractions that the body itself uses to force tissue debris out of the affected area. In addition, with cyclical compression there is no known danger of restricting the body's natural efforts to evacuate excess fluid.

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