Here in the northeast, we are getting buried by snow. Not only is there a ton of snow on the ground but the forecast is for temps in the low teens.
Patients in my office are getting a double dose of cold, for we ice most of out patients after they get adjusted and stretched. People always ask, why ice and not heat.
If we look at basic first aid, everyone is taught the RICE principle when injuring an area. R stands for rest; I for ice, C for compression, and E for elevation. This principle is typically applied for the first 48 hours and then heat should be applied.
Now for an extremity this is great advice, however, for the spine I believe that it is best to stick with ice and ice only, please let me explain why.
When you examine a spine you will see nerves coming out of each side of the spine. These nerve roots pass through two small holes called foramen. When your spine misaligns, swelling is present in those holes, placing pressure on the nerve roots that exit them. We know through studies that pressure on the nerve roots causes the nerves to function less than optimally. This pressure could easily cause pain, numbness, tingling etc,.
If we don’t reduce this inflammation, the nerves never get a chance to work to their potential and you never get a chance to feel as good as you deserve.
Next time it is below freezing outside and even colder in my office you will know that at least the cold in the office is trying to accomplish something!