Knowing which to use and when can be one of the best things you do to help ease immediate pain until you can get in for your next adjustment with your Chiropractor. If you speak to my patients you’ll know that I am a big fan of getting them into a daily icing schedule. Let me share with you why…
When you have pain, your body is essentially in what we call an inflammatory state. Physically, what happens is the small joint at the back of the spine has separated causing a spinal misalignment therefore changing the whole function and adaptability of your body. We call this misalignment a SPINAL SUBLUXATION. It ultimately presses on a nerve causing irritation and creating local inflammation which generates heat and causes you pain. Not only does it cause you local pain in your back, but the nerve that has become irritated from the Spinal Subluxation, also tells your muscles to tighten up and protect the area of the spine that’s affected; causing them to lock up, tighten and go into a muscle spasm. This is your body’s natural INBORN response to what it perceives as a ‘’threat’’ due to repeated stress. Your body is highly intelligent and has what we call an INNATE INTELLIGENCE, your own unique ability to fix, heal, rejuvenate and function 24 hours a day. This Innate Intelligence allows it to respond perfectly to stressful situations. If your chemical physical and emotional stressors in life are consistently high, your body begins to break down in function due to the presence of Spinal Subluxation(s). As many of our patients know, the longer a Spinal Subluxation stays in the body the more havoc it causes with our function but also with our spinal posture and premature spinal aging. When you begin to reduce your body’s chemical, physical and emotional stressors your body has a much better ability to adapt to stressful situations and you are less likely to have pain, sickness and disease. There are many, many ways to reduce your daily stressors, with a Chiropractic Adjustment being the top of course, but another way to add in is to get into a routine of icing your spine.
If your spine is already generating heat, we don’t add further heat to it, we put ICE on it. I am a firm believer that every person should be using an ice pack DAILY on their spine- regardless of whether or not they have pain. This might seem extreme to you but think about everything that you do each day that constantly builds up and adds inflammation to the body. Do you wake up in an awkward position in the morning? Do you bend over in terrible positions repeatedly? Do you sit on the MRT, bus or car whilst looking down at your phone? Do you get into work and sit poorly at your work desk? Do you sit with your legs crossed? Do you take regular breaks from your sitting? Are you stressed with work constantly and hold your shoulders by your ears? Do you drink enough water? Do you eat the right foods? Do you go home and slump on your sofa? If these things all sound familiar to you, then you NEED to start thinking about changing your daily habits.
One very small aspect you can change today is to put an ice pack on an area that feels tight, stiff, painful or uncomfortable; typically the neck or the lower back for most people.
Here’s how to do it effectively:
Make sure you use the sleeve the ice pack came in. If you don’t have one just wrap the ice pack in a tea towel so you don’t get an ice burn.
Lay on your back on your bed with a pillow to support your head and another underneath your knees to take tension out of the lower back
Place the ice pack underneath your neck and/ or lower back along the spine
Lay for 5-10 minutes with the ice pack. Don’t fall asleep on the ice pack as this may cause your muscles to tighten up in a response to long term coldness, just like when you shiver.
Integrate this into your daily routine, ideally once in the morning and once in the evening
before bed time. If you exercise, then just add in an extra 5 minutes at the end to ice.
Remember that if you have pain you have inflammation. You can use the ice pack any time you have pain. Next time you reach for a pain killer, reach for your ice pack first and give your Chiropractor a call. Don’t ignore the Spinal Subluxation, just get is corrected quickly.
Icing is just one little area that helps to reduce the chemical, physical and emotional stressors of life for more tips attend our MONTHLY HEALTH WORKSHOP at either the HarbourFront or Tampines Clinic. Just call 6272 0709 (HarbourFront) or 6789 8515 (Tampines) to enquire and book your place at the next one.
Best of luck with the icing!
Yours in Health,
Dr. Kylie Foster, D.C.