September 8, 2010

Have an Ice Day

Recent events have highlighted for me the importance of being iced.

Honeysnookums was scheduled to have minor surgery for thumb trigger finger. I, of course, was designated driver, waiter, jar-opener and recovery coach.

Part of Honeysnookums surgical preparation involved getting a prescription for a well-known heavy-duty pain reliever with narcotic effects the first letter of which is V.

When I saw the bottle on our kitchen counter, I swooped in, uninvited, to talk about how much faster and better one feels when pain medication is avoided. Ice, I said with empirical authority, is the best pain reliever for muscle-skeletal issues. It has none of the colon-dessicating, dehydrating, hallucinogenic effects of narcotic pain relievers.

It works directly on the area of pain production, inflammation, and not once has anyone had to spend 30 days away from home to break the habit of icing every night. Ice works so well, that generations of ballplayers, people who can easily afford to blow mounds of money on things to feel better, prefer ice to any other pain solution.

“Whatever,” Honeysnookums said. “I just don’t want to take drugs because they make me loopy.”

Good enough.

On the arranged day we showed up at the surgery center at 4:30 a.m., a time I never before had conscious experience of, and after prep talked to the doctor. As he ran down the pre-op list, he asked Honeysnookums if the pain reliever prescription had been filled.

“Yes, but I don’t plan to use it. I am going to ice and take an ibuprofen instead.” Honeysnookums announced.

Stunned, the surgeon paused. Finally he stammered: “Of course, ice is best.”

I think at that point I had made a discovery. Perhaps, like those of us in the massage field, this surgeon knows that ice is best. Perhaps, like massage folks, he knows people will promise to ice and then don’t.

Well, not having the other options, I have made it a point to make sure people know how to ice. I discuss how gel packs work best with a towel between the skin and pack. And I explain how ice boomerangs if left on for more than 20 minutes. Oh, and those follow-up calls. If I can get someone to ice, I know they will get better. I’ve even taken out the ice cups and demonstrated how it works and why.

Well, happy to report, Honeysnookums is a week post surgery and hasn’t had much pain and is healing better and faster than expected.

Which is why I say: Have an Ice Day


Anonymous said...

Although we all prefer the comfort of a heating pad, icing works well to relieve pain after an injury (or in this case a surgery). I use my hands a lot in my profession and have found that regular icing helps me regain full use of my hands quickly. Thanks for posting your article, more people should know about the benefits of icing. -Brad

Anonymous said...

Absolutely right!!
I definitely should have more icy days in my life...

Anonymous said...

The 10 commandments of massage therapy:

Ice often.Ice often.Ice often.Ice often.Ice often.Ice often.Ice often.Ice often.Ice often.Ice often.
Sue P