Should I Ice My Ankle Sprain?

Is Ice Application a Myth?

The traditional advice in dealing with an acute injury was to apply ice immediately. The idea being that this would reduce swelling and therefore accelerate the recovery and return to sport. Swelling, however, is the bodies attempt to aid recovery and is the natural response to a trauma.

The question is: has the body got it wrong?

Would you recover more quickly if you didn’t swell and, if so, why would your natural response be to prolong your recovery and make you worse by inducing swelling?

Ice for Ankle Sprain by Naas Physiotherapy & Chiropractor

Where did the recommendation for Ice Application Originate?

Ice application was popularised by Dr. Gabe Mirkin in 1978 in his “Sports Medicine Book” publication. More recently, ice baths as a means of expediting recovery after exercise has been used by many amateur and professional teams. Some athletes swear by them while other experts proclaim that there is no evidence for its use and advise against it. Many experts believe that studies suggesting positive responses from ice application are of poor quality and lacking sufficient numbers.

Taken in its totality, the evidence for ice application is very mixed and far from overwhelming. In fact, Dr. Mirkin, who first developed the R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression & Elevation) protocol has since agreed that the protocol is unlikely to be best practice in dealing with an acute injury.

Minimising inflammation is often touted as the reasoning behind ice application but perhaps it is time to question whether inhibiting the inflammatory process is of any value. Inflammation is a key component of the healing process and plays a role in minimising further tissue damage and facilitating tissue repair. Therefore, slowing the inflammatory process is likely to delay the healing process.

An analysis of the research published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine in 2008 reviewed the available research on the application of cold therapy. The authors concluded that there is ‘insufficient evidence to suggest that cryotherapy improves clinical outcome in the management of soft tissue injuries.’


What Happens After An Acute Injury?

Generally, the more severe the injury and the greater the blood supply to an area, then the greater the degree of inflammation. After injury, the blood vessels supplying the injured site dilate to facilitate the supply of immune cells to the injured site. These immune cells pass through the vessels and clear the debris from the injury site prior to stimulation of other growth factors that act to stimulate the tissue repair process.

The application of ice causes the blood vessels to constrict thus impairing the immune response required for healing.

Research demonstrates that blocking the inflammatory process inhibits the release of tissue growth factors such as IGF-1.

What does the Evidence Say About Ice Application?

A study by Lu et al. (2006) studied a group of mice who were genetically altered so as not to produce the normal inflammatory response. The mice then had a muscle injury induced in their thigh muscle. The reaction was then compared with a group of mice who were not genetically altered.

The genetically altered mice had a large reduction in the IGF-1 tissue growth factor when compared to the normal mice. This inhibited their full recovery. This research demonstrates that a normal inflammatory process is vital for tissue regeneration, partly through its production of IGF-1. It also suggests that ice application, by inhibiting this process, may inhibit recovery.

Research by Laba demonstrated no difference in pain, swelling, or ankle function between ice therapy (applied for 20 minutes) and no ice therapy

A 2012 paper reviewed the use of ice in acute ankle sprains and concluded that the use of ice in the management of ankle sprain is ‘based largely on anecdotal evidence’ and that ‘insufficient evidence is available from randomized controlled trials to determine the relative effectiveness of RICE therapy for acute ankle sprains in adults.’

A review of the research based on 4 studies by Hubbard et al. concluded that cryotherapy positively affected return to work and sports

Ice for muscle injury by Naas Chiropractor & Physiotherapy

Should I use heat instead of Ice?

Research by Hoycutt et al. compared the use of an ice whirlpool applied 1 to 3 times per day for 3 days. This was compared with a group applying a heat pad for 15 minutes 1 to 3 times per day. The group applying ice returned to full activity at 13.2 days, while the heat therapy group took 33.3 days to return to full activity.

We can conclude from this that ice is definitely better than heat but heat application would never be used after an acute injury & therefore it is difficult to draw firm conclusions from this research.

Clinically, I see a lot of patients who use ice in the absence of swelling or bruising. Their logic being that they will reduce inflammation. After trauma, if inflammation is present you will generally notice that there is bruising or enlargement of the involved joint. If these are not present, then it unlikely that ice application will serve any purpose. 


Bleakley CM, O’Connor SR, Tully MA, et al. Effect of accelerated rehabilitation on function after ankle sprain: randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2010;340 c1964. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c1964.

Collins NC. Is ice right? Does cryotherapy improve outcome for acute soft tissue injury? Emergency Medicine Journal 2008;25:65-68.

Laba E. Clinical evaluation of ice therapy for acute ankle sprain injuries. NZ J Physiother. 1989;17:7–9.

van den Bekerom MP, Struijs PA, Blankevoort L, Welling L, van Dijk CN, Kerkhoffs GM. What is the evidence for rest, ice, compression, and elevation therapy in the treatment of ankle sprains in adults?. J Athl Train. 2012;47(4):435-443. doi:10.4085/1062-6050-47.4.14


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Managing Stress for the Self-Employed: Quick Tips

Managing Stress for the Self-Employed: Quick Tips  

Managing Stress for Self-Employed by Naas Physio & Chiropractic

As an entrepreneur, you’re busy — maybe too busy. Keeping the world turning for your business, your family, and your career isn’t easy, and you tend to prioritise work over rest. There is nothing wrong with this — but you also need to take the time to recharge, reset, and relax so that you can be your best self and bring that self to the proverbial table when it comes to managing your business. 

Naas Physio Clinic invites you to take a look at some ways you can focus on self-care and “me-time” while taking a step back to recharge. 

Stress Busting: Getting a good workout is vital

Exercise is arguably one of the best ways to reduce stress and limit anxiety in your life. If you are exercising for at least 30 minutes per day, you can improve your mood, sleep better at night, and boost the energy you have for regular tasks. We all know that there is nothing like a good night’s sleep to add to productivity and work performance. Sometimes, when our hectic schedules get out of hand, we pay a price in sleep quality.

Taking time out to schedule our time better or fit in a late evening walk can do wonders for clearing the head and facilitating better quality sleep. When you have better cardiovascular function, you have more energy to set aside for daily tasks, not to mention you can put time toward making strategic decisions for your operation. 

Meditate to alleviate stress & focus the mind

This might seem like a no-brainer, but meditation and mindful breathing exercises can also go a long way in helping you practice self-care — and it doesn’t take very long at all. In fact, you may not need to meditate more than 20 minutes a day, and some practices only take 10 to 15 minutes. You can incorporate that into your morning routine and see results quite quickly in terms of energy and sleep quality. Studies suggest that meditation can cause changes in the brain structure that will make us more resilient in the face of stress. 

Managing Stress for Self-Employed by Naas Chiropractic

Schedule an appointment with your chiropractor 

There are plenty of benefits of seeing a chiropractor, and not all of them are physical. Symptoms of depression and anxiety have been shown to improve with help from a chiropractor. It can also help you get a better night’s sleep, which in turn will improve mental health and your ability to face the day with a bright face and better posture. 


Care like the kind you’ll receive at Naas Physio Clinic is good for your mind and body alike. You can improve your posture, alleviate back and neck pain, and get rid of headaches that stem from that busy day in the (home) office. 

Hire a virtual assistant to alleviate stress

Another way you can focus more on self-care is to ensure you have time for those activities. Hiring a virtual assistant can be one way to set aside that time. Virtual assistant rates typically range between €10 and €20 per hour, making this an affordable option for business owners looking to focus on self-care and strategic thinking while someone else does the smaller tasks.  


Virtual assistants can take phone calls, schedule meetings, and do data entry activities without having to be on-site, which means this is a great option especially for owners who work out of their home office (and you don’t have to offer them equipment). The right job board can connect you with reliable and capable candidates, and you’ll be able to look at reviews for said candidates as well so you know you are hiring someone who can get the job done for you. 

In the long run… 

Self-care & managing stress for self-employed is important, especially for business owners who want to avoid burnt out by constant work and no relaxation or failing to put aside time for exercise & relaxation. In order to ensure the success of your ventures, you need to take care of your body and mind. 


For information about booking an appointment with the chiropractic experts at Naas Physio Clinic, contact us today or call (045) 874 682 to book an appointment. 

Fibromyalgia Treatment Strategies to Reduce Pain


This blog post explores fibromyalgia treatment, symptoms and causes. We have also linked some useful websites at the end of this post for further reading including FibroIreland – the Irish Fibromyalgia association which offers a support network for patients with fibromyalgia. 


Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes widespread, musculoskeletal pain all over the body and can be accompanied by a broad spectrum of additional conditions such as:


  • Muscle stiffness
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome. 
  • Memory issues
  • Depression


What is Fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition characterised by widespread pain throughout the whole body. It is also characterised by an acute pain response to pressure at multiple body sites. The World Health Organisation formally recognised and included fibromyalgia within the international classification of diseases in 1992. As of today, fibromyalgia is not classified as either a long-term illness or a disability in Ireland. It was debated as recently as April 2019 in the Oireachtas but there was no change to the classification. 

Fibromyalgia treatment by Naas Physio & Chiropractic

Living with Pain:

A diagnosis of fibromyalgia can be a daunting experience. However, like any long-term condition, living with fibromyalgia can be managed with a combination of exercise rehabilitation, sleep, diet and stress management techniques

How common is fibromyalgia? 

While anyone can develop fibromyalgia and at any age, this condition is mainly diagnosed in women. The most common age range to receive a diagnosis of fibromyalgia is between 30 and 60 years. Globally, it affects an estimated 1 in 20 people. 


What Causes Fibromyalgia?

Research is still ongoing to understand exactly what causes fibromyalgia. Some studies are indicating repeated nerve stimulation causes the brains of people with fibromyalgia to change. This change involves abnormalities in levels of certain chemicals in the brain that signal and receive pain.


The brain of fibromyalgia sufferers seems to develop a memory of the pain and over time becomes more sensitive to pain and touch. This leads to an overreaction of pain signals in the central nervous system. As a result, a person with fibromyalgia will have a lower pain threshold and will experience extreme sensitivity to pain. The exact mechanisms giving rise to this process are still unclear.


Poor sleep quality commonly preceds the onset of fibromyalgia. Because sleep quality has a huge impact on nervous system and brain health it is very important to address sleep quality to dampen down the activation of the parts of the nervous system that facilitate pain. The brain detoxifies in the latter hours of sleep and, when this is lacking, then nerve cell function can be gradually impaired.

Recently, the relationship of leptin concentrations in pain was investigated. Leptin is a protein that’s made in the fat cells, circulates in the bloodstream, and goes to the brain. It regulates our sense of hunger and can be impaired in those who are overweight or have poor blood sugar control. Leptin is involved in activating the immune system and is responsible for pro-inflammatory cytokine release. Blood samples from women suffering from fibromyalgia demonstrate that increased leptin is associated with a higher pain intensity


Who are the risk factors for developing widespread pain?


  • Sex: This condition is more likely to affect females
  • Age: This condition tends to appear in early or middle adulthood.
  • Family History: If there is a history of fibromyalgia in the family
  • Physical or psychological trauma: If you have suffered damage to your tissues or an emotional trauma, such as a death
  • Other disorders: Lupus, osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis


Recent research has looked at the role of the immune system in the development of fibromyalgia pain. Researchers have linked the presence of inflammatory markers (interleukins) linked to pain severity & demonstrates a direct link between inflammation and pain. A constant state of systemic inflammation is suggested to link to the pathology of the condition.


Does Chiropractic Treatment Help with Fibromyalgia?

A new study from the journal Rheumatology International reported that chiropractic care is effective as a fibromyalgia treatment to reduce symptoms.

The study involved 120 participants who reported severe pain associated with fibromyalgia of four years or greater duration. All participants underwent 12 weeks of therapy that incorporated an education programme, cognitive behavioral therapy and an exercise programme involving three one-hour sessions per week & a twenty minute home exercise programme performed twice daily.

Interestingly, half of the participants were randomly assigned to undergo chiropractic adjustments of the upper cervical spine.

They underwent treatment three times per week for the first month. This was then reduced to once a week sessions for the remaining eight weeks.

The group undergoing chiropractic care showed greater improvement than the control group. This was evident by a 15 percent or greater improvement in questionnaire scores monitoring pain & functional outcomes. The authors suggest that chiropractic care may offer additional benefits when combined with standard care.


Useful Links

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Moustafa IM, Diab AA. The addition of upper cervical manipulative therapy in the treatment of patients with fibromyalgia: a randomized controlled trial. Rheumatology International 2015; 35(7): 1163-1174.