Courtesy of CrossFit Invictus
Muscle soreness, stiffness and strains are the primary risks to obtaining the myriad benefits of superb fitness. The body’s primary response to these muscular strains and the first phase of the tissue healing process is the defensive mechanism of inflammation.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response in the tissue healing process. It can, however, be painful, can limit our movements and slow the tissue healing process, and at its worst, can compromise circulation, depriving our muscles of oxygen and causing cell death. So how do we mitigate the negative effects of inflammation, increase the tissue healing process and decrease the amount of time away from training?
Treating muscle injuries with heat or cold therapies elicit a wide range of positive cellular and vascular response within our bodies. But when is it appropriate to use cold, and when should you use heat?
Cryotherapy (cold) is most appropriate for any acute muscular injury causing inflammation and pain. In the acute injury phase (the phase immediately following an injury/strain) cryotherapy promotes faster tissue healing. The physiological response to cold includes vasoconstriction, a decrease in metabolic rate, and a decrease in pain transmission. The decrease in cellular metabolic rate leads to a decrease in the amount of oxygen required for a cell to survive in the area being treated. Therefore, there is less damage to the tissue and consequently a decrease in rehabilitation time. Cold application also suppresses pain transmission and acts as an analgesia which can allow pain-free exercise for the athlete. Cryotherapy may be used during all stages of the inflammatory response, ranging from the first day to as long as two weeks after injury.
There are several commonly used methods of applying cyrotherapy to injured athletes. These methods include, ice massage , cold or ice water immersion (Ice baths), cold sprays and ice packs. The cooling process includes three stages of cold response. The first stage is a cold sensation (0-3minutes), followed by a mild burning (2min-7min), and finally numbness or anesthesia (5-12min).
- Ice massage is commonly performed on a small body area such as the belly of the muscle, tendons or bursa or myofacial trigger points. For great tips on ice massage, review Calvin Sun’s January 19, 2009 blog post.
- Ice water immersion is indicated when treating a distal body part, large areas, and when circumferential cooling is preferred. Ice immersion involves placing a body part into a mixture of ice and water having a temperature range of 50 degrees F to 60 degrees F for 10-15 minutes.
- Ice packs are the mostly commonly used cryotherapy method. It is recommended that a layer of thin wet cloth be placed between the ice pack and skin. Then ice packs are to be applied over the injured area and secured in place for 15 to 20 minutes.
So when is heat appropriate?
Thermotherapy (heat) is appropriately used when the inflammatory reaction is beyond the acute phase. The introduction of heat during the chronic inflammation stages encourages tissue healing and assists athletes in regaining range of motion prior to physical activity.
Thermotherapy causes an increase in cellular metabolic rate and blood supply, and can serve to accelerate inflammation. With the rise in a cell’s metabolic rate, the cell’s demand for nutrients and oxygen increases. Blood flow will be increased to encourage the delivery of those nutrients necessary for healing and aid in the removal of cellular debris. However, the increase in cellular metabolic rate can also accelerate the rate of cell death, and thus slow the healing process.
For a physiological response to occur, heat must be absorbed into the issue, causing an increase in molecular activity. Methods of heating are generally classified as either deep or superficial. Deep thermotherapy involves microwave diathermy, shortwave diathermy and ultrasound. These forms of deep heat require specialized equipment and training. The most common superficial thermotherapies include moist heat packs, paraffin baths and warm whirlpools. Among the superficial thermal agents, moist heat causes a greater increase in the deep-tissue temperature than does dry. Additionally, moist heat can be tolerated at higher temperatures than dry heat. The easiest way to apply moist superficial heat is with a hot water bag or moist wet towel applied directly to the area in which heating is required, or simply jump in a hot tub.
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Deadlift review (Elements)
Workout of the Day (WOD):
3 rounds for time of:
30 box jumps (28″/24″)
25 back extension
20 deadlifts (205#/135# for women)
15 minute (as many rounds as possible) of:
30 single unders
7 knee raises
Post times and rounds to comments
Marianoel getting way extended on her back extension.
Benny power snatching 155#. That’s a long distance for that bar to travel.
Shantanu showing us full extension at the top of his box jump.
Training like an elite athlete includes walking like a duck.
What better way to spend your evening than working out with your fellow athletes at CrossFit Merge in Glendale.
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