Athletes have long been advised to ice their sore muscles and joints after a strenuous workout. A new study from the University of New Hampshire suggests that such a regimen may not be all that effective. The volunteers, 20 active college-age men, had to run downhill for 40 minutes. Half were then subjected to 20 minutes in a thigh-high ice-water bath. Over the next three days the investigators periodically assessed soreness, strength, inflammation and swelling.
The cold water made no difference in soreness or strength. It did seem to lower markers of inflammation, though the difference was not statistically significant. Because ice water can be painful, the researchers conclude that cryotherapy may not be worth the effort or discomfort.
There are several natural remedies to ease pain and inflammation without medicines, including turmeric, cherries, grape juice and fruit pectin and gin-soaked golden raisins. You can learn more about these in our book, The People’s Pharmacy Quick & Handy Home Remedies.