ice baths

From my series: Your Body is Smarter Than You Are: Inflammation

Ice Baths and Anti-inflammatories

When it comes to exercise recovery, there has always been a lot of emphasis on reducing inflammation. Ice baths and ibuprofen were considered beneficial to faster recovery and reduced soreness. 
However, more and more research has shown that inflammation is your body doing exactly what it needs to do in order to heal faster. Which always seemed logical to me - more blood flow around damaged muscles speeds the rebuilding of muscle cells. I think one reason these practices proliferated and are still extremely common is that they do reduce pain. So by that logic, reduced pain = faster healing. Unfortunately, the pain relief just masks what is really going on with your body (meds are very good at this!). 
My advice: if it really hurts, take the meds or sit in an ice bath - severe pain is not helping you recover either. Maybe a better alternative is to take a warm bath, which feels better and will also speed recovery. Caveat - an actual injury is another story and topic for later. But for normal soreness from exercise, let your body do it’s thing.

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