The Baer Necessities

Hot or Cold

It seems to me as if I am living among the walking dead. No, I am not talking about zombies or vampires, those creatures do not exist to my knowledge. I am however referring to the large number of people at the school who have recently injured themselves while partaking in some sort of strenuous activity.

Every day teachers and students hobble around with visible braces, casts or facial expressions that scream pain. We walk around them and glance; a small instant of human empathy takes hold of us, then it is lost and most return to their jolly struts free of straining limp. I try to strut joyfully with strength, but then I realize that I am one of those “poor, unfortunate souls” who cannot seem to properly shift weight from left to right because I have sprained by ankle, again.

After surviving many injuries, I should have this whole recovery process down, so down that I could write a book about it, but I am still clueless at times that I do not know how to treat my injuries. I always hear the same thing: Take Advil, elevate, ice, heat. But wait, how do I ice and heat at the same time? It seems very contradictory to me and so I am left unsure of what to do.

According to my father who is a doctor, you are supposed to ice swollen, bruised injuries and heat sore, stressed muscles and aches. The cold reduces swelling and inflammation while the heat warms up the muscles and relieves them from tension. Normally, icing is for the immediate injury and heating is for the long-term injury.

Now this all seemed very logical to me and I was confident in recovering from my recently sprained ankle in a timely, healthy fashion, but then the situation worsened. While playing soccer with my sprained ankle one weekend, I discovered another pain: Calf cramps. I guess the week I took off to rest my ankle tightened my muscles, leaving them prone to cramping. So I went home that night ready to work on my recovery, but now I two injuries, one of which required cold and the other heat.

I tried to elevate and ice my ankle, but in doing so I could no longer heat both calves on the heating pad.  Raising the heating bad to the pillows reduced the elevation, so that was a win-lose situation. There was not much I could do for both injuries at the same time, so instead of trying to accomplish two things at once, I had to take turns.

I ended up icing my ankle for a good 20 minutes, and then switched to heating my calves. It worked out pretty well and set me on a great recovery, but I really hope I don’t have to perform opposing techniques again.