Monday, March 30, 2009

The Perils of the Ice Pack

One of the most effective ways for me to conquer the aches and pains that running sometimes causes is to apply ice. I’ve been through many ice packs in my lifetime, and when an ice pack isn’t available, a good ole’ Ziploc bag of ice cubes will work.

For about a month now I’ve been dealing with some back pain. I was worried the problem was in my spine so I went to see a chiropractor who took x-rays, and thankfully, my spine was in great shape. I figured the pain must be due to some disgruntled muscles back there, and so I’ve been stretching and icing and icing and stretching as much as I can.

Things have been improving, but every once in a while, the muscles begin to grumble and complain, and I return to my ice pack for help.

This past Friday was one of those days. I was planning to leave work early that day to head to a girls’ weekend and I did NOT have time for back pain. I got the ice back from the freezer, stuck it down my pants (that was the only way I knew to hold it in place), and continued completing my tasks so I could leave when planned.

Forty-five minutes later (much too long for ice pack administration) I took it out of my pants and put it back in the freezer. I put my hand on my back to see how cold it was, and felt something hard, like part of the ice pack itself was stuck back there. Once in my office I looked…and saw that a patch of my skin was frozen solid.

This was a little freaky. I wasn’t sure exactly what to do so I sat back down and continued to work, only to feel my back continue to get hotter…and hotter…and hotter.

Finally, I decided to go down the hall to see my friend Christi for help. She was a mom so surely she’d know some first aid or something.

Christi was a little freaked out too, so we Googled it and sure enough, there was a picture online that looked exactly like my back. It was frostbite! Christi said that our fellow running friend, Shandry was a nurse and that maybe she’d know what to do. She called Shandry (who was a little surprised that someone could get frostbite in 70 degree weather), and she said that as long as it didn’t turn black or blue, I was going to be ok. She said not to irritate it, and the skin would be fine.

Amidst the laughter (because who DOES this sort of thing to themselves) we decided I would, in fact, live through this so I went back to my office to finish off the day’s work. I eventually confessed to Jason, who thought I’d lost my marbles…and I had to tell the girls about it this weekend, since at some point they would probably see. I’m sure the consensus is that I am a complete scatterbrain who cannot be trusted with the simplest of remedies…

But I have learned my lesson and will heretofore be careful with ice packs and make sure I have something between the ice pack and my skin…to prevent further…injury.

1 comment:

  1. As a physical therapist I hear stories similar to yours all the time. You are lucky that there was no tissue damage! I have been reading that you are treating your lower back pain by seeing a chiropractor, you may benefit from a physical therapy to address all aspects of the musculoskeletal system. Nesin Physical Therapy is a good clinic in the Madison/Huntsville area that treats back problems using core stabilization and manipulation. This maybe something to consider if your pain doesn't decrease and to prevent other potential problems.