One thing I have noticed throughout my experiences is that people do not know how to properly ice themselves.
Ice is a great tool to decrease pain and inflammation and hasten healing. If you ice improperly, you could damage your muscle tissues. Ice is best for an acute injury, like an ankle sprain, knee sprain, muscle or joint sprain, or acute pain after exercise.
How to Ice Properly:
Make sure there is a thin fabric between the ice and your skin, like a towel. The sooner you can apply ice to an injury the quicker you will be able to heal. You can place ice on the injured area but remember to take it off after numbing occurs. The ice should never be on the injured area more than 20 minutes. Leaving ice on for more than 20 minutes can risk frostbite. Frostbite can cause inflammation and damage to your muscles and tendons. You can and should reapply ice after 45 minutes of taking it off. Try and repeat this pattern three or more times. Doing this minimizes inflammation. While you are applying ice, your area should be elevated. While applying ice, be sitting or lying down. You can elevate it on pillows easily. Try to keep that area above the level of your heart which will minimize swelling. Remember to give your injured area rest so it has time to heal.