Ice first. After pitching your muscles and nerves are inflamed from the friction of throwing. 30 minutes of ice followed by 15 minutes of heat, step and repeat several times. But always ice.
Be careful of using too much NSAIDs like ibuprofen because they can irritate your stomach and cause bleeding. Never eat anti-inflammatories like candy when you hurt, the OTC drugs get filtered through your kidneys and you can end up with chronic kidney disease from doing it all the time for relieving sports soreness and injuries. Ibuprofen is notorious for causing bleeding stomachs as well.
Massage after the heat will reduce swelling and flush excess fluids out of the areas irritated by overuse. Never massage after using ice, only do it after heat.
I iced a bit when I was younger, but after hearing that Maddux never iced, I quit. I didn't ice again until the AWL, but that was because of a tender upper biceps tendon, not for rotator or labrum issues. For me, the jury si still out. My arm (so far, knock on wood) has held together mostly without ice. But after icing at the AWL, I must say my arm felt great at the end...and that was throwing a lot of bullpens and playing 1B every other day. I think I need more info and more of a "control" for my own experiment before I can say what was best.
BEST TO GET THE BODY READY TO PLAY. PITCHING INVOLVES THE LARGE MUCLES OF THE BODY. USE THE LEGS THE ARM GOES FOR A RIDE LIKE A WHIP. NEVER USE ICE. BEST TO GET FRESH BLOOD TO THE MUCLES THROUGH THE BLOOD STREAM. THE NUTRIENTS ARE GOOD FOR THE BODY. HOT SHOWER FOLLOWED BY REST.
Icing seems to be a pain thing. If it hurts, pitchers will ice the area for about 15 minutes. Like others have said, icing has little research backing it up these days. We have sixteen pro pitchers throwing two bullpen sessions for six weeks and not one of them ice after. This compared to a youth / high school team were every picther has an ice bag on there arm right after they pitch. Our pro pitchers will do post throwing arm care right after and workout to "flush" the body. A "flush" after throwing gets the bad blood and lactic acid out of the body. We want to get new blood moving through the arm to repair the micro tears from pitching. This does not mean that if a pitcher has some pain after the workout we don't do an ice message. But an ice message is done with a cup of frozen ice messaged into the area of the body were inflamation has set in. So, do we ice after pitching? It's going to be hard to convince Mom that her son shouldn't have an ice bag on his shoulder after a hundred pitches. Should he be doing some tubing and light arm exercises? Yes Some light cardio or sprint work? Yes Some light leg exercises? Yes. Why restrict blood flow when you want to move it out and get the body healing faster. Throw a bullpen and ice, then see how you feel the next day...Throw a bullpen and do some ligh arm care and a workout and then compare. I think icing the arm no more than 15 minutes is ok, but get the blood flowing and "Flush" the body after.
"NEVER USE ICE. BEST TO GET FRESH BLOOD TO THE MUCLES THROUGH THE BLOOD STREAM. THE NUTRIENTS ARE GOOD FOR THE BODY. HOT SHOWER FOLLOWED BY REST."
Fresh Blood to the muscles? Is your blood not going to move through your body whether you run or not. Nutrients are good? what does that mean? You arent putting new blood or new nutrients into the body. I have read a bunch of stories about coaches having players stand in garbage cans of ice water for tired legs, and whirl pools for after games too? Is any of this stuff validated by science?
Ice tub... yes followed by hot tub. Contrast between hot and cold does flush the body. Contrast back and fourth spending about 10 minutes in each. Cold,hot,cold,hot,cold,hot . "Flushing" the body is different and it's backed up by science.