Why Do You RICE After An Injury?
The RICE treatment is used to treat soft tissue injuries like strains and sprains. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Remember that this method is not always enough to heal an injury. Although RICE has been proved to reduce swelling, pain and bruising from certain injuries, be sure to consult with your physician before trying to treat yourself.
Stop the activity that you are doing and rest the injured area. Your body takes at least 1-2 days to heal a minor injury and rebuild muscle. Make sure you rest enough so that you don’t disrupt the healing process. However, movement is vital to a healthy life. So, just remember to rest just enough to allow your body to heal. It only takes 2 weeks of inactivity to regress your gains by 33%.
It’s important to place ice on the injury during the healing process. Ice is helpful for relieving inflammation, swelling and pain of the affected area. You want to apply ice every 10-20 minutes every hour. Remember to wrap the ice pack in a towel to prevent frostbite. Also, if you are a diabetes patient or have a history of vascular disease, please consult your doctor before applying ice.
The next step is to apply pressure to further reduce the bruising and swelling. I used to sprain my ankle when I played soccer. Elastic bandages became a necessity to carry around. The compression should be snug, but make sure you don’t wrap the bandage or tighten the brace too much. You’ll start to feel numbness and pain underneath the bandage.
Raising the injured area 6 inches above your heart in the beginning stages of healing can also reduce swelling. The elevation will drain the fluid and draw the blood away from the injury. It’s a good idea to apply the ice and compression while the injured limb is elevated.
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Peace & Love,