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One major source of pain for many adults is improper posture. The image to the left displays an individual slouching in a computer chair, which reverses the natural curves of the spine. Over an extended period of time, poor posture – while sitting, standing, and even sleeping – can cause damage to spinal tissues that may require surgery or alternative pain management treatments.
The acronym RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
RICE is used as the first treatment for many muscle strains, ligament sprains, or other bruises and injuries. RICE is used immediately after an injury happens and for the first 24 to 72 hours (1-3 days) after the injury. RICE can help reduce the swelling and pain and help you heal faster.
What does Rest mean?
After an injury, you need to take some time off from your regular activities to allow your body to heal. For example, if you twisted your ankle, you need to not walk around or put weight on your ankle. You should rest the injured body part until it no longer hurts to use it. You should rest the injured body part for at least 1 to 2 days. If the injury is serious, you may need to see a doctor. In these cases, you may need crutches, a splint, or cast and need to rest the injury for an even longer period of time.
Heat can reduce muscle spasms, reduce joint stiffness, improve local circulation and make soft tissue more limber. Heat can be used to help loosen tight muscles and joints as a warm up before exercise and rehabilitation. For example, you may put moist hot packs on tight leg muscles before running, or on your shoulder before throwing, or on tight neck or back muscles before physical therapy.
When should I use heat?
Use heat for stiff muscles and joints when you are trying to make them more limber. Do NOT use heat within the first 3 days after an injury (in this case use ice) or while your injury has any swelling because heat increases blood flow and can worsen swelling.