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.
Ice should be put on an injury as soon as possible to help control swelling and inflammation.
You should never put ice directly on the skin because it can burn. Wrap a bag of ice in a towel or a piece of clothing. If ice is not available, use a bag of frozen vegetables such as peas or corn.
Leave the ice on for 15 to 20 minutes at a time then remove it for 30 minutes (20 on, 30 off). You can repeat this process for as long as you want. Ice should be used as often as possible during the first 1 to 3 days after an injury.
How do I use Compression?
Compression helps limit swelling to the injured area and provides additional support. You can use an elastic bandage, trainer's tape, or a brace, but don’t tie it too tightly. Putting it on too tight can cut off the circulation to the area.
How does the Elevation work?
Elevation is another way to help decrease swelling by using gravity to move fluids away from the injured area. Raising the injured part above the level of your heart helps blood go back to the heart. If you can't raise the injured body part above the level of your heart, at least keep it parallel to the ground.
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