RICE is a type of treatment recommended for those individuals who have injured a muscle, tendon or ligament. RICE is an acronym which stands for:
Rest: It is recommended to avoid movement or use of the injured area
Ice: Treating the wounded area with ice packs without directly touching the skin
Compression: Securing the injured area with an elastic bandage to provide support, limit blood flow and restrict swelling
Elevation: Keep the injured area in a raised position, preferably above the level of the heart to reduce swelling
RICE is usually administered for soft tissue injuries such as sprains and strains and its advantages include:
RICE can be used to treat moderate or mild injury and treatment can be started immediately after injury continuing it up to 48 hours.
Rest: Rest the affected area without moving it as much as possible.
Ice: Apply ice to the injured area four to eight times a day for 20 minutes each time. Do this without allowing direct contact between ice and skin.
Compression: This can be done up to a week by wrapping bandage tightly around the affected area ensuring proper blood flow.
Elevation: Keeping the affected area in an elevated position prevents blood from reaching the injured spot thereby reducing swelling. You can elevate the injured area up to 2-3 hours a day
When to Use or Not Use RICE
RICE method is generally used for treating sprains, strains, bruises and other soft tissue injuries. Tripping, falling or suddenly twisting an area of body can cause sprains while lifting heavy objects or repeated movements can cause strains. Difference between strains and sprains are clearly explained at www.firsteatright.com. Never use RICE method to treat broken bones or other serious injuries.
While some studies show that resting the affected area immediately after injury helps few other studies show that massaging, stretching or conditioning the area helps in faster recovery. There are even studies that show that applying ice might disrupt the body’s ability to heal injury faster.
Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.