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When to RICE

When to RICE

RICE is an acronym for the terms: ‘Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. It refers to the steps that need to be taken immediately after an injury to a joint or muscle, to minimise any swelling or inflammation that may occur after the fact.

Coupled with the use of Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen alternatives to relieve your pain and swelling, following the RICE method will make for an easier, speedier recovery.

Rest

In the event of injury, the most common way to rest is to elevate the injured body part and stop the blood from rushing to the site. Many people believe in exercising the injury to avoid atrophy, but this is only beneficial once the swelling has subsided and healing has begun.

Ice

Cold will reduce pain and swelling. Apply an ice or cold pack right away to prevent or minimise swelling, says the University of Michigan Health System (UMHS). Apply the ice or cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes, three or more times a day. After 48 to 72 hours, if swelling is gone, apply heat to the area that hurts. Do not apply ice or heat directly to the skin. Place a towel over the cold or heat pack before applying it to the skin.

If you do not have an ice pack readily available, anything frozen like a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a dry, sterile cloth will do.

Compression

This is the practice of wrapping or bandaging the affected muscle to provide support, reduce blood flow and limit swelling. Be sure that the bandage isn’t too tight.

Elevate

Gravity is not your friend. Lift the leg, ankle or other affected limb high and prop it up on a pillow. Rest it by utilising it as little as possible for the swelling to subside. Keep the area raised above the heart.

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