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Why R.I.C.E.?

Posted on July 26, 2021 by Tracey Bankos

What is R.I.C.E. and why do you want it? Among the most recommended icing techniques for reducing inflammation and treating minor injuries is R.I.C.E., an acronym for rest, ice, compression and elevation. It's best used for pulled muscles, sprained ligaments, soft tissue injury, and joint aches. Applying R.I.C.E. treatments will decrease pain, inflammation, muscle spasms, swelling and tissue damage. It achieves this by reducing blood flow from local vessels near the injury and decreasing fluid hemorrhaging as a result of cell damage.

To administer R.I.C.E. utilize these guidelines suggested by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:

- Rest: Stop using the injured body part immediately. If you feel pain when you move, this is your body sending a signal to decrease mobility of the injured area.

- Ice: Apply an ice pack to the injured area, using a towel or cover to protect your skin from frostbite. The more adapting the ice pack the better, in order for the harm to get maximum exposure to the treatment.

- Compression: Use a pressure bandage or wrap across the ice pack to help reduce swelling. Never tighten the bandage or wrap to the purpose of cutting off blood circulation. You shouldn't feel pain or a tingly sensation when using compression.

- Elevation: Raise or prop up the injured area so that it rests above the level of your heart.

How long should ice be applied while practicing R.I.C.E. for it to work? There are four degrees of cold felt by the skin: coldness; a prickly or burning sensation; a sense of aching pain; and finally a lack of sensation or numbness. When the area feels numb, icing ought to be discontinued. Your skin should return to normal body temperature before icing again. Usually numbness can be achieved in 10 to 20 minutes. Never apply ice for more than thirty minutes at a time or tissue damage may occur.

It's generally suggested to practice R.I.C.E. at intervals of 4 to 6 hours for up to 48 hours after an injury. Heat treatments are appropriate for several injuries, but should only be contemplated after inflammation has receded, approximately 72 hours after an injury. If the body part doesn't reply to R.I.C.E. therapy within 48 hours, it would be smart to ask your health care provider in case a serious injury has occurred such as internal bleeding or a broken bone.

For minor injuries, utilize R.I.C.E. instead of plain ice!

This information isn't intended as a substitute for professional medical treatment or consultation. Always speak with your physician in case of a severe injury.