Treating Your Injury with RICE
So you’ve just sprained your ankle, twisted your knee or slammed your elbow. You’re in pain and need immediate relief. We want you to always remember one thing above all else in situations like these: RICE. No, not the little white or brown grains you eat with grilled salmon, but the mnemonic device known as RICE. (R)est. (I)ce. (C)ompression. (E)levation.
We’re not taking away from the healing power of rice though. Heated up in a sock in the microwave, rice can be a great muscle relaxer and create some serious bloodflow. However, when injured you need to follow this simple technique to make sure your minor injury doesn’t turn into something major.
There’s no need to call the doctor and order advanced treatment just yet, especially if you can quickly get RICE going. So you know, here’s the rundown:
- Rest. Stop what you’re doing and rest. Stop moving the injured area and keep it still. Slowing it all down to relax the injured area a bit is very important. Also, take deep breaths to calm yourself down if need be.
- Ice. A cold rag or ice wrapped in a paper towel will help to reduce any pain and swelling. Keep the area cold for at least 20-30 minutes before moving forward. The next day you can switch it up and use a heating pad – or that rice sock – to loosen the muscles if the pain persists.
- Compression. Keep pressure on the injury (compression) using some sort of bandage wrap to help reduce swelling and apply some stability to the area.
- Elevation. Keep the injured appendage raised up to, or above, the level of your heart to help further reduce swelling. Stacking pillows usually works the best to help elevate arms and legs.
That’s pretty much the crash course of RICE. It’s not difficult to remember, and it’s certainly not that difficult to perform. We definitely recommend that you follow this procedure for any minor muscle or joint injury you get. That said, if the injury is serious you need to get to the ER as soon as possible. If the pain persists and lingers, then you need to come see us.
At Physician Partners of America, we know a thing or two about pain relief. It’s quite literally our middle name. Contact us today for more information.