Understanding the RICE Method

By admin
October 31, 2014

It’s no secret that an active lifestyle can leave you at risk for injury. While many injuries require treatment from a physician, mild sprains and strains can often be treated through the RICE method. A mnemonic device, RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Continue reading to learn more about this method and what exactly it entails.

  • Rest. After sustaining an injury, it’s important to rest and protect the affected area. Continued use of the injured area can actually worsen the injury, so make sure to avoid any activities that can cause pain. Depending on the injury, resting should take anywhere from 1-2 days to even a few weeks.
  • Ice. Cold reduces pain and swelling, so apply ice to the affected area as soon as possible. Ice should be applied for roughly 15-20 minutes, multiple times a day. While your doctor will advise you as to how long you should be icing your injury, it should be continued for at least 48-72 hours. It’s also important not to apply ice directly to the skin, but rather place a towel or cloth in between your skin and the ice pack.
  • Compression. Wrapping the injured area with some kind of elastic wrap or bandage can help to decrease swelling. However, make sure that this bandage isn’t too tight as this can actually cause more swelling, in addition to pain, tingling, and numbness in the affected area.
  • Elevation. By keeping the injured area elevated, you’re allowing inflammatory fluid to exit this area and return to your body. To get the most out of this step and minimize swelling, it’s recommended that you keep the affected area either at or above the level of your heart.

While the RICE method can be an effective way to care for mild orthopedic injuries, you should always contact your physician in the event of an injury. They will be able to guide you through your treatment and decide if the RICE method is enough for you.

Sports Medicine in Napa and Vacaville

To learn more about the RICE method or any other injury treatments, contact us today and schedule an appointment. You can reach us directly at 707.258.2547 in Napa or 707.446.6206 in Vacaville. We look forward to meeting you!

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