Is your RICE out of date?
For a long time now we have been managing acute injuries with the age old advice- R(est) I(ce) C(ompression) E(levation). But has our RICE passed it’s expiry?
The latest research suggests so!!
With an acute injury (like a sprain or strain) our body undergoes 3 key phases of healing;
Phase 1 (0-72hrs): Inflammation- A soup of inflammatory chemicals flood to the injured area to clean out the damaged tissue and prepare the area prior to repair.
Phase 2 Proliferation/Repair- The body lays down some new tissue to patch the wound and create new blood supplies as the body begins to heal.
Phase 3: Remodelling/ Maturation- The tissue from phase 2 is aligned properly and is strengthened to minimise the likelihood of reinjury.
In the first (acute) phase of healing, inflammation is a key component in the healing process. So if we’re icing to prevent inflammation, all we are doing is delaying the healing process! In fact, it was American Doctor Gabe Mirkin who coined the ‘RICE’ phrase back in 1978 and in 2015 he has come out to say that icing may delay healing, rather than help it’
So… if my RICE is in the bin, how do I manage my injury??
With PEACE and LOVE of course!!
P- Protect: Avoid activities that increase pain in the first few days
E- Elevation: Higher than the heart if possible
A- Avoid Anti-Inflammatories: Avoid medications and ice.
C- Compression: Use a bandage, compression garment or taping
E- Education: (from a qualified health professional)
L- Load: As soon as pain allows
O- Optimism: Think positive thoughts. This will get better
V- Vascularisation: Choose pain free cardiovascular activities to increase blood flow and help healing
E- Exercise: Restore mobility, strength and control through appropriate exercises
There is definitely still a place for heat and ice in pain management, though where possible, try to follow these steps to speed up your recovery from an acute injury.
If you would like to know how to best manage your injury and get back to doing what you love, then get in touch!