Back in 1978, a doctor by the name of Gabe Mirkin wrote The Sports Medicine Book to help with the prevention and treatment of physical injuries and physiological problems. In the book, Dr. Mirkin introduced the R.I.C.E. method for treating injuries sustained from sports or other physical activity. R.I.C.E. stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
Since then, most people have used the R.I.C.E. method to treat soft tissue injuries, such as a sprained ankle or a strained wrist. It has become the “go-to” treatment when such an injury occurs. Now, there are many that criticize the R.I.C.E. method, saying that it can actually prolong the actual recovery of the injury.
To understand the R.I.C.E. method better, first we will break it down step by step:
Rest – When you have suffered an injury, it will feel natural to want to rest the part of the body that was injured. Most people would agree that it is not a good idea to continue to put pressure on your knee, for example, if you have just twisted it or strained it. Putting pressure or continuing to use your knee would seem to cause more damage.
Ice – Icing an injured part of the body has been a long-standing; solution used by many. It does not always seem obvious to put something cold and uncomfortable on an injury, but the idea that the ice can relieve pain and reduce swelling makes a difference. Studies have shown that ice not only cools the areas around the injury, but can also have a cooling effect on the inside of the muscle as well.
Compression – By compressing the injured area, you can reduce the swelling that may occur. Compression also provides structure and stability to the injured area. Many people who have sustained an injury will continue to use compression for quite a while as a source of strength and support.
Elevation – This can be an important step, especially when injury occurs in the lower parts of the body. By raising the injured area, it will decrease swelling that automatically occurs in an injured area. Gravity will work to your advantage in reducing swelling.
As stated before, these steps have been followed by many and prescribed by doctors and sports therapists for years. In certain situations, the RICE method may work great. However, there are many reports and studies these days that show that some of these steps, such as the icing step, can delay the full recovery of an injury.
The Ice step is meant to reduce swelling. Many experts today say that swelling actually plays an important role in the healing and recovery of muscle cells. Additionally, when an injured area is rested for too long, it can actually prolong the recovery of the injury.
Arrowhead Health Centers suggests that you contact us right away when you have been injured. Let us take a look at the injury and help you develop a Recovery Game Plan. We have therapies and treatments that may help you see full recovery much sooner than the RICE method. Call us today at 623-334-4000 to schedule your appointment.