RICE Therapy – Applying RICE Therapy for Minor Injuries

RICE therapy is often recommended as a treatment choice for minor musculoskeletal conditions, such as sprains and strains. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. You should use RICE therapy immediately after your injury or when you have pain and inflammation.

How to apply RICE therapy for your minor injury
  • Rest and Protect

    After an injury or at the time you feel symptoms, you should immediately stop your activity and rest. Protect your injured limb from further injury. Continuing through your activity or sport may lead to further tissue damage. Immediately apply ice.

    NOTE: Completely bed resting for more than a few days is not advisable. Health experts recommend that you continue doing simple home tasks while avoiding movements that worsen your symptoms.

  • Ice Application

    Immediately apply ice on your injured body part to help relieve your pain and minimize or prevent swelling. You can make use of a home-made ice pack or commercially available cold pack.

    Wrap an ice or cold pack with towel and apply it over the injured area for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time. You can do this every three to four hours a day for the first two to three days following your injury or until your swelling subsides.

  • Compression

    When not using ice, apply a compression or elastic bandage to help prevent further formation of swelling. Avoid wrapping the bandage too tight as this may lead to further complications. Ask an expert, such as your physiotherapist or doctor, to teach you how to properly apply a bandage.

  • Elevation

    Elevate your injured limb above the level of your heart as you rest. This can also help minimize formation of swelling in your injured body part.

After your swelling and pain have subsided, you can perform simple range of motion and stretching exercises of your injured limb to help improve your joint and muscle flexibility. Gradually include strengthening exercises in your exercise program.

A physiotherapist can help you create a comprehensive exercise program that you can safely perform to improve your flexibility and strength and maintain your overall fitness. In addition, your physiotherapist can also help teach you strategies to help prevent re-injury.

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