Have You Heard of the RICE Method? You Should If You’re Active

Even if you warm-up and cool down before and after every workout, you can still experience tight, sore muscles from time to time. You might also be familiar with the pain and frustration of an injury. After all, millions of athletes injure themselves every year. You probably know that if you have pain, take some time to rest and recover, but rest is only a quarter of the first-line treatment for musculoskeletal injuries. 

Here at American River Urgent Care in Orangevale, California, our team diagnoses and treats a wide range of issues, including sports, work, and automobile-related injuries. Depending on the severity of the injury, our first approach to treatment is the RICE method. 

Yes, you read that correctly, RICE: not the whole grain, but rest, ice, compression, elevation. These four conservative therapies often provide the relief and support your body needs to heal most minor injuries. Let’s explore each component of the RICE method. 

Rest

Rest is critical to recovery. When you sleep at night, your body completes most of its therapeutic, healing work. If you have an injury, you need to give your body time to heal. If possible, keep the injured body part immobilized. Avoid moving it and keep weight off of it. We often provide splints, braces, and crutches to help you rest. 

Ice

Ice provides two benefits. It helps reduce inflammation and also numbs your injury, which reduces your pain. You should ice an injury for 20 minutes, up to eight times a day, especially in the first three days following your accident. 

Always use a specialized ice pack or wrap a sealed bag of ice in a towel before applying it to your skin. Never apply ice directly to your skin. 

Compression

Compression helps reduce inflammation around your injury. Inflammation is one of the reasons that injuries hurt, so compression helps reduce your pain as well. Compression also supports healthy circulation. Your blood carries the oxygen and nutrients your body uses to repair itself.

Our team often wraps sprains and strains in bandages. We can give you instructions to rewrap injuries at home.  

Elevation

Keeping an injury elevated reduces swelling and bruising. It prevents fluid from accumulating around your injury. While swelling is part of your body’s natural inflammatory response that stimulates the healing process, it’s also painful. Managing swelling helps you stay comfortable and can even accelerate your healing process. 

Do I need to see a doctor for every injury?

Not necessarily. Many minor injuries heal on their own with a couple of days of at-home care, including the RICE method. If you have pain that persists for more than a few days or becomes more severe instead of subsiding, give us a call, book online, or come into our office for assessment and treatment. 

You should also see us if you have a severe injury, have obvious swelling or deformity, or if your pain and swelling impairs your mobility. 

Our team provides comprehensive diagnostics, including X-rays, to evaluate your injury and make sure you get the treatment you need to recover quickly and safely.

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