Are you suffering from a work-related injury? Depending on the type of injury, you may be able to treat it with RICE. No, this doesn't involve placing rice -- the agricultural grain -- on your injury. Rather, RICE is a multi-step treatment that's designed specifically for soft tissue injuries. By following the RICE method, you can recover from soft tissue injuries more quickly.
What Is RICE?
RICE is a treatment method used in the recovery of soft tissue injuries. It stands for "rest, ice compression and elevation." It doesn't involve the use of drugs or other forms of traditional medication. Rather, RICE focuses on the aforementioned practices to encourage healing. When performed correctly, it will help your body recover from soft tissue injuries more quickly.
How to Use RICE
To treat a soft tissue injury with RICE, you must follow its four main components. The first component is rest. You can't expect your body to recover from a soft tissue injury if you remain physically active. If you sprain your ankle, for instance, you need to rest while allowing your body to recover. Performing physical activities that require you to be on your feet will only prolong your injury.
The second component of ice. Using the same example, you should apply ice -- or a similar cold compress -- to your sprained ankle during the first 48 hours. Ice is beneficial because it reduces blood flow to the affected area, thereby minimizing swelling and inflammation within your ankle. Some people assume that a hot compress is just as effective. The problem with using a hot compress, however, is that it promotes blood flow, which can cause additional swelling and inflammation.
Following ice is compression. When a soft tissue injury occurs, it can physically weaken your body in that area. With a sprained ankle, the tissue around your ankle will be weaker. Therefore, you need to use compression to prevent the injury from worsening. Wrapping your ankle in a compression bandage, for example, will help to stabilize it so that your ankle is able to heal more quickly.
The fourth and final component of RICE is elevation. When you experience a soft tissue injury, you should elevate it. In other words, you should raise the injured part of your body so that it's higher. For a sprained ankle, you should typically prop it up on a pillow. Elevation is important because it reduces blood flow. Elevating a sprained ankle will reduce the amount of blood flowing to the affected ankle. In turn, your ankle won't swell as much.