If you have recently suffered a sprain or strain you may have heard a lot of people talking about RICE or PRICE. Everyone has a different opinion on the effectiveness of the treatment but what does it actually refer to? The four letters that make up the word are used as a helpful reminder for the steps you should take as initial first aid treatment following an injury.
The most important thing to do if you think you may have suffered a strain or sprain is to rest the affected area. Try to avoid placing any weight on the injury (for severe sprains you may need crutches to help you to walk). This will allow your body time to repair itself naturally without placing continual stress on an already damaged area.
Using cold therapy can help to reduce inflammation and swelling, as well as soothe aches and pains. You can use a bag of frozen peas but be sure to wrap it in a towel to avoid damage to the skin. Alternatively use a product such as the Neo G Hot and Cold Therapy Disc or Pack, which can be used either hot or cold and re-used again and again
To further reduce swelling compression should be applied to the affected area. This could be in the form of an elastic bandage or an orthopaedic support. Speak to your doctor or physiotherapist about the best option for your injury.
Another key method to reduce the swelling caused by injury is to elevate the affected area. Aim to elevate the injury above the level of your heart when possible. This may require you to lie down!
There are various variations to the RICE acronym including
PRICE – Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
RICER – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, Referral
DRICE – Diagnosis, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
HI-RICE – Hydration, Ibuprofen, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
It is always best to seek medical advice as soon as possible following an injury. The RICE method may not be suitable for your recovery so always check with your Doctor or physiotherapist first before use.