RICE It: Ice vs. Heat

Posted by Daniel Seidler on Sun, May 01, 2011 @ 10:38 PM

I know this story's been told a million times, but at WSPT and by friends and family, I still get asked all the time, "What should I do when I hurt my back" or "sprain my ankle" or "twist my knee," etc.

RICE it........RICE

Rest - any time you have an injury, the best advice is to not be a hero, rest the injury and live to fight another day. Continuing to push through an injury can often lead to much worse results. Unless you have a very serious injury, 1 requiring hospitalization or surgery, active rest can be initiated over the next few days. Don't lie in bed for a week nursing a back injury. Gradually move around, doing painfree activities.

Ice - Over the first 24 hours, definitely ice an injury to minimize swelling. Your body's natural reaction is an inflammatory response to splint an injury. This is an evolutionary survival response, for instance, to enable a return home from the hunt on a sprained ankle. This is no longer necessary, so we want to avoid that overreaction and minimize the swelling ASAP. 

Compression - Also to minimize the amount of fluid in an injured area. This can be challenging with a neck or back injury, but extremities can easily be wrapped to keep fluid from accumulating in the area.

Elevation - Keep an injured limp elevated above the heart with a clear path down to the heart for all fluids. So an injured ankle should be on a pillow above the knee, above the hip, above the ribs with no bent joints in between.

This guide is solely for situations that don't require immediate medical attention or have been cleared of a medical emergency. The sooner an injury is addressed, the faster you will recover and back to life, the field, and work.

To continue on the road to recovery, contact us at WSPT and we'll schedule an appointment with a Physical Therapist ASAP.


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Tags: Bronx, physical therapy, PT, ice, rice, athletic training, rehab