If you’ve ever sprained your ankle or suffered from any form of sprain or strain, chances are your doctor advised you to start with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (R.I.C.E.). The R.I.C.E. method is a basic self-care procedure and a first aid for injuries. It helps in reducing swelling, relieving pain, and quick recovery. You can also take a First Aid course from American HealthCare Academy to stay prepared to provide the first line of treatment for injuries. Our course modules are easy to understand. They are 100% online. They cover many injuries and treatments for both kids and adults. Let’s understand the R.I.C.E method and its benefits.
What is the R.I.C.E. method?
R.I.C.E. is the most common first aid for injuries. If you follow this approach, you can drastically shorten the amount of time it takes to recover and get back on your feet.
When you get injured, stop all activities and rest as much as possible for the first two days. If you don’t rest well then injuries like moderate to severe ankle sprain might aggravate the injury. This can prolong your recovery. Doctors recommend that you must avoid putting any weight on the affected area for 24 to 48 hours. Resting also helps in preventing additional bruising.
During the first 24 to 48 hours following your accident, apply an ice pack (wrapped with a light, absorbent towel to avoid frostbite) for 15-20 minutes every two to three hours. If you don’t have an ice pack then a pack of frozen peas or corn works too. But why is ice good for injuries? Applying ice on injuries has the following benefits:
- reduces pain
- bring down swelling
- reduces inflammation
- reduces muscle cramping and spasm
Compression means wrapping the damaged area to avoid swelling. Wrap an elastic medical bandage around the damaged region. For example, an ACE bandage. It should be snug but not too tight. If wrapped too tight it will interfere with blood flow. Loosen the bandage if the skin under the wrap turns blue or feels cold, numb, or tingly. Seek quick medical attention if these symptoms do not go away.
Elevation means raising the painful body part above the level of your heart. This alleviates discomfort, throbbing, and swelling. It’s not as difficult as you may assume. For example, if you have an ankle injury, you must elevate your leg up on cushions while sitting on the sofa.
R.I.C.E. as First Line of Treatment of Injuries
R.I.C.E. treatment is a conservative method of treatment for small injuries. It can be easily done at home with common household items. In general, it aids in the reduction of edema, discomfort, and inflammation, resulting in a faster overall recovery. Let’s see how effective is R.I.C.E. in the treatment of injuries:
- Resting the wounded area is necessary for healing and rehabilitation. Any type of workout or heavy lifting might apply pressure. It can aggravate the pain and increase discomfort.
- Icing helps in the relief of pain, bruising, muscular spasms, and swelling produced by an injury. This is also important in postoperative orthopedic surgical treatment.
- Compression is used to keep swelling and blood loss at bay.
- Elevation can also aid with swelling and bruising.
How Long Should RICE Treatment Be Given?
In terms of time, R.I.C.E. treatment should be approached in stages, depending on the type of damage.
- Resting for a long duration is normally not needed. It may be required in some circumstances such as severe sprains.
- Icing is beneficial for the first two weeks following an accident, or until all edema has subsided.
- Compression is beneficial immediately following an accident or to avoid edema after activity.
- Elevation can be stopped once most of the swelling has gone down. It usually happens within the first two weeks.
The First Aid course at American HealthCare Academy is 100% online and can be done at your pace. You can register on our website or get in touch with our team at 1-888-277-7865. If you are concerned about your injury, please get medical attention. If RICE treatment is used before seeking medical advice, don’t put ice directly on the skin, don’t tie the compression bandage too tightly, and don’t rest for a long time unless recommended by your physician.