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RICE for your injuries
It’s easy to pull a muscle or sprain a joint. These Ice
kinds of injuries may result from simply overdoing Apply ice immediately. The importance of icing
everyday activities like gardening or shovelling your injury cannot be emphasized enough. Ice is a
snow or they can be caused by an accident, like a natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory. It
fall. Use the RICE formula immediately after slows down blood flow to the area and reduces
hurting yourself. You’ll dramatically reduce the internal bleeding and swelling. Depending on the
time it takes for your injury to heal and get back to type of injury, your healing time may be cut in
your normal routine as quickly as possible. half.
RICE is an acronym for rest, ice, compression and Simply place ice cubes in a plastic bag. You can
“By putting ice elevation. also use commercial gel packs that you keep in
your freezer or a bag of frozen vegetables (peas
on the injured seem to work well). You may find that these mold
area, you can Rest better to your body. Wrap whatever you’re using in
The simplest and most effective thing you can do a towel or cloth and apply it to the injured area.
reduce your is rest. Many people try to “work through” the Leave it on for 10 to 20 minutes and then allow
recovery time injury in the hopes that it will go away or work your skin to warm up. As a general rule, don’t
itself out. Injuries don’t spontaneously disappear. leave the ice on for more than 20 minutes because
by half” In fact, excessive movement will damage the tissue you may cause frostbite. Ice the injury as
further, increasing the amount of inflammation and frequently as possible, preferably at least once
pain. every waking hour.
Unless the injury is severe, absolute rest should not Compression and elevation
exceed 48 hours. Otherwise, your muscles will Compression and elevation help reduce swelling.
become stiff and weak, and scar tissue around the You can apply compression to the area with an
injury will tighten up. So as soon as the initial pain elastic type bandage. Be careful not to tie the
and swelling subside, you should begin to gently bandage so tightly that you cut off your circulation.
exercise the injured area. If one of your arms or legs is injured, you can
elevate the extremity above the heart level.
pain and swelling
To help prevent excessive
pain and swelling try not to
use the injured part. Put an
ice pack on the area, use a
tensor bandage to provide
some compression and
elevate the limb.
HEAT can hurt
When your body’s hurting it feels comforting to put a hot water bottle or a
see your massage therapist heating pad on the sore areas. But it may not always be a great idea. Heat can
aggravate your injuries and prolong your pain. When should you use heat and
Follow the RICE formula for the first when should you use ice? If you’re ever in doubt use ice, but here are some
48 hours following an injury and then guidelines.
see your massage therapist. It’s not
wise to massage the injured area within use ice if: use heat if:
the first two days because this may ag- • your injury is recent • your injury is chronic
gravate the injury. After that time, (within 48 hours following the in- (more than 48 hours old)
however, massage becomes a vital part
of the rehabilitation process.
jury) • your muscles are tense
• your muscles are in spasm • you have pain that’s the result of
Massage therapists can use special trigger points or muscle knots
techniques to drain the fluid out of the why ice?
swollen tissues. They can also get rid Ice will reduce inflammation and why heat?
of muscle spasms that develop as a re- decrease the time it takes for your In either of these cases, there is no
sult of the pain. injury to heal. It also has an anaes- danger of aggravating the inflamma-
As your injury continues to heal, mas- thetic effect that will lessen your tion. The heat will relax your muscles
sage will help restore or increase your pain and relax muscle spasms. and help improve your circulation.
range of motion and stop scar tissue
from forming so that you can get back
to your daily activities as quickly as
when should you see you doctor?
This depends on the type of Overuse injuries like tennis
injury and how serious it is. elbow or runner’s knee are
A severe acute injury (one that injuries that are the result of
occurs suddenly) might require the wear and tear of repetitive
immediate medical attention. movements and probably
Call your doctor or go the hos- won’t require a doctor’s care.
pital emergency ward if you The doctor will likely refer you
have any of the following for massage or some other
symptoms: form of conservative therapy.
However, if the pain is severe,
• stabbing or radiating pain
persists for more than 10 days,
• numbness or tingling
or gets worse,
• significant swelling
a visit to the doctor would be a
• severe weakness
wise thing to do.
• inability to move the
injured body part
TARA GOULDING MASSAGE THERAPY
Professional and friendly massage in your own home or office, in Parramatta and the
Ph: 0404 096 730 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: www.tgmt.com.au
If you have specific health concerns consult your medical doctor. The information in this newsletter
is educational only and is not intended to replace the advice of your personal health care providers.