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How the RICE Method Can Help With Injury

Spring has sprung, and summer’s almost here, with lots of opportunities for mild injuries right around the corner. Whether you take a fall playing sports, tumble off a bike, or stress your joints and muscles lifting heavy objects in your garden, aches and pains from moderate to severe injuries are a real possibility.

At Monrovia Internal Medicine & Primary Care, Dr. Ulin Sargeant provides expert and compassionate urgent care services for patients living in and around the Duarte, California area. Often, Dr. Sargeant recommends the rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) method as a first treatment for soft tissue injuries.

The RICE method isn’t effective for open wounds — and if the wounds are large or deep, they need prompt emergency care — but it’s a great at-home treatment protocol  that helps your body recover from common injuries like strains and sprains. Here’s what you need to know about using this first aid technique.

Rest

When you start to feel pain from an injured muscle, tendon, or ligament, don’t keep pushing yourself. Stop and rest, letting the area heal. If you keep putting weight on a moderate to severe sprain, you can make the problem worse, and your recovery will end up taking more time.

Take at least two days to rest. Avoid activities that cause pain, and keep pressure off of the injured area.

Ice

In the first two days following your injury, use icing therapy to reduce swelling and help manage pain. Wrap an ice pack in a light towel to protect your skin, and apply the ice pack to the injured area for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours.

Compression

You can provide more support for the injured area by using compression wrapping. Wrap the affected area with an elastic medical bandage. You want the bandaging to be tight enough for compression effects, but not so tight that you start to cut off your blood supply.

If you’re not sure how tightly to wrap your bandages, watch out for telltale signs of obstructed blood flow like sensations of coldness, numbness, or tingling, or a blue appearance to your skin. If any of these occurs, loosen the bandages.

Elevation

You can improve pain, swelling, and throbbing sensations in an injured limb by elevating it above the level of your heart. Depending on the location of your injury, you might need to prop up a leg or find a comfortable perch for an arm. Keep your affected limb elevated as much as possible for the first few days following your injury.

With the RICE method, you can reduce swelling and pain after an injury and speed your body’s natural healing capabilities. If your symptoms of swelling or pain don’t improve with this method, contact Dr. Sargeant about getting additional treatment.

Turn to the care team at Monrovia Internal Medicine & Primary Care with all of your spring and summer urgent care needs. You may be able to take advantage of telehealth treatment, as well. Visit our virtual office now to book your appointment.

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