The traditional way to handle an injury is ice. This idea came from the popular term RICE, which stands for rest, rice, compress, and elevate. We have been told this will help reduce swelling and help us recover faster. What if we have it wrong and we have actually been doing the opposite by icing?
Why should you not ice?
The main purpose of icing is to help alleviate pain, same with the use of anti-inflammatory medicines like Advil and ibuprofen. When using ice and medications it can slow down the natural healing process. There is actually very little evidence to support the use of icing. When something gets cold it slows down and stops working to its' full potential. The same is true for you body, similar to why you should warm up before a work out. You may even notice when you get hurt, like spraining an ankle, the area of the injury feels warm. Icing slows down that healing process because it disrupts the natural inflammation of your body and metabolic process.
What should you do instead?
According to Physiopedia contributors, there are better ways to approach a soft tissue injury. The acronym they use are PEACE and LOVE...
Protect - restrict movement for a few days, do not rest too long (you do not want to lose strength), and do what feels comfortable with the pain
Elevate - elevate the limb above the heart
Avid anti -inflammatory modalities - as explained above this will slow down your bodies natural healing
Compress - this will help with swelling and tissue hemorrhage
Educate - share this blog and inform others of new way of healing from a soft tissue injury
Load - start moving and applying weight to the injury without causing pain, continue with normal activities when symptoms allow you to
Optimism - have a good attitude, it makes a difference, but stay realistic
Vascularization - early mobilization and pain free carido
Exercise - reduces the risk of getting injured again
Along with the first step, protect, it is important to move as much as the injury allows you to without causing more pain or worsening the injury. The increased blood flow to the injured sight helps improve its function, work status, and need for pain medication (Physiopedia contributors). This also allows the muscles to not grow weak and your recovery to be even faster! Exercise goes along with this idea as it restores mobility, strength and proprioception (Physiopedia contributors). Use pain as a guide through your recovery process. This is important to push you to make progress, but not make the situation worse. Do what feels right!
"Peace and Love Principle." Physiopedia, . 29 Jul 2021, 07:10 UTC. 2 Feb 2022, 21:51 <https://www.physio-pedia.com/index.php?title=Peace_and_Love_Principle&oldid=279474>.