Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation - Remedies for Physical Exhaustion

Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation – Remedies for Physical Exhaustion

While you do your daily activities have you ever hurt your ankle or another kind of sprain or strain? If you have, what is your first treatment for it? commonly , the first treatment, the doctor will suggest you is rest, ice, compression and elevation or also known as RICE method. The RICE method is an easy self-care method which will help you lessen the  inflammation, relieve the soreness, and speed up the recovery. This treatment is recommended by the doctor when people have an injury on their muscle, tendon or ligament.  Those injuries are called soft tissue injuries, it include sprains, strains and contusions which are commonly known as bruises. If you have this injury you also may visit the closest chiropractor from your home, as reshape.me mentions in their article. 

male doctor massaging shoulders of patient.
Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata on Pexels.com

According to the Dutch Quality Institute for Healthcare CBO, the method of rest, ice, compression and elevation is the selected treatment for the first 4 to 5 days of injury. After that, the physical examination with high quality assessment  is needed for further treatment.  Despite many doctors recommending this method, there is also several research that doubt the effectiveness of RICE treatment. For instance, a review of studies conducted in 2012 showed that there was not enough evidence to prove that the RICE treatment is effective to treat the sprained ankles. Another review associated with the Red Cross has confirmed that ice was effective after an injury if you immediately used it. However, this study determined that suspending an injured body may not be helpful. There is no evidence to support elevation. Moreover, this review found indications that compression may not help strains or sprains. In spite of its pros and cons it is still widely and frequently used

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crop chiropractor massaging hand of patient.
Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata on Pexels.com

Proper method of Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevation (RICE)

  • Rest: When your body is feeling pain, your body sends you a signal that something is wrong with your body. If it is possible, please stop your activity as soon as you can when you are feeling hurt and please have a rest as much as possible because your body needs it. Do not try to follow the philosophy “no pain, no gain”. Overdoing something while you have certain injuries, for example an ankle sprain, may cause the damage worse and delay your recovery process. According to an article, you should avoid putting weight on your injured area for one day to two days to prevent the injury getting worse. Resting also benefits you to prevent further bruising. 
  • Ice: As this article mentions above, several studies have proven that ice may reduce the pain and swelling. The application of an ice pack or ice covered towel for 15 to 20 minutes every two or three hours during the first one day to two days after you have your injury. A reason why ice covers with a light, absorbent towel is to help you prevent frostbite. If you do not have an ice pack, you may also use a bag of frozen peas or corn. It will work as fine as an ice pack. 
Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation - Remedies for Physical Exhaustion
  • Compression: it means to wrap the injured area to prevent bruise or inflammation. Compression is effective for up to only one week. Wrap the affected area using an elastic medical bandage such as an ACE bandage.  wrap your injury  cozily, not too tight and not too loose. If you wrap it too tight, it will interrupt your blood flow and make your injury worse. The skin below the wrap turns blue or feels cold, numb or tingly, please loosen your bandage so the blood flow will stream smoothly again. If the symptoms do not vanish in a few days, please visit immediately for medical help.
  • Elevation: it means you raise the injury area in your body to be above the level of your heart. By elevating the injured area will reduce the pain, throbbing and the inflammation. It happens because the blood will be difficult to reach the part of your body that is injured. To do so is not as hard as you might think. For instance, if you have an ankle sprain, you may uphold your leg on the pillows while you are sitting on the sofa. According to some experts, it is best to elevate the injury area for two to three hours a day. Moreover, the CDC suggests you to preserve the injured area elevated whenever possible, even if you are not icing your injury. 
    In addition, according to a Vein clinic in Phoenix, if you have varicose veins, elevating your leg can help you reduce the pain.
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RICE Treatment is not effective when…

Even RICE treatment is effective for treating soft tissue injuries but it is ineffective and not recommended for treating broken bone or more serious injuries to soft tissue because these may demand medication, surgery or extensive physical therapy. 

Pros and Cons of RICE Treatment

The RICE treatment may remain the most generally recommended method to treat soft tissues injuries. Nevertheless, not every healthcare provider is completely on board. Many studies support the idea of resting an injured body part  immediately after you have an injury. However, several studies have found that examine, guided movement may be beneficial as recovery processes.  The movement may include: massage, stretching and conditioning. 

Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation - Remedies for Physical Exhaustion

Several physical therapists have a doubt in applying ice and other efforts to prevent inflammation to your injury area. One study in 2014 recommended that if you apply ice to your injury, it might actually interfere with your body’s ability to recover itself.


The Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation treatment is the best able method to treat mild or moderate soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains and bruises. If you have tried this method but still experience no improvement for your injury, or if you are unable to put any weight on the injured area; you should have medical help. This is also a nice idea when your body that is injured feels numb or misshapen. 

  1. Anonymous

    Thank you this is so necessary.

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