If you experience a sprain or strain in a joint, knee or ankle, your health care provider may recommend the RICE method to relieve pain and swelling at home.

What is the RICE method of treatment?

RICE stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. It is an acronym that refers to a self-care technique to reduce swelling, relieve pain and boost the healing and flexibility of your body. This treatment method can help you recover quickly and get you back to feeling better so you can resume your daily duties.

Below is a breakdown of each component of the RICE method.

Rest: Your health care provider may recommend about 48 hours of rest, depending on the injury you sustained. You should avoid unnecessary movement that may impose stress on the affected area. Rest prevents further injury while giving the body time to recover.

Ice: Ice helps to reduce pain and inflammation after an injury. Cover an ice pack in a clean towel, place it on the affected area and leave it there for about 20 minutes. Repeat this four to eight times a day. Be careful to never put an ice pack directly to skin as it can cause symptoms of frostbite within minutes.

Compression: Wrap the affected area with an elastic medical bandage to decrease swelling and internal bleeding, if there is any. Your health care provider can suggest a suitable elastic bandage for you. Ensure the bandage isn’t too tight because it can block blood circulation.

Elevation: Raise the injured area above your heart level. This eases pain, swelling and throbbing as gravity moves the fluids away from the affected part of your body.

Types of injuries for RICE treatment

The RICE method of treatment is suitable for relieving pain and swelling in the joints, tendons and ligaments. It may be recommended if someone experiences sprains, contusions, strains and other soft tissue injuries.

When to see a doctor

If you are not sure of the severity of the injury, or you experience excruciating pain with swelling that doesn’t go away, it is best to see a doctor as soon as possible. Have you tried the RICE method but you still do not see any changes? We can help. Contact us for any questions or schedule an appointment with one of our medical experts.