Lets face it, we are nation of sports lovers. Admittedly not everyone partakes in the recommended daily amount of exercise advised by medical professionals, nonetheless though there is still a hardcore bunch that will push their bodies to the limit. With this in mind though, do we know exactly how to treat ourselves if something was to go wrong? The majority of sports injuries do not require a trip to the local A&E department, therefore can be treated in the comfort of our home. So what can you do to save yourself time and pain?
Now not to be mistaken with your local curry side dish, RICE therapy is a source of treatment designed to help treat sprains and minor ligament damage. RICE stands for:
Rest- initially with any sports injury a rest period is required. If possible take as much weight off the injury as possible i.e. a substantial period on the sofa whilst your body begins to recover.
Ice- Icing is vital during the early stages of injury, this not only reduces initial swelling which may have been caused but also acts as a pain relief. In 3×20 minutes stages apply ice to the specific area causing problems. To avoid the dreaded ice burn, wrap the ice in a towel.
Compression- For injuries that are swelling fairly rapidly, use compression bandages. Working closely with the ice this will reduced swelling. If the injury is causing excessive amounts of pain during this process then remove immediately.
Elevation- For injuries to the legs, elevate to a comfortable position above the body. For elbows or arm injuries raise above heart level. This procedure will further enhance the ability to reduce swelling.
Note: If injuries do persist it advised to seek medical attention immediately.
With any form of injury further prevention is the best form of precaution. Once suffering a sports injury many carry on such therapeutic techniques as RICE. Not only does this speed up the recovery process but also enables you to take control of your own rehabilitation programme. Strength training and adaptable training is also a form of precaution many look to begin to prevent injury. Injuries occurred to hamstring muscles for instance, will only be overcome with dedicated strength training focused on that particular area.
You should always inform others of your injuries so that they are fully aware. Tell friends, tell family, inform sports coaches and gym instructors so that are able to act if anything is to go wrong during the rehabilitation stages. More and more people now are using personalised medical alert jewellery to alert others if the worse was to happen.
Lisa is a sports therapist who works closely with atheletes of all abilities during the recovery process.