In the last post I talked about how to ice an injured or torn hamstring. However, there are three very other important concepts to know about in the first acute stage of recovery.
The RICE method is what is commonly referred to and stands for:
R – Rest
I – Ice
C – Compression
E – Elevation
Again this needs to be the key focus during the acute phase of muscle recovery that typically lasts between 24-72 hours after the initial injury has occurred.
When we are talking rest we mean it is important to put as little load or weight through the injured muscle as possible. This can be in the form of lying on the couch, in bed or on the ground for the first few days. When you move around it may be useful to use an aid to help you such as a friend, crouches or even a wheel chair.
During this phase continue to ice, for further details on icing refer to the previous post Ice Regime.
For the compression component, between icing, you can use a compression bandage around the injured area to help reduce and alleviate swelling. It is generally not recommended to use a compression bandage when you sleep because it may be possible to cut off blood supply, which the last thing you want to do when trying to heal an injured muscle.
For elevation you want to rest with the injured part of your body above the level of your heart. For example, if you have torn your hamstring, then you could lie on a couch or the ground and put your leg up on a chair or the back of the couch to ensure the hamstring is above the heart. This aids in reducing blood flow to the injured area and hence reducing the effects of swelling or inflammation.