RICE – The fastest, safest and most effective way to reduce pain and inflammation.
No matter what the cause, experiencing joint pain can make your everyday life much more difficult. Luckily, these minor aches and pains can be alleviated with a few simple measures you can employ at home. One of the most uncomplicated home remedies is the RICE treatment plan. No, we aren’t referring to the common kitchen staple here.
RICE is an acronym for: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
These straightforward steps could be the key to helping to find the relief you need to continue with your everyday life, as pain-free as possible. The RICE treatment plan can also help you avoid taking unnecessary painkillers.
1 – Rest.
When your body is giving you pain signals, it is important to listen to them. If you have joint pain, it is essential to rest the affected area as much as possible. Try to change your daily activity levels, reducing the time spent in actions that cause the pain. Rest allows the bodies natural defenses to heal itself. If you have tried to rest your injury and the pain still persists after a week or so, you may want to consult with a professional.
2 – Ice.
According to TheClinicalEdge.co the use of crushed ice on the skin will “decrease nerve conduction velocity, thereby reducing pain from surface tissues.” This pain reduction will allow you to use and stretch your pained joints, which helps reduce swelling.
While it is common practice to use a towel or some sort of padding to decrease the discomfort of the ice pack, it can also reduce the effectiveness of the treatment. It is important not to place ice directly on the skin without some sort of barrier in between. Wrap your ice pack in a t shirt, which provides the perfect amount of protection, while still allowing the ice to work its magic.
Apply crushed ice in a plastic bag for 5 minutes at a time, several times a day to help relieve joint pain.
3 – Compression.
You can use an ace bandage to wrap the affected join closely, but not too tightly. You don’t want to reduce your blood flow, so if your skin around the bandage tingles, or starts to turn colors, loosen the bandage and try again. If you are using a compression wrap on your foot or hand, it is important to leave a toe or a finger out of the bandage, so you can tell if the wrap is too tight and cutting off blood supply.
Using compression can help to lend support the area and help you resume some of your normal activities.
4 – Elevation.
Healthline.com reports that elevating an injury above the heart allows fluid to drain from the area, which in turn can help to reduce swelling.
If you elevate the area while you are resting it can help to ease your joint pain. Use a chair or stool with pillows to elevate your leg while sitting, or use pillows to raise an arm.
While it can be difficult to sleep with new, strange objects in the bed, try to keep your injured limb elevated during sleep too.
Be careful not to over-use RICE
Too much rest can be a double-edged sword. If you don’t use your joints, they get quite stiff. Sometimes they get worse if you use them. Use your symptoms of pain as a guide. If, when you do a certain activity, you have significant discomfort or more pain later in the day after doing it on a repetitive basis, cut it out for a while until the pain goes away.
While the RICE treatment plan can be highly effective for minor joint pain, if you try this method and your pain persists, you should consult an orthopedic professional to seek further help.