Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Winter storms are brutal no matter where you live, thanks to the unending dumpage of snow and ice. But still, we endure. Despite our greatest hopes, winter is here. At least until spring—which means we've got a few more months of snow and ice ahead of us. Let's talk about ice, actually. More specifically, let's talk about RICE. It's a very important acronym in the fitness industry as it addresses the immediate care of an acute injury. Despite our greatest efforts to maintain our safety, accidents can and will happen. We sprain ankles, we pull muscles—RICE to the rescue! Let me explain.
We can't do much to prevent the immediate swelling up of an injured body part. It happens to be our body's way of protecting itself. But we can take action to prevent any subsequent swelling over time. Other than a roll in the snow, a fresh bag of ICE will always be your best defense. You'll want to keep it on your injury for 20 to 30 minutes, and make sure you have some sort of layer between the ice and your skin. No sense getting frost bite. Make note, if your injured body part is in any way numb, you'll want to skip this step and seek attention from your physician.
U2 song. So next time an injury plagues you, name it "Bono" and picture it saying "I need you to elevate me here." Because he's right, dontcha know. (And probably much better looking that your injury, at least in my opinion.) Employing EL-E-VA-TION is another very important step in the RICE process. Try and stay comfortable as you raise your injured body part to or above the level at which your heart sits. Gravity will draw the swelling down. Funny how that works.
From there, you should decide whether or not you need to see your physician. Always best to err on the side of making an appointment if there's ever any question. Better safe than sorry, right?
And I'm sure you're wondering this—what role does heat play in all of this? Remember that ice is always good for an acute injury. A sudden injury. Heat helps those nagging pains, chronic pains that surprise us without any signs of swelling. Like shin splints or low back pains. Applying heat will loosen up the area, and 20 minutes of it is generally good enough. Of course, if you're still sore after a good workout, you might want to seek out a bag of ice.
It's confusing, I know. And my hope is that you won't be plagued by an injury any time soon, but I thought I'd remind you of the RICE method. You know, just in case.
Question: Have you ever had to employ the RICE method? What happened?
Posted by TARA