If you have experienced spraining your ankle or suffering from any form of strain, your doctor probably recommended the RICE method as an immediate care solution.

The RICE method is a self-care strategy in alleviating pain and swelling, consisting of four steps: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. 

Rest is necessary to prevent further injury, while ice reduces swelling and pain. Compression applies firm pressure to limit the amount of swelling, and elevation keeps the injured area above the heart’s level, improving circulation and easing pain.

These various steps have different purposes to help you treat mild injuries before you see your doctor for medical attention. Understanding how each one works together is an excellent step toward a successful recovery.

When to Use the RICE Treatment 

As part of the RICE treatment, your doctor might recommend taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen, which can be bought over the counter. Before using any of these medications, consult your doctor about your medical history.

However, RICE treatment is most useful for mild to moderate injuries like sprains, strains, bruises, other soft tissue injuries. People often sustain sprains by tripping, falling, or through sudden twisting motions. Even repeated movements and lifting heavy objects the wrong way can cause strains.

If you are suffering from a more severe condition, it is best to get emergency medical care. This includes severe injuries include deep gashes, burns, serious sprains, head or spinal injuries, or injuries resulting from a car accident.

4 Crucial Steps in the RICE Method

Let’s explore the four crucial steps in the RICE method to treat injuries:

Step #1: Rest

Pain alerts you to something wrong with your body. To recover the fastest, stop all activities and rest as much as possible if you are injured.

This will only worsen your injury and prevent recovery. Doctors recommend avoiding putting any weight on an injured body part for at least 24 to 48 hours. Resting also prevents additional bruising from occurring.

Step #2: Ice

When you have a swelling or a bruise, ice can help to relieve pain. Put an ice pack on the affected area for 20 minutes, three times a day. Don’t put ice onto the skin directly; instead, wrap it in a towel. You can use frozen peas or corn as an alternative if you don’t have any ice.

Step #3: Compress

To avoid an injury from getting worse, wrap the damaged area. This involves wrapping an elastic bandage around the affected area. Keep it wrapped in place but not too tight. So, make sure you can still move the injured body part even with the bandage.

If it’s too tight or decreases the blood flow too much, loosen the bandage or else you may disrupt blood flow to that area and cause more damage to the body. You also must consult a doctor if these symptoms persist.

Step #4: Elevation

You can alleviate pain, throbbing, and swelling by raising the injured body part above the level of your heart. For example, you can elevate your leg up on a cushion while seated if you have an ankle sprain. Even if you’re not applying ice on the wounded region, it is recommended to keep it elevated whenever possible.


Keeping to the RICE method can help reduce inflammation and swelling while easing pain and speeding up the healing process of injuries. However, you need to understand the right way to do this self-care strategy to avoid making things worse. Wait for your doctor’s go-signal to use the RICE method before starting.

However, if the pain or swelling persists, visit your doctor or a trusted physiotherapist in your area for immediate care.

For affordable physiotherapy in Bondi, Invigor Health has you covered. We can boost your body’s function today and for years to come using established treatment techniques. Moreover, our mobile and online physiotherapy services help you stay active, pain-free, and strong to keep doing the things you love. Contact us today!

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