RICE or RICER
RICER is a mnemonic for a treatment method for soft tissue injuries which is an acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and Referral. When used appropriately, recovery duration is usually shortened and discomfort minimised.
RICER is considered a first-aid treatment, rather than a cure for soft tissue injuries. The aim is to manage discomfort and internal bleeding.
Rest is a key component of repairing the body. Without rest, continual strain is placed on the affected area, leading to increased inflammation, pain, and possible further injury. Additionally, some soft tissue injuries will take longer to heal without rest. There is also a risk of abnormal repair or chronic inflammation resulting from a failure to rest. In general, the period of rest should be long enough that the patient is able to use the affected limb with the majority of function restored and pain essentially gone.
IceIce is excellent at reducing the inflammatory response and the pain from heat generated. Proper usage of ice can reduce the destruction over-response which can result from inflammation. A good method is ice 20 minutes of each hour. Other recommendations are an alternation of ice and no-ice for 15–20 minutes each, for a 24–48 hour period. To prevent localised ischemia or frostbite to the skin, it is recommended that the ice be placed within the Ice2Heat Pack/Bag before wrapping around the area with the Ice2Heat Large or Medium Wraps.
Exceeding the recommended time for ice application may be detrimental, as blood flow will be too reduced to allow nutrient delivery and waste removal.
CompressionCompression aims to reduce the edematous swelling that results from the inflammatory process. Although some swelling is inevitable, too much swelling results in significant loss of function, excessive pain and eventual slowing of blood flow through vessel restriction.
The Ice2Heat Wraps work great for compression for all areas of the body. The fit should be snug so as to not move freely, but still allow expansion for when muscles contract and fill with blood.
ElevationElevation aims to reduce swelling by increasing venous return of blood to the systemic circulation. This will not only result in less edema, but also aid in waste product removal from the area.
Heat TherapyHeat therapy, also called thermotherapy, is the application of heat to the body for pain relief and health. It can be beneficial to those with arthritis and stiff muscles and injuries to the deep tissue of the skin. Heat may be an effective self-care treatment for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
Heat therapy is most commonly used for rehabilitation purposes. The therapeutic effects of heat include increasing the extensibility of collagen tissues; decreasing joint stiffness; reducing pain; relieving muscle spasms; reducing inflammation, edema, and aids in the post acute phase of healing; and increasing blood flow. The increased blood flow to the affected area provides proteins, nutrients, and oxygen for better healing.
For Headaches and MigrainesFor HeadachesHeat therapy can be used for the treatment of headaches and migraines. Many people who suffer from chronic headaches also suffer from tight muscles in their neck and upper back. The application of constant heat to the back/upper back area can help to release the tension associated with headache pain. In order to achieve heat therapy for headaches, many use microwaveable pads which can often overheat, potentially leading to injury, and lose their heat after a few minutes. Our Ice2Heat Pack Bags use heated water, to maintain a more constant temperature. This in addition to our wraps allows headache sufferers to use hands-free heat therapy in the treatment of their headache pain.
For Menstrual CrampsPhysicians from the University of Maryland Medical Center recommend using heat therapy to relieve menstrual cramps. Simply fill the Ice2Heat Pack/Bag 2/3 full with warm water (Never use boiling water) and securely fasten lid. The Ice2Heat Pack/Bag can then be placed over the pelvis or lower back to ease the pain associated with menstruation. Use the Ice2Heat Pack/Bag for 20 minutes at a time. Repeat this treatment until your cramps have dissipated. After the last cycle is complete, empty the Ice2Heat Pack/Bag and hang it to dry.
For Shin Splints
"Shin splints" is a general term for a condition caused by inflammation to the anterior or posterior muscles and tendons in the lower leg or adjacent soft tissue along the shin bone (tibia).
The area of tenderness can range from two to six inches and the pain may become so extreme that it causes you to stop running altogether. It's important to see a doctor, who can rule out a stress fracture of the tibia.
Shin splints occur most commonly in runners or aggressive walkers. The common belief is that they are caused by training on exceptionally hard surfaces, like concrete sidewalks, but the onset is often caused by an increase of intensity and frequency of running workouts, or by a dramatic change in your routine.
It's directly related to the repetitive pounding forces associated with running or poor mechanics.
So, increasing running speed or miles too quickly, or switching from soft surfaces (grass, rubberized tracks) to hard surfaces may put you at greater risk.
How to Prevent Shin Splints
When you make the adjustment from a soft running surface to a hard one, don't overdo it. Give your legs time to make the adjustment. If you run five miles on a soft surface, run fewer miles on a hard surface until your muscles and soft tissue make the adjustment. Your muscles and soft tissue will get sore, so monitor your recovery time carefully and don't overdo it.
A biomechanical analysis (often using motion capture video) can pinpoint problems with poor running mechanics.
For instance, in the case of anterior shin splints, the tibialis anterior muscle and tendon may be overextended during running, which stresses the muscle and tendon. By decreasing stride length, the athlete is effectively decreasing the functional length of the tibialis anterior muscle, which subsequently reduces the pull of the muscle on the tibia.
Shin splits are often found in runners who have a tendency to pronate the foot (roll it excessively inward onto the arch), or have tight Achilles tendons or calf muscles, or weak ankle muscles. Strengthening and stretching exercises for ankles and calf muscles can help prevent them from occurring.
In addition, proper footwear is crucial. Don't use running shoes that are worn out, and choose a pair that meets your needs. Many running stores can help you choose the right shoes by examining your current shoes and evaluating your stride. Find a store in your area that has knowledgeable staff who will spend some time with you.
Running shoe manufacturers offer a variety of styles with different cushioning, stability and motion control features, so work with someone who can help you find the features that are right for you.
If you have faulty foot mechanics, a doctor or trainer may recommend orthotics -- custom fit, anatomically molded shoe inserts that realign the foot to a natural, neutral position. This in turn relieves foot and leg stresses and prevents a wide range of problems.
How to Treat Shin Splints
There is no quick cure for the treatment of shin splints. The healing process can take several weeks, or, in some cases, months. In order to allow the inflamed tissue to heal, it's recommended that you stop running.
During the initial recovery period, try low-impact workouts, such as stationary cycling, elliptical machines and pool running. Icing the inflamed area with the Ice2Heat Medium Full Body Wraps on a regular basis and using anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, will reduce swelling. Ultrasound treatments can also help.
It's imperative that you find out what caused the shin splints in the first place and make adjustments to ensure they don't return. Begin running gradually and build up slowly to pre-injury training level.