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When do you need the RICE regimen?

If you get an injury in your soft tissues — such as your muscles, tendons, or ligaments — employing the RICE method can ease your pain and help you heal. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation, and this protocol can help you recover from a variety of sudden injuries, such as sprains, and overuse injuries, such as tendonitis.

If you get a sprain or develop tendinitis, you should schedule an evaluation. In the meantime, the RICE method can help reduce inflammation and ease the pain. In this blog, the health professionals at Valerius Medical Group & Research Center in Los Alamitos, California, explain what’s involved in the RICE protocol.

The RICE method

Whether from overuse or acute damage, soft tissue injuries can cause pain and interrupt your normal day-to-day activities. Here’s how the RICE method can help. 


If you experience pain during an activity, you should stop or take a break from the activity to protect the injured area from further damage. This is crucial in the first 24-48 hours. Continuing with sports or strenuous activities may cause further damage and increase the risk of complications. 


Placing an ice pack on the injured area may help reduce pain and swelling. Take an ice pack, a bag of ice, or a bag of frozen veggies and wrap it in a towel. Then place it on the injured area. Ice the area for 20 minutes every 3-4 hours, but don’t ice it for more than this. Icing the injury for too long could damage the tissues and make matters worse. The swelling should subside within 48-72 hours.  


Gentle compression can help control swelling, provide stabilization, and help reduce pain. The bandage should not be so tight as to hinder circulation. It should fit snugly but not be excessively tight. If the injured area tingles or feels numb or cold, the bandage is probably wrapped too tightly.


As soon as possible after your injury, evate the affected area above your heart. This will help minimize swelling and lessen pain. Try to elevate the affected area for 2-3 hours a day.

The purpose of the RICE method

The RICE method is most helpful immediately after a soft tissue injury and over the course of the first couple of days. The RICE method is widely recommended for treating a wide variety of soft tissue injuries, including:

Keep in mind that the RICE method is not a substitute for seeking treatment from a medical professional. Getting evaluated is crucial in getting a proper diagnosis and the appropriate treatment.

To learn more about the benefits of the RICE method or to get treatment for a soft tissue injury, book an appointment online or over the phone with Valerius Medical Group & Research Center today.

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