When you love and play many sports in your life, it’s only a matter of time before you injure yourself. No matter the activities you engage in and how careful you are, the reality is that there’s some risk of hurting yourself.
When this happens, it’s helpful to know how to recover as quickly, painlessly, and effectively as possible.
The acronym R.I.C.E is often thrown around because it’s so important and helpful. The R in that word stands for rest, so ensure you help the healing process by resting your body as much as possible in the first days after you hurt yourself. The injured muscles or joints, etc., will be weak, bruised, sore, and more, thus vulnerable to further injury. This is especially the case in the first few hours after you get hurt. As such, staying put and avoiding movement will give your body a chance to heal and avoid getting further injured.
Use Ice and Heat
The second word in the acronym mentioned above is ice. In the first day or two after sustaining an injury, applications of ice packs can go a long way to preventing swelling. This is because the cold helps to decrease blood flow to the area. Ice also assists with pain management, which is likely to be something you have to deal with.
However, be careful not to get frostbite from the frozen veggies, ice pack, or bag of crushed ice, etc., that you use. Don’t place the cold thing directly on your bare skin. Instead, wrap it in a tea towel or thin cloth and then apply. Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes at a time and have breaks in between these ice applications to let the skin return to a normal temperature.
After the first couple of days post-injury, you’ll want to turn to heat and alternate heat packs with ice. Heat promotes the circulation of blood to the injured part of your body, which in turn supports the healing process by delivering necessary nutrients and oxygen to the area. Plus, heat can ease pain, too.
Use Compression Bandages
The letter C in the R.I.C.E acronym stands for compression. After you’ve injured yourself, you can use compression bandages to help minimize swelling. Wrapping elastic bandages tightly around the hurt part of your body prevents fluid buildup.
Plus, it can reduce pain because the area gets a bit immobilized and is supported. Compression typically reminds us to stay still and avoid too much movement, too. Just make sure that the bandages you use aren’t so tight that they create numbness or tingling due to restricted blood flow.
Elevate the Relevant Body Part Where Feasible
The final part of the R.I.C.E acronym stands for elevate. After a sports injury, it’s wise to put the sore part of your body, where possible, up higher than usual. Raising an injury above the level of your heart reduces swelling by enabling fluid to drain away from the affected area. At a minimum, though, see if you can keep the sore part level with your heart or as close to that height as possible.
Stretch and Move Carefully
After a few days, and depending on the extent of your injury, you may like to start doing a few careful stretches. You don’t want to do this while still swollen, but once this has gone down, you can begin to move your body a little more each day. Do this slowly and carefully, and don’t push too hard too fast. If you feel pain, you’ve gone too far.
Stretch the area at first and then begin to move about more. Start with some very gentle exercise to avoid stiffness and too much loss of strength. Try to walk with a normal gait where possible if you’ve hurt your legs, back, buttocks, or other lower-body parts. Listen to your body to get a feel for how far you can stretch and move without making things worse.
Use Products to Deal with the Pain
Unfortunately, a sports injury also tends to bring with it a lot of pain, especially if you caused significant damage. As such, you may need to utilize some pain management treatment options to deal with the discomfort, whether for a few hours, days, or weeks.
Over-the-counter or even prescribed medications can be of great assistance. Still, it’s also worth seeing if you can get some relief from a more natural solution such as marijuana or CBD oil. Search online for retailers near you or those selling online. For instance, head to https://weedmaps.com/dispensaries/in/united-states/california for providers in that state. Other options, such as massage and acupuncture, may help you deal with the pain, too.
Try to keep a positive mindset and be patient and ease back into your sports activities slowly, so you don’t reinjure yourself. It takes time to feel okay again after an injury, but if you take it day by day, you should soon be back on your feet.