The truth about RICE.
For the last 20 years, thousands of athletes with sprains and strains have been victims of the medically prescribed RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate. Every injured athlete wants to recover quickly, compete at your best level, and be there for your team to take home the Win. The medical myth about the effectiveness of icing is stopping you from being that athlete. There is no research supporting ice for muscle strains. I get it though, the ice makes you feel better, it’s because your frozen tissue is NUMB. Of course, it feels better, but it is absolutely NOT HEALING better.
As a former competitive athlete and current team doctor, I understand the pains that come with sitting on the sidelines and watching others compete. With up-to-date care, you no longer have to sit on the sidelines for as long. Years of research and clinical experience treating athletes have taught me that RICE is all wrong. The rare exceptions are when swelling may cause damage to the area or prohibit further medical care.
Let us take a critical look and what the RICE demon is doing to your injuries.
1. Ice constricts blood vessels, slowing the delivery of fresh nutrition, oxygen, and blood into the area.
2. Staying off the injured area promotes atrophy of surrounding musculature making it more prone to injury in the long run.
3. Ice stiffens the tissues, putting you at greater risk for injury, especially if you plan on competing that same day.
Human physiology explains why icing is detrimental and current research is proving it. If you would like to dig a little deeper check out the following links.
Coming out of the RICE age.
Throw RICE out the window and replace it with ABS. It will change your whole story.
Activity: Move your injury in light and pain-free movements. This promotes blood flow and diminishes muscle atrophy.
Blood flow: Periodically massage the fluid out of the area to assist the exchange of oxygen and nutrition needed for repair.
Stabilization: Visit a trained professional who can evaluate each of the muscles crossing your injured area. Most muscles have multiple divisions and movements that can be isolated in testing. Those muscles will often disengage or turn off and need to be re-activated or cued to function. This is integral to a quick and full stable recovery.
Don’t let the little ice shoulder devil get the best of you and don’t let yourself and the team down. Rethink things and remember ABS, activity, blood flow, and stability. Recover quickly, compete at your best level, and be there for your team to take home the Win.
If you need some help visit our website, give us a call and get into our clinic. I am as eager to get you back competing as you are.
Dr. Marty Rueckert
Here’s a testimonial of an athlete who used this advice and came into my clinic.
“I sprained my ankle playing basketball and couldn’t walk without pain. Later that day, I went to Dr. Marty Rueckert. In just one 45-minute session I was able to run without pain. Forty-eight hours after spraining my ankle, I was able to play basketball for 2 hours, pain and brace free! My ankle is still swollen and black and blue, so I know that I really got it good, but it is fully functional.”
– Jaden, basketball player