Thursday, March 3, 2011

R.I.C.E for Sprains and Strains?

Strains and sprains can be treated at home by following a simple plan called RICE, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.


If you strain or sprain your knee, stop or reduce your activity level for a day or two. Depending on the severity of the pain, your doctor may also suggest that you avoid putting any weight on the specific body part for up to two days. If needed, crutches or a cane can keep you moving.

"The amount of time you rest varies," says Robert Gotlin, DO, director of orthopedic and sports rehabilitation at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. "We recommend and promote rest as part of RICE therapy for as long as you have to in order to get the swelling reduced and the pain to an 'ooooh' rather than an 'ouch.' Rest at least a week, but most muscle strains or sprains are micro-tears of the tissue, and that takes at least three weeks to heal. Don't exercise or do the activity that caused the pain in the first place."

William Bargar, MD, director of the Joint Replacement Center at Sutter General Hospital in Sacramento, Calif., and spokesperson for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, points out that rest can be a double-edged sword. "If you don't use your joints, they get quite stiff. Sometimes they get worse if you use them. I say to use your symptoms of pain asa guide.If, when you do a certain activity, you have significant discomfort or more pain later in the day after doing it on a repetitive basis, you need to cut it out for a while until the pain goes away."


Use a bag of ice or cold pack on the injured body part four to eight times per day for 20 minutes each time. Don't hold it on there longer than 20 minutes because it can cause frostbite. To be careful and more comfortable, surround the ice pack with a towel to avoid freezing the skin.

"Usually, I tell patients to use ice after the activity that caused the pain but also to use heat before an activity," Dr. Bargar says. "A little warm-up is helpful, and heat to the joint or a hot shower or tub will help loosen you up, helping to avoid an injury or create pain."


In an effort to reduce the swelling that's causing your joint pain, use a compression bandage. These include either elastic-type wraps, such as an Ace bandage, air casts, special boots, or splints. Check with your health care provider on which one to use and how tight it should be.


Another way to help reduce the swelling is to elevate your leg on a pillow above the level of your heart. "Just do this for the first day or so to help control the swelling, but no longer," Gotlin says.

Muscle of the Week:
3 Moves that target your TRICEPS

1) Sit on a bench or chair
2) Begin with the hands next to or slightly under the hips.
3) Lift up onto the hands and bring the hips forward.
4) Bend the elbows (no lower than 90 degrees) and lower the hips down, keeping them very close to the chair. Keep the shoulders down.
5) Push back up without locking the elbows and repeat for 10-16 reps.

1) Lie on the floor or a bench and hold a light-medium barbell with the hands close together, about shoulder-width apart.
2) Extend the arms straight up over the chest, palms face out and thumbs wrapped around so that they're next to the fingers.
3) Bend the elbows and lower the the weight down to a few inches above the forehead or until the elbows at about 90-degree angles.
4) Squeeze the triceps to straight the arms without locking the joints.
5) Repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-16 reps.

1) Kneel in front of the ball and roll forward until the ball is under the mid-upper
thighs (the further out you are, the harder this move is).
2) Place the hands shoulder-width apart and place them just below the chest.
3) Bend the elbows and keep them close to the body and facing the back of the room as you lower down into a pushup in a see-saw motion (i.e., don't bend at the hips)
4) Push back to start and repeat for 1-3 sets of 10-16 reps.