Wait…is it really the end of the R.I.C.E age 🤔
Well yeah, kind of. Let me explain.
Growing up, whenever we got any bumps or bruises playing sports or playing outside we were told from almost everyone we know to use the RICE Method (rest, ice, compression, elevation) for our injuries
Sprain your ankle playing soccer – Ice it
Jam your finger playing basketball – Ice it
But these concepts and ideals are very old and outdated. Recently, there has been many research developments that have shown that these ideals and methods are not the best protocols to use anymore.
In fact, Dr. Gabe Mirkin, the man who coined the RICE method in 1978 actually recanted his own research in 2015.
Yes you read that right, in 2015 he made a statement stating that ice can in fact actually delay healing instead of helping it! Yet almost 8 years later the mass majority of the public still thinks this concept holds true.
Let me explain why this isn’t the case anymore
Inflammation is part of the body’s defense and repair mechanism. And in the case of an acute injury, inflammation is the first step in the healing process and can last up to 3-4 days following an acute injury.
One of the properties of ice is that it is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it decreases blood flow to the area. Without blood flow, the healing factors in the blood can’t get to the site of the injury and start the healing process. Thus the delay.
But get this, ice not only limits blood flow and healing factors from getting to the injury site while you’re using it but for up to hours afterwards as well.
So is there anything good about using ice?
Well ice does have numbing properties that may temporarily help manage pain by blocking pain receptors being sent to the brain from the injured area.
However, this pain relief is very short-lived and again you must consider the bigger picture and the delay in healing you may experience from using ice in the acute stages of healing.
Now you may be thinking: “Well Britni, if I’m not supposed to use ice, what should I do now instead?”
Instead you want to show your body some PEACE and LOVE
Peace and Love stands for:
- Avoid Anti-inflammatories
Here are the three main concepts behind the new acronym:
Intentional movement: Getting your body moving in those initial stages is going to be the best thing you can do following an acute injury. Movement is going to help bring blood flow to the area which is going to help facilitate healing. But the movement you’re doing should be intentional and relatively pain free (think four or less on a 0-10 scale)
Treat the symptoms and get yourself educated: If there’s swelling, compression and elevation are good tools to use (remember a compression sleeve is not the same as a brace). And while you’re managing the symptoms take this time to seek the education you need to manage the injury in the long term. Aka a physical therapist or other knowledgeable healthcare or rehab professional.
Early action is key: After the acute phase is over it’s time to build, baby! As soon as your tissues can tolerate it, you should be progressing. Listen to your body and let your pain be your guide, but early loading has been shown to be extremely beneficial to getting you back to normal activity pain free quicker. Complete rest is not the answer.
Now you may be thinking how am I ever going to remember all of that? (the new acronym is kind of long)
Well I got you covered!
I’ve created a PDF guide of the new peace and love protocol with all of the details on how to implement this new protocol. Click the link here to download it and save it for reference in the future should you ever need it!