How to help acute injuries?

We all got taught RICE, that is to rest, ice, compress and elevate. With new research RICE has now been slowly changing to POLICE. This is for any sporting injuries, falls, car accidents or accidents at home, to provide quick care when an ambulance is not needed. 

PROTECTION: means to unload, stabilize (if just holding the area), decrease activity on the area, use comforting words to help calm the person.

OPTIMAL LOADING: is a slow controlled return to activity including the basics such as weight bearing, walking, use of the area, sitting and exercise.

ICE: Ice or heat is controversial, if you prefer ice you can definitely use it to slow down inflammation of the area, but a few hours post injury some people like to use heat to release the tension they are feeling through the surrounding muscles.

COMPRESSION: Compression helps two ways, by helping blood flow to the area and also giving more protective proprioceptive feedback about the spot. Compression can be tape, and old cut sock or more fancy things like tube grip, compression bandages or compression clothing. 

ELEVATION: This helps in reducing excessive blood flow to the injured area thereby reducing or minimizing swelling. This is done by placing the injured area above the level of your heart on either a cushion or bean bag.

The following two suggestions on the bottom of the POLICE have been added by me, in knowledge of chronic pain patterns and best treatment practices. 

EDUCATION: educating yourself on your injury by a professional, and the prognosis and management that you are required to do is the best way to let you learn about your own injury. Make sure it is your own injury you are learning about and not other teammates, friends, family or workmates experience, as we are all different

REASSURANCE: getting information about your injury can help calm your thoughts about possible outcomes and keep you positive in your recovery, which is one of the best ways to heal.

Information compiled by Dr. Eliza Clark – Osteopath

We’re happy to answer any questions you might have, please email us if you need any advice!


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