How many of you have had an injury and were told to R.I.C.E? I don’t mean putting a bag of rice on your injury but rather using the R.I.C.E acronym.
Let’s break down what R.I.C.E means
Rest: Decrease movement of the injured area to decrease more blood flow to the injury.
Ice: Apply a cold pack to decrease inflammation and pain.
Compression: Apply pressure to the area to decrease hemorrhaging and reduce swelling.
Elevation: Elevate the affected area to lower pressure in the blood vessels to minimize bleeding.
This method is commonly used after an acute (recent) injury and is a great way to reduce swelling depending on how much swelling you have. However, what most of us do not realize is that inflammation is our bodies natural response to increase blood flow to the injured area to allow for healing. If you are like me then you’re asking, why would we try to prevent natural healing in the body and what are we supposed to do then?
That’s where M.E.A.T comes in to play.
Movement: Gentle movement to the area is vital because it places a small amount of load on the surrounding ligaments/muscles which helps the new tissue grow in an organized fashion. This also increases the flushing of lymph and blood which removes debris/toxins and brings in new, nutrient-rich blood to promote healing.
Exercise: Gentle exercise encourages further growth and strength of tissues while increasing circulation to promote healing. A Physical Therapist would be able to give you the appropriate exercises for your specific injury.
Analgesia: These are used to control pain during healing. Natural pain relievers are suggested like ginger, turmeric and magnesium.
Treatment: This varies depending upon the severity and acuteness of the injury. However, early intervention whether it’s joint mobilization, kinesio taping, contrast hydrotherapy, lymphedema massage, etc., it has been found to speed up recovery and decrease the chance of re-occurrence.
So, what should you do? R.I.C.E should be used sparingly and only in certain injury situations. Our injury management should emphasize the M.E.A.T protocol.