Skip to main content
Health TipsInjury PreventionSports Performance

Is the RICE Treatment Still the Best Method?

Injury Prevention in Las Vegas

As a young athlete, injury prevention in Las Vegas sports training was a hot-button topic. Injury prevention is still a chief concern for athletes of all ages in Las Vegas. The problem is, injuries cannot be prevented. The most we can truly hope for is injury reduction. When an injury does occur, we must not hinder our body’s innate ability to heal.

When I was still playing, nearly all trainers and sports medicine professionals swore by the RICE treatment protocol.

RICE Treatment refers to the commonly recommended response to an injury: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

The term was originally coined by Dr. Gabe Mirkin in 1978, but in recent years, Dr. Mirkin himself has actually changed the widely used recommendation.

Ice is no longer recommended for injuries because there is a lack of evidence of its cryotherapy benefits. Plus, ice may actually inhibit and slow the body’s natural healing process.

Read on to learn more about how ice can inhibit healing, and to find out what the best treatment for injury actually is.

Why RICE Treatment Is No Longer Recommended

For many of us, when newly injured, the first thing we think of is to ice the affected area. Ice reduces swelling by constricting blood vessels, reducing inflammation.

Less inflammation is good, right? Actually, that’s not the case at all.

It turns out, reducing the initial inflammation that comes with an injury blocks the body’s healing process. In fact, it can actually prolong your injury. If injury prevention is the goal, then stopping the initial healing process when injuries do occur is extremely counterproductive.

Those blood vessels are extremely necessary pathways for healing white blood cells called macrophages to be delivered. Macrophages help clean up dead cells, bacteria, and other debris so that the body can begin repairing the damages.

When macrophages are blocked by anti-inflammatory treatments such as ice and ibuprofen, the body doesn’t have access to its cleanup system, therefore delaying healing. When the blood vessels are constricted, they don’t open again for several hours.

What Should You Do For an Injury?

Ice does have the ancillary benefit of pain relief. This is still okay to do, but only for short periods of time. Dr. Mirkin recommends applying ice immediately after the injury occurs for 10 minutes, then for 20 minutes off, on for 10 minutes, and so on.

This will allow the macrophages open access to do their job, and still allow you some pain relief.

For healing, the new standard is MCE, which stands for Movement, Compression, and Elevation

Of course, if the injury causes severe pain, a lapse in consciousness, or if you have an open wound, seek medical attention immediately.

In the case of a minor injury, you can usually get back to your training or sport as soon as the next day, so long as you are not experiencing pain. The light exercise of the injured area can stimulate the tissue and help the body to heal faster. Just make sure the movement is rehabilitating.

Listen to your body’s pain response and don’t push it.

Recover Without RICE

RICE treatment is quickly becoming recognized as a thing of the past. For true injury prevention in Las Vegas, stay on the cutting edge. For more information on the studies behind this development: check out this article from the FASEB Journal.

If you’re recovering from an injury and want to get moving again, Las Vegas Sports Performance can get you safely back on your feet. Our strategy of injury reduction focuses on strengthening weaknesses in stabilizer muscles and correcting dysfunctional movement patterns. With the application of the Functional Movement Screen and custom personal training programs, Las Vegas Sports Performance is keeping student-athletes and weekend warriors moving and staying healthy.

Injury prevention in Las Vegas is being supported with focused fitness and preparation.

On top of all that, Las Vegas Sports Performance has the experience and knowledge to help you reach your maximum fitness potential and achieve your athletic goals. With group classes, personal training, and more, what are you waiting for?

Contact Las Vegas Sports Performance to start with your Functional Movement Screen assessment today.