Rest in Peace – R.I.C.E.
Almost every singe athlete, athletic trainer and weekend warrior knows what to do after an injury. We have been taught to fall back on the acronym that Dr. Mirkin invented. In 1978 he used the term R.I.C.E. which stand for (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). It only took about 30 years or so until Dr. Mirkin and colleagues started to understand that ice and complete rest in R.I.C.E. may actually be slowing down the healing process instead of speeding it up.
Why would Ice delay the healing process you may ask?
During competitive events, trauma or your everyday workout, your muscles go through some sort of damage. Inflammation will start to set in order to heal the muscles which is started by your immune system. Your immune system sends cells and proteins to the site of where the damage occurred. This is done to promote healing. The cells that are sent to the damage site are called macrophages and they release IGF-1 which is a hormone that helps muscles or other damaged tissues heal. Ice helps to reduce the swelling but it prevents the body from releasing IGF-1. Ice applied to the body causes the blood vessels to constrict. This constriction shuts off the blood flow that would bring the healing cells to the damaged site. Ice is not the only thing that would cause a delay in healing. Anything that reduces inflammation would cause this delay which would include anti-inflammatory drugs.
R.I.C.E. has been around for a while and it will do the job with most injuries but may not always be the most effective choice. It is advised that after an injury to see your medical provider to determine if any bones are broken or if any ligaments are torn.