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Physical Therapy in Merrimack Valley for Injury Care

Swelling can be managed by using PEACE & LOVE and MEAT which stands for Protect, Elevate, Avoid anti-inflammatory medication/ice, Compression, Educate, Load, Optimism, Vascularization, Exercise; and MEAT which stands for Movement, Exercise, Analgesia, Treatment.

Medical knowledge is always advancing.  What was recommended while you were growing up, or when you injured yourself five years ago may not be in line with the most recent research and advice. Such is the case with the previously common recommendation to use RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) to manage an acute injury.

What’s RICE and What is Wrong With It?

The goal of any acute injury care (the first 1-3 days post injury) is to stop more cells in the area from being damaged, and to encourage the already injured cells to heal as soon as possible.  But how best can we do this?

It has long been advised, after an injury occurs, to apply the principle of RICE: Rest it, Ice it, Compress it, and Elevate it. We have all heard it, right?  Interestingly, more recent research indicates that we need to ‘cool off’ on the resting and icing portion of this well-known acronym.

What Replaces RICE for Acute Injury Care

New acronyms have been used to sum up the best approach to acute and sub-acute injury care and to replace the well-loved, but now out-of-date RICE acronym. The two most common recommended acronyms are:

PEACE & LOVE

This acronym covers both the acute and sub-acute phases of an injury.

In the acute stage of an injury apply PEACE:

P: Protect the injury. Avoid activities and movements that cause pain for the first 1-3 days after the injury.

E: Elevate. Elevate your limb above your heart as often as possible during the day.

A: Avoid anti-inflammatory medication/ice. Avoid any medications or modalities that work to reduce inflammation in the acute post-injury stage (1-3 days).

C: Compression. Early compression with a tensor bandage or tape can help decrease unnecessary swelling, help with pain and make it easier to get back to your daily activities quicker.

E: Educate. Learn about how early activity can help your recovery. Learn which treatments are best to rehabilitate your specific injury. Avoid unnecessary passive treatments or investigations that add no benefit to your recovery.

In the sub-acute stage (after the first 3 days up until approximately 6 weeks) LOVE should be used:

L: Load. Put more weight on and through the injured body weight and start getting back to normal activities as soon as possible. Do not exacerbate pain.

O: Optimism. Remain optimistic about your recovery as negative emotions can be detrimental to optimal recovery.

V: Vascularization. Begin pain-free cardiovascular activity after your injury to improve mental health during rehabilitation, as well as improve revascularization of the injured area.

E: Exercise: Restore range of motion, strength and proprioception of the injured area in order to get back to your normal activities and decrease your chance of re-injury.

MEAT

M: Movement. Moving the injured body part early on helps the healing tissue repair itself in the most organized fashion to support that area. Movement should be gentle and respect your pain.

E: Exercise.  Restore range of motion, strength and proprioception of the injured area in order to get back to your normal activities and decrease your chance of re-injury.

A: Analgesia. Pain can adversely affect healing so it is important to get pain under control. Modalities such as ice, heat, acupuncture, needling, or electrical modalities can be used for pain. Other options include natural painkillers such as herbs or vitamins, topical creams, or over the counter and/or prescribed medications.

T: Treatment. Seek early treatment. Early Physical Therapy intervention greatly assists healing.

Physical Therapists provide excellent up-to-date advice on what to do and what not to do in order to promote healing as quickly as possible after an injury. Every injury is different and our Physical Therapists at Gemini Physical Therapy Spine & Sports Rehabilitation will develop a treatment plan specific to your needs.

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