Our bodies are made for movement such as exercise and sports. However, an injury can happen any time during physical activity. If you suffer an injury, it is best to treat it immediately using the R.I.C.E. method.
Rest: It is important to rest the injured area until you can get through your daily routine without pain. You may worsen your injury by continuing to take part in physical activity before it is healed. It can take anywhere from several days to months to recover, and your recovery time depends on the severity of your injury.
Ice: Place an ice pack on the injured area immediately to reduce the swelling. You want to do this several times a day for two to three days, and keep the ice pack on the injured area for 10 to 20 minutes. The ice decreases the pain and slows the blood flow to bring down the swelling. You should never apply heat during the first 72 hours of your injury.
Compression: Use compression to keep fluid from building up in the injured area. You can compress the area with a light wrap, such as a sports tape or an Ace bandage. Remember, wrapping it too tightly may cause additional swelling near the injured area.
Elevation: You want to elevate the injury to drain fluid away from the area and keep the swelling down. The injured area should be raised above your heart, which you can do with pillows as you sit or lie down.
You can also take an anti-inflammatory pain medication as directed to decrease the pain and swelling. Once the pain and swelling have gone down, you can add a little movement to your routine. It is best to slowly work your way back to your normal level of activity, and remember to gently stretch the area to prevent scar tissue from forming.
If you take all of these steps and still do not feel relief, it is time to schedule an appointment with your physician. Your physician may order an MRI, 16-slice CT scan or digital X-ray imaging exam to identify and treat your injury.