Is Rest Ice Compression And Elevation An Outdated Protocol For Acute Injuries?
How to treat a twisted ankle? A knee sprain? A cut, scrape, or bruise? RICE is an acronym that has come to be one of the most common “how to’s” in cases of acute injury. It stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
The goal of this is to keep blood flow away from an area to minimize swelling and discomfort. But as we now know, this is not the smartest thing to do in terms of healing.
We need to help the body along with the healing process versus shutting it off. Now there are definitely times in which we want to stop the process such as the airway closing or other extreme cases, but in terms of general aches and pains, this is not good.
What has gotten even worse, is what we have translated for acute injuries into the same treatment for chronic injuries. Ice is terrible for an old injury as it keeps the healing system away from the area.
Since the realization of this, a new acronym has come to the table, MEAT. It stands for Movement, Exercise, Analgesics, and Treatment. This treatment protocol is focused on getting the healing response to turn on and regain the function of an injured area.
MEAT Is An Acronym For Movement Exercise Analgesics And Treatment Which Turns The Healing Process On
It seems like we can’t make up our minds and medicine is confusing, especially as a consumer who is inundated with information. So, who do you trust? A pain management doctor will manage your pain- and that means to treat pain.
A pain resolution doctor seeks to get over it and regain what has been lost. While that seems sassy, it is for a good reason…people are not being treated for what they need. The quick-fix mentality is not medically sound, it simply puts the patient’s mind at ease; temporarily.
What we have to focus on is education. Educating people on how to first get to the right doctor, then determine what the best course of action is. Not to be disrespectful to the doctors treating pain, but for everyday issues, they do not have the time and skills to rehab a patient.
Unfortunately, the insurance companies rule what can and cannot be done. If you are in the anti-inflammatory drugs, cortisone shots, trigger point injections, radiofrequency nerve ablation camp, I have bad news for you— the clock is ticking until you need surgery. Let me explain.
If the body is in pain, that signal tells you upstairs not to move that way. This is to protect you from doing more damage. If you take a pain killer, don’t you turn off that important signal?
I know that is frustrating, especially since you are in pain. Resolution and answers are here.
Movement is very important for getting over pain, but not just any movement.
Great physical therapists know how to get over the fear of pain and rehabilitate the muscles. Chiropractic can be helpful for some spinal issues, but not the 3 times a week visits many offices are pushing out there.
Be very cautious when they take your insurance- it’s a double-edged sword. Exercises that aim at strengthening the muscles around the joint and coordinate with the rest of the body are the main treatment goal in movement and exercise to improve the healing process.
If there is pain, there are natural solutions that can help. One of the most trending solutions is CBD, the non-psychoactive component in the cannabis plant. Turmeric, Frankincense, Quercetin, Resveratrol, and high dose Omega 3 fatty acids can really help with the pain. If these do not work, there are many other solutions.
Treatments such as acupuncture, cupping therapy, electronic stimulation, and massage are some great physiotherapy treatments that can be done while the body is healing. This brings us to the timeline of healing- it is not instantaneous.
If an injury is over 6 weeks old and not getting better, you need to seek medical attention. For those in a chronic pain cycle, this is even more of a challenge.
You think you have tried everything as you have spent tons of time and money and you’re still not getting better. There are other options out there, but again you may have to step outside insurance to get them.
This is not bad news; it is actually good news! Science moves much faster than politics. What we have available today may be covered in 10 years. Please don’t wait to treat your pain in 10 years though, that sounds like a miserable existence. Become a proactive warrior, a steward to your own health and wellness.
Regenerative medicine and functional medicine are the most forward-thinking fields of medicine.
They are getting recognition from around the world for their ability to create positive change and get better results without drugs or surgery.
To summarize, put down the RICE and pick up the MEAT. Revise your way of looking at the body and what pain actually is. Don’t trust your insurance company to determine what is good for your health.
Be very careful about a conventional only approach to pain management. It may make you feel better for the short term but can come with long-term consequences.
Sometimes surgery is the right option for you and having a second opinion is always a great idea. However, moving from rest, ice, compression, and elevation to movement, exercise, analgesics, and treatment is what is best for the body and the healing process.
Please consult with your doctor or advocate before making any changes to your healthcare plan. This is meant for educational purposes.
About the Author
Dr. Steven Sorr is the founder and chief medical officer at Source of Health in Scottsdale, AZ and has been in clinical practice using regenerative medicine since 2013. He received his doctorate in naturopathic medicine from SCNM and is a licensed healthcare provider in Arizona.
Dr. Sorr brings a huge passion for life and a diverse educational background of food, yoga, and medicine to the Source of Health. His goal is to revolutionize the standard of care mindset by making significant strides in evidence-based therapies that are drug and surgery-free to restore high-level health for all.