RICE Method

RICE Method for Acute Injury Treatment

As soon as possible and for 72 hours after any injury use the RICE method – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Icing injuries

Rest: Rest is a key part of repair. Avoid overstressing the injured area in the early phase of healing, as a continual strain on the area can lead to increased inflammation, pain, and possible further injury. Without rest, there is a risk of abnormal repair and chronic inflammation, and most soft tissue injuries will take far longer to heal. Establish an accurate diagnosis within 24-48 hours from a physiotherapist at Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy to determine when it is safe to return to gentle exercise.

Ice: Ice is excellent at reducing the inflammatory response and pain from the heat generated from the injury. Proper usage of ice can reduce the destructive over-response, which can result from inflammation. Use ice bags, cold packs or even a bag of frozen peas, wrapped in a thin wet pillow slip to provide cold to the injured area. Alternatively ice massage is an effective method to direct cold to the injured tissue, with less chance of receiving an ice burn. Simply use a paper cup of ice, peeling off the top of the cup to expose the ice and move the ice over the injured area. physiotherapy heat method for treating injuries

Apply any method of ice until the part becomes numb and red. It is recommended to ice the part 2-4 times per day for the first 3-4 days after injury. For chronic inflammation, ice compression bags are available from us to give the best possible icing technique with the minimum of fuss. Of note, back and neck injuries usually respond better to heat rather than ice as these injuries are usually associated with higher amounts of muscle spasm which tends to be more debilitating than the inflammation. A wide range of wheat bags are available from us to direct heat to spinal injuries.

Compression: Apply a firm, elastic bandage over, above, and below the injury to reduce swelling. Keep the part compressed for 48-72 hours. Release the compression before going to bed. bandage

Elevation: Raise the injured area above the level of the heart if possible to decrease swelling and pain.


Seek an early diagnosis from a physiotherapist at Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy to ensure that appropriate care is delivered as early as possible. As a general rule, if you let the problem persist it can take up to twice as long to resolve. The earlier you start your rehabilitation, the faster the injury will heal.


Alcohol will increase blood flow and in most circumstances will increase inflammation resulting in a longer healing time. Avoid alcohol immediately after any injury.

Why see Sport & Spinal Physiotherapy for acute injuries?

  • We listen, we care and we get results
  • We fix the cause of your injury and not just the symptoms
  • Our physios are highly qualified and trained in the assessment and treatment of acute injuries
  • We have comprehensive knowledge of biomechanics, tissue injury and healing.
  • Our therapists are passionate about sport and engage in an active lifestlye
  • We understand the demands and technique involved in all sport types
  • Our therapists have been recognised for their expertise having been national sporting team consultants
  • We are physiotherapists for many sporting clubs and the ACT Academy of Sport athletes
  • We have physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, massage and podiatry to rehabilitate acute injuries
  • We can fix your acute injury and get you back on the sporting field fast
  • We safely guide your return to sport
  • We have a wide range of products specifically designed to assist acute injury recovery.
  • We provide prevention strategies so that you never have to see us again for the same injury