by Neil Anderson

According to my "Law of Reciprocal Pain," the only thing as certain as death and taxes is pain.  It is coming.  It is inevitable.  While you should embrace this law, it is also critical that you learn how to mitigate its effects.     

The best way to immediately treat an acute injury is through the R.I.C.E. method. 

R = Rest.  This is to be done immediately following the injury.  Resting an injury can range from completely staying off the injury and not using the injured body part at all, to simply choosing a new activity that doesn't flare up the injury you are resting.  A good example of this would be to switch from running to cycling for a period of time.  It can also mean using crutches or braces to sure up the injury.  What you are aiming for here is a rest from the pain.  

I = Ice.  Scientists have determined that the best ice pack is a mixture of crushed ice and water.  According to the Journal of Athletic Training, crushed ice in water cools your injury much faster.  It also conforms to the injury better, creating a more effective and efficient contact patch.  Ice should be used for 20 minutes in small applications, applying it to only the area injured.  Over-icing has the reverse effect.  Repeat every 3-4 hours as needed for pain and inflammation.  

C = Compression.  To decrease and further inhibit inflammation, it is wise to use an ACE type bandage or an elastic sleeve, and wrap the affected area.  These can be purchased in any pharmacy.

E = Elevation. Any area of injury should be elevated to at or above the heart.  This decreases inflammation and pain associated with the injury.  It also helps speed recovery.  

Too many times a person may experience what, at the time, is thought to be a small injury while working out.  Problem is, little injuries turn into MAJOR inconveniences and LONG setbacks when they are not taken care of properly.  To experience the best health possible, it is wise to speed recovery from small injuries in a very active manner.  Doing so will keep you in the game longer and/or get you back in the game sooner.  

None of this advice is intended to circumvent the advice of your physician.