The following tips can help ease your pain and speed recovery of a sprain and/or strain injury:
RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). This method of treatment is recommended by doctors in nearly every sprain/strain case. The instruction for the RICE method is as follows:
- Rest your injury. Limit activity and do your best to not put any weight on the injury.
- Ice the affected area, for no longer than 20 minutes at a time. This will help to reduce swelling and manage pain.
- Compression. Wrapping the injury with something like an ace bandage can help to decrease swelling and increase the stability of the injured area. Be careful not to wrap the injury too tightly, as it may interfere with circulation.
- Elevation. Keep the injury above the heart as much as possible. This will help to reduce swelling.
Follow your doctor’s recommendations during treatment and recovery. Don’t return back to your normal activity level without first getting clearance. This may cause further damage.
Ease back into activity following your injury. An abrupt change in activity level can cause further injury.
Incorporate stretching and warm ups into your daily routine. Stretching each morning after you get out of bed can help keep your body limber and lessen the risk of another sprain/strain. Stretching and warming up the muscles is especially important before physical exercise.
Consider immobilization. Though braces and wraps can be bulky, don’t discount the help they can offer you in recovery. Immobilizing the injury will allow the area time to fully heal and will assure the proper alignment of the injured joint/area during recovery.