Every now and then we find ourselves with an acute injury and usually in pain because of this. An acute injury is something that occurs suddenly. It is usually a result of a fall, trip, a twist, or impact. The way we manage these injuries after they occur is key to pain management and recovery time.
The protocol that is commonly used is R.I.C.E. This consists of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
A change based on evidence has created a newer mnemonic that physiotherapists recommend for better immediate and sub-acute care.
This new injury protocol is P.E.A.C.E & L.O.V.E.
Some of these are the same as R.I.C.E, but there are a few extras to help you get back to your chosen activities, or until you can discuss with an appropriate health provider, such as a physiotherapist or a doctor.
The PEACE portion of the protocol is broken down into Protection, Elevation, Avoid Anti-Inflammatory, Compression and Education. This provides immediate care.
- Protection: In the initial hours and days after the injury it is important to avoid any activity that increases pain to the injured area.
- Elevation: Elevate the injured limb higher than the heart as often as possible.
- Avoid Anti-Inflammatories: Following injury try not to take any anti-inflammatories or icing the injury. This slows down the tissue healing as it reduces the rush of nutrients to the injury site.
- Compression: Use an elastic compression bandage or taping to reduce swelling, to keep the area comfortable.
- Education: Your body knows best. Try to avoid unnecessary passive treatments or any medical investigations to allow your body to naturally heal.
The LOVE portion of the protocol is broken down into Load, Optimism, Vascularization and Exercise.
- Load: allow the pain of the injury site to guide your gradual return to normal activities, as the pain decreases you can increase the intensity of your activities.
- Optimism: condition you brain for optimal recovery by remaining positive and confident in your recovery.
- Vascularization: it is good for your recovery to get blood flowing to the repairing tissues, choose some pain free cardiovascular activities to do.
- Exercise: Restore mobility, adopt an active approach to your recovery. Get a physio to help you with proprioception to help reduce the risk of re injury.
When your body has gone through its processes to heal an injury, it does its best job to clean up after itself. Sometimes this is not the case, sometimes residual swelling, tightness, and stiffness may affect your ability to get back to normal.
Physiotherapy can facilitate healthy healing at all stages of your recovery. For example, a physio can provide appropriate exercises to help alleviate swelling, reduce stiffness, and free up tight muscles in the early days of injury.
Once your ready to start strengthening the injury site and getting into rehabilitation, your physiotherapist will be there every step of the way.
You can read more on the research behind the PEACE & LOVE protocol here.