When you are a mom of 4 kids (or ANY kids for that matter) you deal with a fair number of sprains and strains. Between football, basketball, longboarding, snowboarding, and dance injuries – we’ve spent our fair share of time at the doctors office and in the E.R. That is where I learned to use R.I.C.E. when dealing with “soft tissue” injuries. No, not the rice in my pantry…the R.I.C.E. first-aid treatment.
R.I.C.E. is an acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation – the 4 elements doctors recommend to ease discomfort and speed up recovery. And speaking as the “nurse” caring for these “patients”….I’m all for speedy recovery! :-)
ICE is definitely KEY in this recovery recipe so a nice shapeable ice pack comes in very handy. Unfortunately it never fails that when I NEED one I don’t have one. That’s why I was so excited to find out I could make my own in 2 simple steps using ingredients I always have on hand anyway. If you don’t already know this neat trick, prepared to be amazed. Here’s all there is to it……….
How to make your own shapeable ice pack:
Mix 1 part rubbing alcohol with 1 part water in a plastic zippered bag and put the bag in the freezer. DONE.
The alcohol will prevent the water from freezing completely, allowing you to “shape” the bag to conform to the injured area. This will help reduce pain and swelling. Be sure to place a towel over the ice pack before applying it to the skin.
Continue to apply the ice packs for 10-20 minutes every hour for the first 4 hours. Then apply ice for 10-20 minutes 4 times a day for the first two days.
Now you are armed with at least one important element of the R.I.C.E. treatment. The rest is up to you and your patient. :-)
And just in case you need a refresher course on how the R.I.C.E. method works…here is more detail as a reference for next time you need it (and you know there will be a next time.)
How To R.I.C.E. An Injury
- REST the injured part of your body for 24 hours. Can return to normal activity after 24 hours of rest if the activity does not cause severe pain.
- Continue to apply crushed ICE packs for 10-20 minutes every hour for the first 4 hours. Then apply ice for 10-20 minutes 4 times a day for the first two days.
- Apply COMPRESSION by wrapping the injured part with a snug, elastic bandage for 48 hours. If numbness, tingling, or increased pain occurs in the injured part, the bandage may be too tight. Loosen the bandage wrap.
- Keep the injured part of the body ELEVATED and at rest for 24 hours. For example, for an injured ankle, place that leg up on a pillow and stay off the feet as much as possible.