Think you’ve sprained something? Apply the PRICE principle to limit swelling and reduce pain. If the pain does not go away, seek a doctor’s help as soon as you can.
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P: Protection from further damage
Immobilise the injured/sprained area with a brace or a wrap.
R: Rest to avoid prolonging irritation
Avoid moving or overstraining the body part. Movement is good, and may help in healing, but it should be pain-free.
I: Ice for controlling pain, bleeding and edema
For the first 72 hours, apply ice on injured/sprained spot for 20 minutes every hour. Leaving ice on longer actually reverses the effect it has, and may even increase swelling. Chemical ice packs should never be applied directly to the skin, or frostbite can occur. Do not use heat for the first 72 hours; heat will exacerbate the swelling.
C: Compression for support and to control the swelling
Seek a doctor’s help to ensure the body part is wrapped properly to prevent further injury.
E: Elevation for decreasing bleeding and edema (swelling caused by fluid retention)
Where possible, raise the injured area above the level of the heart. This encourages swelling to return towards the body, instead of collecting in the extremities where it is difficult to get rid of.
This article was written by Nur Asykin Ismail and first published in Raffles Healthnews.