If you’ve ever played a competitive or team sport or if you have ever suffered a traumatic injury your likely aware of the RICE or PRICE protocol. PRICE stands for protect, rest, ice, compression, elevation. These are the steps that you’re supposed to follow after you suffer an injury. Or at least they used to be. RICE is now outdated and has been revised. In the past weeks to believe that resting was good for injuries as this allowed for injured tissue to have time to heal. While there is some truth to this more and more evidence has been pointing to those who quickly return to activity or return to motion have better outcomes for their injury then those who wait longer.
The body is meant to be mobile
Our bodies are meant to be mobile. They’re meant to be able to ambulate and complete certain functions so that we can live our daily lives. That is how we progressed evolutionarily. Evolutionarily when we lost motion or the ability to function life often ceased soon after. This does not fully explain why motion is more beneficial than rest, but it helps to give some insight into why this seemingly paradoxical phenomenon happens.
This doesn’t mean that rest is never helpful or that you should push through pain
While the evidence seems to point to early mobility leading to better outcomes this does not mean that rest does not play any role in the healing of injuries. Certain injury such as fractures certainly need at least a little bit of rest to begin the healing process. On the other side of the spectrum just because early mobility has been shown to improve outcomes does not mean that you should go about acting as if you are not injured. You should not just push through the pain and perform activities that you can normally do. You still need to modify what you are doing when you are injured.
You should be optimally loading the area
Instead of rest what you need to do is optimally load the area. What this means is to perform activities that you are able to do after an injury in a modified manor. For instance if you sprained your ankle and can’t walk without a limp, that’s okay walk with a limp. Don’t use crutches unless you absolutely need them. If you can walk while limping with minimal pain then that is likely going to help you regain full function sooner than you would if you used crutches.
Regardless of what injury you have suffered follow the POLICE protocol instead of PRICE. With POLICE you want to protect the injured area, optimally load the injured area. Ice, compress, and elevate. Following POLICE is likely going to help you get back to doing your favorite activities sooner than following the now outdated PRICE protocol.