If you suffer an injury such as a sprain, strain, muscle pull, or tear, immediate first aid treatment can prevent complications and help you heal faster. One of the most popular acronyms to remember if you get an injury is PRICE, which stands for Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Using these immediate first aid measures is believed to relieve pain, limit swelling and protect the injured soft tissue. Ibuprofen is also good over the counter medication for these problems: Always read and follow the direction on the bottle before taking any medication.
If injured, stop the activity and protect the injured part from further damage. Avoid putting weight on the injured part and get help moving to a safe area.
Rest is vital to protect the injured muscle, tendon, ligament or other tissue from further injury. Resting the injured part is important to promote effective healing.
Cold provides short-term pain relief and also limits swelling by reducing blood flow to the injured area. When icing injuries, never apply ice directly to the skin and never leave ice on an injury for more than 20 minutes at a time. Longer exposure can damage your skin and even result in frostbite. A good rule is to apply cold compresses for 15 minutes and then leave them off long enough for the skin to re-warm.
Compression helps limit and reduce swelling, which may delay healing. Some people also experience pain relief from compression. An easy way to compress the area of the injury is to wrap an ACE bandage around the swollen part. If you feel throbbing, or if the wrap just feels too tight, remove the bandage and re-wrap the area so the bandage is a little looser.
Elevating an injury help control swelling. It’s most effective when the injured area is raised above the level of the heart. For example, if you injure an ankle, try lying on your bed with your foot propped on one or two pillows.