Soft tissue injury? Forget RICE protocol.. You need POLICE

Sprains, strains, and other soft tissue injuries can set back your training schedule. 
For years the standard protocol was R.I.C.E.and many injuries have been nursed to full recovery with this plan.  But new studies and discoveries may suggest that, although R.I.C.E. is effective, there are other faster, more effectiveways to treat soft tissue injuries.  A recent study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine has many health and fitness professionals replacing R.I.C.E with P.O.L.I.C.E.
R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation) was the old protocol for soft tissue injury.   
P.O.L.I.C.E. (protection, optimal loading, ice, compression,elevation) is the new protocol many professionals recommend. 
The last three steps in each are the same: ice,compression, and elevation.  Controlled,clinical research on all three lack sufficient support to say scientifically why  these methods work.  Studies on ice regarding its analgesic effect and effectiveness in inflammation control are new despite the implementation for a long time.  Compression and elevation also lack scientific support.  But, if the methods work then eventually science will upturn the stone that explains why. 
 
Rest makes sense to some degree.  If an area suffers a trauma, it needs time to recover.  But rest should happen only immediately after the trauma; the first 72 hours.  Too much rest and inactivity can hinder recovery and encourage adverse changes to the biomechanics of the tissue.  Without challenging the tissue, we risk prevention of key proteins for recovery making their way into the injured tissues. 
Protection and optimal loading of the tissue facilitates recovery in ways rest fails.  Protection of the injured area prevents further damage; number one goal.  Number two goal is to get those muscles back to pre-injury condition.  Protection of the area prevents any additional injuries to the affected areas; that one is pretty simple.  Crutches, braces or other supports are sufficient for protection.  
Optimal loading is a little more refined.  Early activity promotes early recovery. Chartered Physiotherapists need to help the individual find the optimal load the injured area can tolerate to aid recovery while preventing further damage in this active recovery process.  Because each injury and individual reaction to injury varies, there is no standard protocol for optimal loading.  The abilities and goals of the individual,the nature and severity of the injury all factor into the treatment plan.    A dancer will suffer different injuries and have different goals than a football player; and both are completely different from the non athletic ankle sprain stepping off a footkerb.  The optimal loading must be optimal and functional for the individual.  This is where assessment, attention to detail and a broad understanding of biomechanics on the part of your Chartered Physiotherapist are essential.
Stability training, strength training, manual soft tissue manipulation, massage therapy and resolving motor control issues all fall under the umbrella of optimal loading.  This is abroad spectrum subject that encompasses a variety of techniques proven to aid recovery and performance.  As aforementioned, the implementation of the various techniques, the intensity of resistance, stability and strength training all depend on the abilities and goals of the individual. 
 Be sure you know your limitations and honor the warning signals your body sends in the recovery phases to avoid re-injury or further damage to existing injuries. 
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Elite Health Physiotherapy