Joint ache or discomfort? Try RICE.
We rely heavily on our knees and hips for mobility. All our movements, be it standing or dancing depend on these two largest joints of our body, the hips and knee. No wonder these joints are easy strained with a lifetime of carrying body weight and co-ordinating movement. Therefore, it is no shocker that practically everyone complains of hip and knee pain. As you age, these joint endeavour much more pressure causing severe discomfort and constraining routine movement. If left unchecked, these could also lead to permanent damage to the joints and curb mobility.
For this reason it is highly essential that one takes good care of their hip and knee joint to avoid future inconveniences. There are many ways with which one can take care of minor injuries. RICE is an easy self-help measure to aid in easing the pain and discomfort of any joint. This is an excellent first aid for any type of joint injury. RICE stands for:
Rest. It is advised to limit vigorous activities that could severely damage the injured area. Avoid activities that could add pressure to the injured joint.
- Ice. An ice pack made at home or purchased from the stores can be used to apply on the injured area. This helps in reducing the pain and swelling. Keep the ice pack for 20 minutes on the injured portion with a 20 minutes interval in between. A layer of cloth is to be used on the skin before placing the ice pack to avoid frostbite.
- Compression. To reduce swelling an elastic bandage or neoprene support is to be used. This will also help in speeding up the recovery process. Be careful to not wrap it too tight as it could hamper with the normal flow of blood.
- Elevation. It is always best to elevate the injured leg using a pillow or a stool. This will avoid pooling of blood in the injured area and also reduce swelling.
If you are suffering from prolonged pain and long term stiffness you can opt for Heat therapy. Ice is considered best during the initial days of the injury to lessen the swelling and enable prior flexibility. However, if the pain persists, you can also try heat therapy. You can use heating pad or hot towel to supply heat to the injured joint. Make sure that the heat is not too much to cause blisters or burns on the body. The heating pad or towel should only be warm and not hot.
It is also medically advised that you continue your daily routine movement even if you are dealing with arthritis pain or any ache from overuse injury. One can also follow these joint-friendly options listed below to maintain an active lifestyle:
- elliptical trainer
- stationary bike (recumbent or upright)
- tai chi , soft yoga
- swimming, water aerobics, or water walking
- rowing machine
- Short walks throughout the day, instead of a long walk.
Unfortunately, if the pain is still prominent even after trying all these above mentioned methods, one might have to opt for surgery. If the damage to the joint is acute and prolonged, your consulting physician would advise you for a partial or total joint replacement. These surgeries could be risky as well as costly in the western countries and therefore many patients consider medical treatment abroad.