What is RICE Treatment?

What does RICE stand for in pain treatments?

RICE is an acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. RICE is an important first aid treatment for immediate post-injury use, to help reduce swelling and pain and prevent further complications.


Soft tissue injuries to muscles, tendons ligaments often occur in sports and can occur in normal daily life from a trip or fall.  In many cases, the injured area will swell and bruise from internal bleeding and become tender.


Early first aid treatment with RICE can reduce the swelling and make the injury heal faster.

Although not part of the RICE acronym, it is important to protect the injured area as quickly as possible from further injury.


Stop all aggravating activity and make sure the injury is not weight bearing.


Apply ice ( a frozen pack of peas works well) to the area for 15 to 20 mins, but always with a towel or similar between skin and ice to prevent frostbite. Never leave on for more than 20 minutes to avoid frostbite. Allow sufficient time between applications for the skin to warm up, typically 45 to 60 minutes.

Ice is used to lower the blood supply to the injury and thus restrict swelling. It also helps reduce the pain level.


Compression aids the ice in reducing swelling and can help with pain relief. Compression can be achieved with a simple bandage wrap, or an elasticated wrap. It is important not to wrap too tight as it can promote swelling and pain. If this occurs just reapply the wrap a little looser.


Try to elevate the injured area above heart level to help reduce swelling.