P.E.A.C.E and L.O.V.E therapy

Does your injury need R.I.C.E? Or P.E.A.C.E and L.O.V.E

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“I’ve just injured myself, what now?”

Whether you have rolled your ankle, strained a muscle, or hurt your back, you might be wondering what to do. A good general guide to the first 48-72 hours is to do no HARM, with HARM being an acronym for Heat, Alcohol, Run (a synonym for vigorous exercise), or intense massage.

In that early recovery phase, your body mounts a variety of responses to deal with what has occurred, with much of this centred around inflammation. Inflammation has had some bad press recently, but is part of the body’s processes of defence and repair. In fact, recent studies found that in those with an acute bout of back pain, those with higher inflammation as measured by certain markers (C-Reactive Protein; CRP, and Interleukin-6; IL-6) had better recovery at 6, 9 and 12 months*!

So what now? We used to use the acronym RICE, for rest, ice, and elevation. An update to PRICE added ‘protect’ to the above. It was then argued that ‘rest’ wasn’t the right way to look at things. Our bodies respond to load, and appropriate load may stimulate optimal healing, even early on. Therefore, the notion of rest, which suggests staying off the injured part altogether, might not be ideal. The acronym POLICE shifted the dialogue to ‘Protect, optimally load, …”

*Deep breath*

Already, it’s getting complicated, isn’t it? If the physios and other professionals can’t agree on the basic guidelines, what are you to make of it? Add to that the fact that ‘optimally load’ may in some cases entail staying off the affected body part altogether, whereas in other cases it may entail using that body part as normally as possible, and it’s already becoming a tangled web.

An Editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) in 2020 went so far as to advocate for PEACE and LOVE as an acronym. Among other things, this included ‘optimism’ as a facet of recovery. This all may sound a bit insubstantial, but may be highly pragmatic, too. Many of us have no doubt had an injury where we couldn’t help but think right away what it meant, how it might change how we function, and how it might change or rule out activities, aspirations, and dreams.

a graohic of saying peace and love, p for protection, e for elevation, a for avoid anti inflammatories, c for compression, e for education then l for load, o for optimism, v for vascularisation, and e for exercise

Needless to say, such thoughts don’t contribute to recovery. There are some very practical choices that need to be made in these moments, and we may do well to focus on these and not the possible worst-case scenario of the injury.

So back to the choices of what to do now. They have already become more complex, haven’t they? Fortunately, this sort of reasoning is the sort of thing that physiotherapists specialise in. We can consider the type and degree of injury and tailor these choices to you. This ensures you get the best possible outcomes and begin the pathway back to engaging in the activities you love, and which are important to you.

Book in now with our experienced physiotherapists to find out where to start your injury recovery.

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