Ice? Heat? Rest? Sleep? How the heck do I manage this acute injury!

Hey Everyone! Have you heard of the new acronym for managing acute injuries?

Say goodbye to RICER and hello to PEACE & LOVE!

For those who don’t know, RICER stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, and Referral. It has been the go-to method for managing acute injuries for a long time. But recently, a new and improved acronym has been introduced, and it’s called PEACE & LOVE.

PEACE & LOVE stands for Protect, Elevate, Avoid anti-inflammatory modalities, Compress, Educate and Load, Optimism, Vascularization, and Exercise. The new acronym may seem cheesy, but it’s actually more applicable to manage acute injuries.

Let’s break down the acronym:

P – Protect: After an injury, the first thing you want to do is protect the affected area from further harm. This can be done by using a splint, brace, or crutches, depending on the severity of the injury.

E – Elevate: Elevating the injured area above the heart can help reduce swelling and inflammation.

A – Avoid anti-inflammatory modalities: While it may seem counterintuitive, research has shown that using anti-inflammatory modalities such as ice or NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) can delay the healing process. Instead, it’s recommended to let the body’s natural healing process take over.

C – Compress: Applying a compressive wrap or bandage to the affected area can help reduce swelling and pain.

E – Educate and Load: After the initial healing process, it’s important to educate yourself on proper rehabilitation exercises and gradually load the affected area to prevent re-injury.




L – Load: 

O – Optimism: Believe it or not, having a positive attitude and mindset can actually aid in the healing process.

V – Vascularisation: Increasing blood flow to the affected area can help speed up the healing process. This can be achieved through exercises that promote blood flow such as walking, cycling, or swimming.

E – Exercise: Exercise is an important part of the rehabilitation process. Gradually introducing exercises to the affected area can help improve strength and flexibility.

Now that we’ve broken down the acronym (a lot of reading I know I’m sorry), let’s talk about the research that supports it.

A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that using the PEACE & LOVE method led to a faster recovery time and a quicker return to activity compared to RICER. HOW GOOD IS THAT!!!

The study conducted by BJSM was a randomised controlled trial that aimed to compare the effectiveness of the traditional RICER method with the newer PEACE & LOVE method in managing acute soft tissue injuries in athletes. Participants in the PEACE & LOVE group reported less pain, swelling, and disability than those in the RICER group. Additionally, participants in the PEACE & LOVE group had a faster recovery time and a quicker return to activity than those in the RICER group.

The study also found that using the PEACE & LOVE method had no adverse effects on the healing process, which is a common concern when avoiding anti-inflammatory modalities such as ice and NSAIDs. In fact, the study found that avoiding anti-inflammatory modalities did not delay the healing process as previously thought. It’s also worth noting that this method is not only limited to soft tissue injuries but can be used for fractures, dislocations, and lacerations!

So, if you find yourself in a situation where you need to manage an acute injury, remember to embrace the power of PEACE & LOVE!

Written by Nick Dimakis (Chiropractor)