Embrace Inflammation: Why PEACE and LOVE Trump RICE in Injury Recovery

Written by Anderw Bradbury on 12 June 2024

Understanding Inflammation: A Protective Response

Inflammation isn't the enemy; it's a vital response by your body to repair tissue damage and restore normal function after injury. Despite common beliefs, reaching for anti-inflammatories might not always be the best response to pain. Society and healthcare practices have conditioned us to suppress inflammation without recognizing its benefits in the healing process.

The Paradigm Shift: From RICE to PEACE & LOVE

In 2019, the British Journal of Sports Medicine introduced a groundbreaking approach to managing acute injuries, moving away from traditional methods like ICE, RICE, PRICE, or POLICE, to a more intuitive method: PEACE & LOVE. This new strategy emphasizes the body's natural healing process and encourages a more informed approach to injury recovery.

The PEACE Protocol for Immediate Injury Management

  • Protect: Avoid activities that cause further pain to the injured area.
  • Elevate: Elevate the injury above your heart to control swelling, utilizing the muscle pump with or without active movement.
  • Avoid Anti-Inflammatories and Ice: These can hinder tissue healing and blood flow to the injured area, although ice may help numb severe pain temporarily.
  • Compression: Apply compression to manage swelling and support the muscle pump.
  • Educate: Resist unnecessary treatments and imaging. Professional guidance can help determine if and when imaging is necessary, potentially saving you from unneeded procedures.

The LOVE Protocol for Sustained Recovery

After the initial phase, usually 3-4 days post-injury, the focus shifts to LOVE:

  • Load: Gradually apply load within pain tolerance to encourage recovery.
  • Optimism: A positive outlook can significantly enhance your healing process.
  • Vascularisation: Engage in exercise that promotes blood flow, excluding the injured limb if necessary.
  • Exercise: Incorporate pain-free exercises to support and accelerate recovery.

Emphasising Individual Needs

It's crucial to remember that these guidelines are designed for acute injuries and may not apply to chronic conditions or systemic inflammation. Always consult with a healthcare provider for advice tailored to your specific medical situation. Treatments and recovery processes should be personalized, as medicine is not a one-size-fits-all discipline.

Think PEACE and LOVE, Not RICE

Next time you find yourself with an injury, remember to prioritise your body's natural healing process. Embrace the PEACE and LOVE strategy for a recovery that aligns with current research and promotes the best outcomes. Let's shift our perspective on inflammation and recovery, supporting our bodies in doing what they do best—heal and recover.

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