There’s nothing quite as bad as having to deal with a burning sports injury, but is putting it straight on ice going to help you to get back in the game? Well, that all depends on the execution of what’s known as the R.I.C.E. technique.

Correct icing requires Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (hence the abbreviation). Here’s a little more explanation on how this works:
Rest. The time you should spend resting is really going to depend on what you injured and how badly it hurts. A good rule of thumb: If you feel pain and it’s beginning to swell, stay off it (or refrain from using said body part) until the swelling is gone and it no longer aches.

Icing the injured area can be done in many ways as long as the item you use is cold. However, it's best to avoid freezing gel packs which could result in frostbite and burning your skin. If you have no other option, then just make sure to place a damp, thin layer of cloth between your skin and the pack. Do this for 20 minutes but no more than 30 minutes at a time. Feel free to repeat the icing process every 1 to 2 hours. If it’s a new injury, re-icing every few hours can help the recovery process.

Compress. Compression is key to help reduce the swelling. Whether you’re using a compression sleeve or an elastic wrap to treat the injury, make sure said area is dressed during your “elevation” stage. You can also compress while you ice by securing the ice in place with the wrap; just make sure to rewrap the area once you remove the ice. Don't wrap the elastic too tightly or it might make the skin around the area swell.

Elevate. Always remember this rule: The injured area must always be elevated higher than your heart. If it’s a minor injury, keep it elevated while icing; if the area is really aching and is severely swollen, keep it elevated for the remainder of the day.
So when exactly should you use this method? If there’s swelling, pain, or the area is sore, R.I.C.E. can help reduce those symptoms - an acute injury like a sprain or strain, and even chronic pain caused by an old injury.

For more ways on treating post-workout sores and aches, click here