PRICEM is an acronym for a self care regiment to manage a number of injury types at home. PRICEM was developed and is supported by the United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS). The steps in PRICEM are a particularly effective home treatment regiment for most repetitive stress injuries as well as for acute traumas and injuries that do not require a trip to the hospital. The PRICEM acronym stands for:
- P - Protection
- R - Rest
- I - Ice
- C - Compression
- E - Elevation
- M - Medication
When treating an injury you want to make sure to protect the injured area. Pads to reduce impact, slings and braces to limit movement, and compression bandages to hold everything still can help protect the injured area. Even a band-aid provides protection from germs and dirt.
An injury often needs to be rested so it can heal. Take things easy and do not exercise the injured area. If you can stop using it all together for a while you may see a greater improvement.
Using ice packs and cold therapy on an injured area helps reduce the swelling and inflammation and can numb some of the pain as well. Ice should not be placed directly on the skin. Wrap it in a cloth first. If you are using a cold pack that does not get to freezing temperatures it is probably fine. Consult the manufacturers recommendations.
Icing the injury a few times a day for 15 minutes or so will aid your healing. Do not keep the ice on for much more than 15 minutes though. If you still have pain and a lot of inflammation after your initial icing you can go with a 15 minute on - 15 minute off approach.
Compression bandages help stabilize the injury so there isn't any internal or external jostling that could further injure the area.
Lifting the injured area over the level of your heart will help reduce the inflammation. If it is elevated above your heart the local blood pressure is reduce due to gravity so less blood will gather at the injury.
Over the counter medication can be quite effective for pain management. Aspirin and ibuprofen, among others, have a long history effectively managing pain while thining out the blood just a little to help in the healing process.