The most important time after any injury is the first 24 hours, in this time the tissues are bleeding and blood is collecting in the surrounding areas causing damage to the tissues in these areas and can prolong an injury. By reducing the bleeding you can minimise the extent of an injury.
You can do this by following the RICE advice/protocol.
R- Rest. This all important stage is often underestimated. Most injuries that result in the damage of soft tissue should be rested completely for the first 24-48 hours to avoid increasing bleeding into the area and allow the healing process to begin without further irritation. In a severe injury this means using crutches or a brace for leg injuries or a sling for the arm. For a severe back injury 24 hours bed rest may be beneficial.
I- Ice. Ice is recommended for the first few days following injury. Ideally use crushed ice in a plastic bag with a little water, always place a damp towel between the ice and your skin, and apply for 5-10 minutes every 1-2 hours.
C- Compression can be applied to the injured area using a bandage. Compression reduces bleeding and swelling.
E- Elevation reduces pressure in the affected limb and therefore reduces the collection of fluid in the damaged area. The injured leg should be raised above the hip. The arm can be raised using a sling or cushion.
Avoid alcohol during the early stages following an injury as this can cause increased bleeding following injury and keep a note of any painkillers you take.