The P.R.I.C.E. regimen is an essential part of treating acute bleeds.
The P.R.I.C.E. regimen:
- Reduce weight bearing or stress on the affected joint or muscle by using crutches or other supports such as a 'collar and cuff' for the arm.
- You may need to avoid putting weight on the affected side completely for the first 48 hours; and possibly longer if it is a severe bleed.
- The affected area should initially be rested completely, generally for the first 24-48 hours depending on the severity of the bleeding episode. This allows the swelling to go down and prevents further bleeding.
- The injured area should not be forced into any position, but instead rested in the most comfortable position possible.
- Remember, 'rest' is not the same as 'immobility', as too much rest can also be damaging, so start to move the joint gently, as pain allows, within one or two days of treatment.
- Ice helps to reduce swelling, prevent further bleeding and eases pain.
- Use a gel cold pack or a ‘CryoCuff’ if you have one. If not, make an ice pack from a bag of frozen peas or crushed ice wrapped in a cloth.
- Cold wraps or packs should be applied to the affected area ‘little and often’ for around 10-15 minutes every 2 hours or so.
- You may need to continue using ice for several days after the bleed if your joint is still warm and swollen.
- Do not apply for more than 20 minutes at a time and do not place ice directly on the skin as it can burn.
- The more swollen an joint or muscle becomes, the more pain you will feel. Compression reduces swelling, and therefore pain.If the muscle or joint is very swollen, you may need to wait a day or so before using a compression bandage and then apply as pain allows.
- Your nurse or physiotherapist can provide you with an elasticated bandage and will make sure it fits correctly, as additional damage can be caused where the bandage is too tight.
- Try not to allow wrinkles in the bandage and make sure to remove it at night before you go to sleep.
- This helps to reduce swelling and relieve pain by increasing the blood flow away from the injured area.
- The injured area should be raised above the level of your heart.
- When you elevate your leg, remove the compression stocking to allow normal, healthy circulation.
- Elevate ‘little and often’ for around 20 minutes at a time.