Acute Injury Management – What should I do?

Jan 19, 2023

Initial treatment and acute injury management advice are forever changing with new research. So, what’s the latest? What should you be doing in the initial stages of a soft tissue injury?

You will probably have heard of the acronym ICE (Ice Compression Elevation). This is the basic principle of early treatment, which then developed into RICE (Rest Ice Compression Elevation) and then to POLICE (Protect, Optimum Load, Ice, Compression, Elevation). These acronyms are good when dealing with and managing the acute stages of an injury but tend to ignore the chronic stages (Dubois & Esculier, 2019). The optimal loading element in POLICE replaces the ‘Rest’ principle, with ‘Optimal Loading’ to encourage early recovery and reduce stiffness. However, the challenge we can face can be determining what actually is the ‘optimal’ dosage?

Most recent research in 2019 has determined a new acronym – Peace & Love. Each letter stands for what you should be doing after an injury:

Protection Avoid activities & movements that increase pain during the first few days after injury.
Elevation Elevate the injured limb higher than your heart.
Avoid anti-inflammatories Avoid taking anti-inflammatory medications as they can reduce tissue healing.
Compression Use elastic bandages/ taping to reduce swelling.
Education Listen to your body – your body knows best.
Load Let pain guide your gradual return to normal activities. Your Body will tell you when. it’s safe to gradually increase the load.
Optimism Be confident and postive throughout the rehabilitation process!
Vascularisation Participate in pain free cardiovascular activities to increase blood flow to repair damaged tissues.
Exercise Restore strength, mobility and proprioception.

Research is forever changing and has now advised that you restrict movement for 1-3 days post-injury, whilst avoiding anti-inflammatories, keeping optimistic about your recovery and participating in light pain-free aerobic exercise to promote healing.  In summary, all you need to remember immediately after an injury is to let ‘Peace’ guide you through the process and after a few days your tissues will need ‘Love’.

Take home messages:

+ During the early stages of an injury, make sure you follow the ‘Peace’ acronym to aid recovery.

+ Try to avoid using anti-inflammatory medicines as this may negatively affect long-term tissue healing.

+ Try not to rely on applying ice too much – this could potentially impair tissue repair.

+ Be positive and optimistic about your recovery!

When visiting us at SB Sports Massage & Rehabilitation it’s not just about manual therapy, sports massages and exercise rehabilitation it is also about education. We ensure that we provide the best and most up-to-date advice possible to all of our patients by keeping up to date with recent and relevant literature. If you are in need of some further advice about a recent or re-occurring injury then follow the link below to book in at either Leeds, Chorley, or Bolton. Click the following link to find out more & book now – BOOK NOW.

Thank you for reading,

Rachael Harris MSc (Hons)


– Dubois, B. and Esculier, J.-F. (2019) “Soft-tissue injuries simply need peace and Love,”British Journal of Sports Medicine, 54(2), pp. 72–73. Available at:

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