College Central®

Ask around. The Network works.®

Health
What Do Gladiators and the Weekend Warrior Have In Common?

Louise Roach -- If you find yourself nursing a painful knee or strained muscle at the office, you are in the company of gladiators.

Strip off the tie and grab your running shoes, golf clubs or baseball mitt! The weekend has arrived.

You look forward to extra time on Saturday and Sunday to enjoy your favorite sport. And you probably cram in as much activity as possible before Monday morning rolls around. You're a weekend warrior!

If you find yourself nursing a painful knee or strained muscle at the office, you are in the company of gladiators.

Favored gladiators were considered the sports heroes of their day. If gladiators survived serious injury, they were attended to by sports physicians for common problems such as sprains, torn ligaments, and muscle strains.

The first doctor to gain notoriety for treating gladiators was Galen, acclaimed as the father of sports medicine. Living from 129 to 199 BC, Galen traveled throughout Rome bandaging-up gladiators. Although Galen used a form of traction to set bones and was considered way ahead of his time, he was not aware of the simple principle of R.I.C.E. (rest-ice-compression-elevation) to treat sports-related injuries.

Today, it's easy for weekend warriors to take care of minor sprains and strains using the recommended technique of R.I.C.E. According to the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, "more than 10 million sports injuries are treated each year in the USA. Athletes and non-athletes share many similar injuries. Immediate treatment for almost all acute athletic injuries is R.I.C.E."

Here is the four-part method for using R.I.C.E.:

Rest: Stop the activity causing pain and allow the injured area to rest for 2 to 3 days.

Ice: To decrease swelling and numb pain, apply ice in the form of ice packs or ice massage as soon as possible. Treat for a period of 48 to 72 hours after an injury happens.

Ice applications should last for 10 to 30 minutes until the point of numbness. Longer icing periods should be avoided as this could result in tissue damage. Allow the skin to return to normal temperature before reapplying an ice pack.

Compression: To decrease swelling and bruising, compression should be applied immediately using a compression or elastic wrap, or athletic tape.

Do not apply compression to the point of cutting off circulation (a feeling of numbness or tingling). Compression can also be used at the same time an ice pack is being applied.

Elevation: Raise the injured area to above heart level to minimize internal bleeding and swelling.

Unlike yesterday's gladiators, today's weekend warriors who survive the trials of running too hard, pitching a no-hitter or shooting too many hoops, are better prepared. With a reusable ice pack in hand and knowledge of R.I.C.E., every warrior can triumph over pain.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical treatment or consultation. Always consult with your physician in the event of a serious injury.

Louise Roach is a health and fitness editor, marketing specialist, and product development consultant. She helps others find pain relief through the use of SnowPack Cold Therapy products. Learn more about the benefits of cold therapy at http://www.snowpackusa.com. For a FREE health/fitness e-newsletter, sign up at: http://home.netcom.com/~newsflash.

© 2005 Louise Roach

Return to top

The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect those of College Central Network, Inc. or its affiliates. Reference to any company, organization, product, or service does not constitute endorsement by College Central Network, Inc., its affiliates or associated companies. The information provided is not intended to replace the advice or guidance of your legal or medical professional.