Soft tissue injuries are a common reason to visit your chiropractor for treatment. Soft tissue injuries include muscle strains, ligament sprains, tendonitis, and bruising will typically affect the muscles, ligaments, tendons or joints of the body. These are the most common types of sports injuries. Through chiropractic care and rehabilitation, your provider can help you get through these steps safely. Most athletes know the old terminology of RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation), which has been transformed with the newest reviews of sports medicine research.
An article that was published in 2020 in the British Journal of Sports Medicine demonstrated that the newest way to manage soft tissue injuries is through PEACE and LOVE. It is an acronym to help remember the best way to take care of an acute injury. You treat it initially with PEACE and then with LOVE for long term care. Let’s talk about what each letter stands for:
P – Protect: Initially it’s important to protect your injury. You want to stop any bleeding, cover any open wounds, and avoid aggravating the area for 1-3 days.
E – Elevate: Elevating an injured limb above your heart will help to decrease swelling of the injured site.
A – Avoid Anti-inflammatories: Anti-inflammatory medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) and steroids will interrupt the inflammatory pathways, which could interrupt long term healing of the tissues.
C – Compression: Wrapping an injured limb with a bandage or sports tape can help to decrease swelling of the injured area.
E – Educate: It is important that your chiropractor, doctor, or therapist educate you on how your soft tissues will heal. There needs to be realistic goals for treatment, realize there is no “magic cure”, and that active rehabilitation (exercises, stretching, and moving) are better than passive therapies.
L – Load: Loading the joint by performing safe exercises and movement will help repair the tissues, remodel and heal correctly.
O – Optimism: Keeping a positive attitude about your expectations of recovery provides better outcomes and prognosis. Feelings such as fear, depression, and catastrophizing have been shown to regularly have poorer outcomes.
V – Vascularization: Early cardiovascular exercise (as prescribed by your chiropractor, MD, or PT) helps to promote blood flow, improve physical function, and leads to better outcomes.
E – Exercise: Exercise has been shown to improve outcomes and decrease the chance of recurrence in the future. Exercise is part of Educate, Load, and Vascularization and is emphasized again, because of its importance.
PEACE and LOVE is a great way to remember what is important to do after a sport injury or other soft tissue injuries. Always consult with your treating chiropractor or therapist to provide the safest and most effective treatments.
Dubois B, Esculier JF. Soft-tissue injuries simply need PEACE and LOVE. Br J Sports Med. 2020 Jan;54(2):72-73. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2019-101253. Epub 2019 Aug 3. PMID: 31377722.