No HARM – What not to do to within the first 72 hours of being injured

No HARM – What not to do to within the first 72 hours of being injured

Author: Aaron Beck, APAM MACP, Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) Member,  Titled Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist, APA Titled Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, APA SA Branch President

In conjunction with the RICE principle, the No HARM principle is also recommended for the first 72 hours of managing an acute soft tissue injury. No HARM is an acronym for Heat, Alcohol, Running and Massage. These four things may further increase the extent of bleeding and swelling of the injured tissue, thus contributing to a secondary hypoxic injury state of nearby tissue. It could also make the healing phase longer compared to if the RICE protocol was followed. Furthermore, a larger area of scar tissue will be formed as healing occurs, potentially increasing the future injury risk of that tissue upon return to sport.

  • H = Heat. 

    This includes hot water bottles, heat packs, heat rubs, spas, thermal support braces, etc. This is the opposite to the application of ICE recommended in the RICE protocol.
  • A = Alcohol. 

    This acts as a vasodilator and increases the extent of the bleeding around the area of injured tissues. Furthermore, excessive alcohol consumption may reduce a person's feeling of pain and their inhibition, leading to increased movement or actions that may make the injury more severe.  
  • R = Running. 

    This includes excessive exercise or movement of the injured limb or body area. This is the opposite to the REST recommended in the RICE protocol. This could contribute to a more serious injury than initially sustained. 
  • M = Massage. 

    This relates to the injured area and immediately surrounding tissue. Massaging stimulates increased blood flow in the area and contributes to a more lengthy recovery period. It may increase pain and lead to myositis ossificans, a complication of excessive bleeding within tissue.  

    Everyone has experienced the fear and anxiety of being injured, but having knowledge on the RICE method and No HARM principles is a great way to be more prepared and organised when treating an injury in the first 72 hours. Knowing which steps to take can be the difference between quick recovery or a longer healing process. Taking proactive measures by monitoring your body's movements during sports and using compression support products to aid with injuries should minimise long-term muscular damage.

     At Thermoskin, we strongly believe in giving individuals tools to reclaim their active lifestyle. That’s why we offer a wide variety of compression supports and braces; ensuring that you can stay comfortable, safe and supported when recovering from an injury. Check out our range of compression supports and braces today - so that you can get back to doing what makes you happy!

    * Please note that the information provided in this blog does not replace professional advice. 

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