The RICE acronym (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) has been around for ages as a simple way of remembering elements of looking after a soft tissue injury. However, as an understanding of soft tissue injuries like contusions, muscle strains, and ligament sprains progress the simple RICE method may not be ideal in terms of healing and long-term recovery.

A new approach proposed in recent years is a two-stage method including PEACE in the first few days, then LOVE thereafter.

In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at PEACE and LOVE to help better manage soft tissue injuries.

It’s all PEACE and LOVE:

P – Protect. In the initial stages, (1-3 days) of injury pushing into pain and doing movements and activities that aggravate pain should be avoided to allow the initial healing stages to occur. However, long periods of complete rest and protection should be avoided as this can weaken tissues and prolong recovery.

E – Elevate. As with RICE, the elevation of the affected body part above the heart level is beneficial for reducing excess swelling.

A – Avoid anti-inflammatories. Very quickly our bodies cause inflammation around the injury as part of the normal healing process. So, reducing inflammation in the initial stages of injury through medications like ibuprofen or diclofenac can negatively influence tissue healing.

C – Compression. As with elevation, compression through taping or compression garments can help reduce excess swelling.

E – Education. This one is more directed at physio but what we’d like to encourage people to do here is take an active approach to recovery rather than rely on passive treatments such as massage or acupuncture as “quick fixes”.

L – Load. Load refers to taking an active approach to returning to normal movement and function using pain as a guide. If you think about ligaments, they are designed to keep our bones and joints aligned by resisting tension, therefore it is necessary for those ligaments to be put on tension to allow them to regenerate and become stronger. If they are rested too long, however, they become weak and susceptible to re-injury.

O – Optimism. Research suggests mental health plays a part in recovery, i.e. poor mental health may lead to a longer time to recovery. So, factor in looking after your mental health as part of your recovery plan.

V – Vascularisation. Pain-free cardiovascular exercise should start as soon as possible. Not only is it great for overall well-being, but it boosts blood flow to injured tissues promoting faster recovery.

E – Exercise. Coming from a physiotherapist this one should be expected. Exercise of any type: strength, mobility, and cardiovascular should be started as soon as pain limits allow, and healing time frames have been respected throughout the PEACE and LOVE process.


If you have experienced any of the above then get in touch with your local Sports & Spinal Physiotherapist today to see how they can get you on the right road to recovery.

Written by Sports and Spinal Physiotherapist, Kirby Pitt


Dubois, B., & Esculier, J. F. (2020). Soft-tissue injuries simply need PEACE and LOVE. British Journal of sports medicine, 54 (2), 72-73.