Robert H. Shmerling, MD Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
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We’ve all been there before. A minor injury leads to a sore ankle, achy shoulder, or sore neck. You could do nothing, try to ignore it, and see if it gets better. Or you may be tempted to take something, especially if significant discomfort prevents you from doing your usual activities or keeps you up at night.

So, what’s the best initial treatment? For minor injuries, your options are many, including:

  • Home remedies. Common approaches are the “RICE” treatments — Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation: applying cold to the sore area, wearing an elastic wrap to compress the sore area, rest, and elevation (such as propping up your sore ankle on pillows).
  • Nondrug approaches. For instance, massage or acupuncture.
  • Pain medicines. Examples are acetaminophen, anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, or other pain relievers.


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