Rest the injured area for the first 24 hours where possible. Gentle movement [without moving too much to cause pain] is advisable. For low back strain, alternating between lying down and gently keeping mobile is best to speed up your recovery. Too much prolonged rest can cause weakness of muscles and hinder full recovery. As a general rule "if it hurts don't do it" is the best course to follow until you have sought advice.
Apply an ice pack [or cold compress] to the injured area. This should be done only for 10 minutes at a time at hourly intervals. Do not apply for longer than 10 minutes as this can cause damage. Ice should not be applied directly to the skin, but should be wrapped in a wet tea towel or similar. Crushing ice cubes placed within a tea towel first is the best practice, but a bag of frozen peas is a useful alternative.
WHY NOT HEAT?
Many people find heat soothing and comforting. Heat is beneficial when a muscle is tight or has gone into spasm. If however you have torn tissue [e.g. muscles or ligaments] there can be some internal bleeding [such as when you develop a bruise or would go "black & blue"]. Heat can aggravate this by causing a burning inflammation to burn more and by forcing more blood into the area, whereas ice will constrict the blood flow and reduce the swelling.
A supportive crepe bandage, tubigrip or strapping can be applied. This should not be too tight so as to cut off the circulation, but tight enough to support the area and limit swelling. Bear in mind that should the swelling increase markedly this could become too tight and would need to be loosened.
Raising the injured area above the level of the heart will help to limit further swelling as well as helping fluid to drain away [e.g. if you have a sprained ankle, lying flat with the leg raised up].
If you think you may have a fracture or dislocation, then clearly you need to attend the Accident & Emergency Department at hospital.
Prompt treatment ensures a speedy recovery. Phone
If you have suffered a recent traumatic injury, the following general advice may help.
"RICE" [Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation]
Paracetamol is a useful painkiller. Take only the prescribed dose and do not mix with other medications [especially cold remedies] without checking with your pharmacist.
Aspirin / Ibuprofen / Nurofen are anti-inflammatory medicines. They can aggravate Asthma, and can cause or further irritate digestive problems [e.g. Stomach ulcers]. These must be taken with food, and again if in any doubt check with your pharmacist.