Atrium Health Cabarrus Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

If used correctly, a combination hot and cold therapy can provide relief for three to five working days. This therapy is particularly efficient for injuries that have been sustained from overuse or tears in muscles. It also reduces inflammation and pain through dilation of blood vessels. It improves blood flow to the area that has been injured. It also helps with chronic joint pain. The greatest thing is that both types of therapy can be used in conjunction!

Inflammation is lessened
Cold therapy is more efficient than heat therapy at the reduction of inflammation and blood flow to the affected areas. The cold therapy decreases swelling and heat therapy improves blood flow and draws in more nutrients. Because of its calming effects on joints heating therapy is particularly efficient in pain management. Which treatment should you select to ease pain? Here are some suggestions. Be sure you check out our chart of helpful information. Let’s take a look at how heat and cold therapy interact.

Ice therapy can be extremely effective in reducing inflammation as well as swelling. Ice therapy also helps reduce swelling and inflammation. It can also trigger the sensation of numbness that slows down the brain’s pain signals. The most effective cold therapy techniques include ice baths homemade ice packs and cold packs made of chemicals. Just like with the use of heat therapy, you must follow the proper procedure and limit the time of exposure to cold. It is not recommended to leave the cold pack on your skin for longer than 20 minutes as it could result in Hives or ice burns.

Swelling is decreased
Although cold therapy can help reduce swelling, it does have certain limitations. Patients who suffer from chronic injuries should not utilize this method. Cold therapy should not be used for open wounds and should not be recommended for those with circulatory or neuropathy conditions. Patients with infections should consult their doctor before applying cold therapy. Cold therapy can be applied on the affected areas only in the beginning stages of the pain.

In general, doctors suggest applying ice to reduce swelling, and then applying heat to alleviate pain. Heating therapy increases blood flow and helps warm muscles before you begin your exercise. Cold therapy however, slows blood flow and decreases swelling and pain. For the most effective relief, patients should wrap the affected area with a soft towel. The cold therapy should be utilized for at minimum 15 minutes, alternating between each day for the best results.

Reduces pain
Depending on the kind of injury, cold or hot therapy is the most effective method for alleviating pain. For acute pain, such as an injury to a muscle and strain, heat therapy is the most effective treatment. Cold therapy is suggested for chronic pain, such long-term joint pain. However, there is no hard and fast rule for which one is more effective. Most people who suffer from joint pain can benefit from cold therapy.

Cryotherapy, or cold therapy is used to ease pain caused by inflammation and swelling. It slows the damage to tissues by inhibiting nerve activity. It numbs muscles and decreases nerve activity. It reduces swelling and inflammation by reducing nerve activity. Cold therapy is not recommended for everyone, especially pregnant women and children. Because cold therapy causes the body to respond differently to heat, it is recommended for those who are suffering from intense pain from an injury.

Inflammation is lessened
Cold therapy is a method to treat a range of health conditions. The cold therapy helps reduce inflammation by reducing blood vessels in muscles, thereby reducing blood flow. Also, cold therapy reduces pain signal transmission through your brain. Methods for cold therapy include homemade ice packs as well as chemical cold packs. As with heat therapy, cold therapy should be restricted to the recommended duration. Exposed to cold for too long may result in ice burns and hives.

While both heat and cold therapy have benefits, they have different side effects. Cold therapy is more effective for acute injuries which result from decreased blood flow. Heat therapy helps increase blood flow and reduces swelling and inflammation by improving circulation. It can also have a psychological calming effect making it a suitable option for pain management in chronic situations. However cold therapy isn’t as effective for long-term pain management.