Blacksburg Center For Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

If properly used when done correctly, a combination of heat and cold therapy can provide relief for three to five working days. This therapy is particularly effective for muscle tears and overuse injuries. Cold therapy also reduces inflammation and pain by dilation of blood vessels. It helps speed up the flow of blood to the area that has been injured. It can also assist with chronic joint pain. The most beneficial thing is that both forms of therapy can be used together!

Inflammation is lessened
Cold therapy is more effective than heat therapy in decreasing blood flow and inflammation to the affected areas. The cold therapy reduces swelling, while the heat therapy boosts blood flow and draws in more nutrients. Because of its calming effects on joints it is especially effective in pain management. Which one of the therapies should you choose to ease discomfort? Here are some helpful suggestions. Be sure to read our helpful chart. Let’s look at how heat and cold therapy interact.

Ice therapy can be effective in reducing inflammation as well as swelling. It also produces a numbing effect and slows down the brain’s signaling for pain. There are many effective cold therapy options, including ice baths, homemade cold packs, and chemical cold pack. Like with heat therapy, it is important to follow the proper protocol and limit the duration of exposure to cold. Don’t leave the ice pack on the skin for more than 20 mins since this can lead to ice burns and hives.

Swelling is reduced
While cold therapy can help reduce swelling, there are certain limitations. People suffering from chronic injuries should avoid this method. In addition cold therapy should not be applied on wounds that are open and is not recommended for people who suffer from neuropathic or circulatory issues. Patients with infections should consult with their doctor before applying cold therapy. The cold therapy should be applied on the affected areas only in the early stages of pain.

Doctors suggest that you apply ice to help reduce swelling and then use heat to ease pain. The heat therapy improves blood flow and warms muscles before you begin your exercise. Cold therapy on the other hand can slow blood flow and decreases swelling and pain. To get the most effective relief, patients should wrap the affected area with a soft towel. The use of cold therapy should be done for at minimum 15 minutes multiple times per day to get the most effective results.

Reduces pain
Depending on the nature of injury, cold or heat therapy is most effective for decreasing pain. For acute pain, such as the result of a muscle strain, heat is the best treatment. Cold therapy is recommended for chronic pain, such long-term joint pain. However, there is no hard and fast rule for which is more efficient. A majority of people who suffer from joint pain will benefit from cold therapy.

Cryotherapy, or cold therapy is used to ease the pain caused by inflammation and swelling. It reduces tissue damage by blocking nerve activity. It numbs muscles , and reduces nerve activity. It also reduces swelling and inflammation by decreasing nerve activity. However cold therapy is not appropriate for everyone, especially children and pregnant women. Cold therapy is better for those suffering from severe injuries, as it causes the body to react differently to heat.

Lowers inflammation
When used for a variety of health conditions cold therapy can reduce swelling and pain. It reduces inflammation by reducing the blood vessels of muscles, which slows down the flow of blood. Also, cold therapy reduces pain signal transmission by your brain. Cold therapy techniques include homemade ice packs as well as chemical cold packs. Like heat therapy, cold therapy should be restricted to the recommended time frame. Being exposed to cold for too long may result in ice burns as well as itching.

Both cold and hot therapy have advantages, but they also have negative effects. Cold therapy is more effective in treating acute injuries which result from diminished blood flow. Heating therapy increases blood flow and reduces inflammation, swelling and improves circulation. It also has a psychologically calming impact on the patient, which makes it a great option for chronic pain management. Cold therapy is not as effective in long-term pain management.