Boulder Community Health Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

When used appropriately, a combination of hot and cold treatments can provide relief for up to 5 days. This therapy is especially beneficial for injuries from overuse and muscle tears. Also, it reduces the pain and inflammation by dilation of blood vessels. This stimulates a greater flow of blood to the area that is injured. And it can help with joint pain that is chronic. The greatest thing about both treatments is that they can be combined!

Reduces inflammation
When compared to heat therapy cold therapy decreases inflammation and blood flow to the affected area. The cold therapy decreases swelling, while heat therapy boosts blood flow and pulls in more nutrients. Because of its soothing effects on joints the heat therapy is especially effective in pain management. Which therapy should you choose to relieve your pain? Here are some ideas. Also, be sure to check out our helpful chart. Let’s examine how heat and cold therapy can work together.

Ice therapy can be very efficient in reducing inflammation and swelling. Ice therapy can also reduce swelling and inflammation. It can also trigger a numbing effect that slows down the brain’s pain signals. There are a variety of effective cold therapy options, such as cold baths, homemade cold packs, and a chemical cold pack. Similar to heat therapy, it is important to adhere to the correct protocol and limit the duration of cold exposure. Don’t leave the ice pack on the skin for more than 20 mins because this could cause irritation and hives.

Swelling is decreased
While cold therapy is effective to reduce swelling, it comes with certain limitations. This therapy is not recommended for those suffering from chronic injuries. Additionally, cold therapy should not be used on wounds that are open and is not recommended for individuals who suffer from neuropathic or circulatory issues. Patients with infections should consult their doctor before applying cold therapy. The cold therapy should be applied to the affected areas only during the early stages of the pain.

Doctors suggest that you first apply ice to decrease swelling and then apply heat to ease discomfort. Heat therapy increases blood flow and warms muscles before you can begin your activity. Cold therapy, on other side, reduces blood flow and reduces swelling. For the most effective relief, patients should wrap the affected area in a thin towel. To get the best results, cold therapy should be applied for a minimum of 15 minutes at least once a day.

Reduces pain
It’s dependent on the type and severity of the injury, which treatment is more effective in alleviating pain. Heat is generally the best alternative for pain that’s acute, such as a muscle strain, and cold therapy is advised when pain is chronic, like a long-standing joint pain. There is no best or worst treatment. Most people who suffer from joint pain may benefit from cold therapy.

Cryotherapy, or cold therapy, is used to reduce the pain caused by inflammation and swelling. It slows the deterioration of tissues by inhibiting nerve activity. Particularly, it numbs muscles that are in pain and reduces nerve activity. It reduces inflammation and swelling by decreasing nerve activity. However cold therapy isn’t appropriate for everyone particularly pregnant women. Cold therapy is more beneficial for those suffering from severe injuries because it causes the body to react differently to heat.

Inflammation is reduced
Cold therapy is a method to treat a variety health conditions. Cold therapy decreases inflammation by constricting blood vessels in muscles, which decreases blood flow. Furthermore, cold therapy decreases pain signal transmission via the brain. Cold therapy methods include homemade ice packs as well as chemical cold packs. As with heat therapy, cold therapy should be restricted to the recommended duration. Exposure to cold for too long can cause ice burns or hives.

Both cold and hot therapy have their advantages, however, they can also cause side effects. Cold therapy is more effective for injuries that are acute, which are due to decreased blood flow. Heat therapy increases blood flow, reduces swelling, inflammation, and improves circulation. It also has a psychological calming effect making it a suitable option for chronic pain management. However, cold therapy is not as efficient for long-term pain control.