Dr Ali Malik Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

If used correctly, a combination hot and cold therapy may provide relief for up to five days. This therapy is particularly beneficial for injuries sustained over time and muscle tears. Also, it reduces the pain and inflammation by dilation of blood vessels. In turn, it increases the flow of blood to the area that is injured. And it can help with chronic joint pain. The most beneficial thing is that both kinds of therapy can be used together!

Reduces inflammation
In comparison to heat therapy, cold therapy decreases inflammation and blood flow to the affected region. The cold therapy decreases swelling, while the heating therapy increases blood flow and draws in more nutrients. Because of its soothing effects on joints, heat therapy is particularly effective in pain management. Which one of the therapies should you choose to alleviate your discomfort? Here are some suggestions. Take a look at our chart for help. Let’s examine how cold and heat therapy interact.

Ice therapy can be very effective at decreasing swelling and inflammation. It also creates the sensation of numbness and reduces messages to the brain that signal pain. There are numerous effective cold therapies available, such as ice baths, homemade cold packs, and chemical cold pack. Like with heat therapy, you should adhere to the right procedure and limit the amount of exposure to cold. You should not leave the ice pack on your skin for longer than 20 minutes as this can lead to ice burns or hives.

Reduces swelling
Although cold therapy can help reduce swelling, it has certain limitations. This therapy should not be used on patients with chronic injuries. Also, 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 suffering from illnesses should consult their physician prior to using cold therapy. Cold therapy can be applied on the affected areas only in the early stages of pain.

Doctors recommend that you apply ice to reduce swelling and then apply heat to relieve pain. The heat therapy increases blood flow and warms up muscles prior to exercise. Cold therapy however slows blood flow and reduces swelling and pain. For the most effective relief, patients should cover the affected area with a thin towel. The use of cold therapy should be done for at least 15-20 minutes at a time to get the most effective results.

Reduces pain
It depends on the type and degree of the injury, which treatment is more efficient in relieving pain. For acute pain, like an injury to a muscle and strain, heat therapy is the most effective treatment. Cold therapy is recommended for chronic painsuch as long-term joint pain. There isn’t a strict and unchanging rule of thumb on which is more effective. Cold therapy is beneficial for those suffering from joint pain.

Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy is used to decrease the pain caused by inflammation and swelling. It slows the damage to tissues by reducing nerve activity. It reduces muscle numbness and nerve activity. It also reduces swelling and inflammation by decreasing nerve activity. However, cold therapy is not suitable for all people especially pregnant women. Cold therapy is a better option for injuries that cause severe pain, as it causes the body to react differently to heat.

Lowers inflammation
When applied to a variety of health conditions, cold therapy can help reduce pain and swelling. It reduces inflammation by constricting the blood vessels of muscles, which restricts the flow of blood. Moreover, cold therapy lowers pain signal transmission via the brain. There are two types of cold therapy such as homemade ice packs and chemical cold packs. The use of cold therapy should be only for the recommended duration as with heat therapy. If exposed to cold for too long may result in ice burns as well as hives.

While both heat and cold therapy are beneficial however, they have distinct adverse effects. Acute injuries are more likely to be treated with cold therapy due to the lower blood flow. Heat therapy aids in increasing blood flow and reduce inflammation and swelling by improving circulation. It can also provide psychological calming effects making it a suitable option for pain management in chronic situations. However, cold therapy is not as efficient for long-term pain control.