Dr Andrew Hong Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

If done correctly, a combination hot and cold therapy may provide relief for up to five days. This therapy is particularly effective for muscle tears and injuries sustained from overuse. Cold therapy also reduces inflammation and pain by dilation of blood vessels. In turn, it stimulates a greater flow of blood to the injured area. It can also aid in treating chronic joint pain. The great thing about both treatments is that they can be combined!

Inflammation is lessened
Cold therapy is more effective than heat therapy in decreasing blood flow and inflammation to the affected areas. The cold therapy helps reduce swelling and inflammation, while the heating therapy increases blood flow and draws in more nutrients. Because of its soothing effects on joints it is especially efficient in managing pain. But which therapy should you use to ease your pain? Here are some suggestions. Take a look at our chart for help. Let’s look at how cold and heat therapy interact.

Ice therapy is efficient in reducing inflammation and swelling. It also produces the sensation of numbness and reduces the brain’s signaling for pain. The most effective cold therapies include ice baths homemade ice packs and cold packs made of chemicals. You should follow the same procedure as heat therapy and limit cold exposure. Don’t leave the ice pack on the skin for longer than 20 minutes as this can cause the skin to burn and cause hives.

Reduces swelling
While cold therapy can help reduce swelling, there are certain limitations. It should not be utilized on patients suffering from chronic injuries. Cold therapy should not be used on open injuries and should not be considered for patients suffering from circulatory or neuropathy conditions. Patients with infections should consult their doctor before using cold therapy. Cold therapy should be utilized only on the areas affected in the initial stages of pain.

In general, doctors suggest applying ice first to decrease swelling, then applying heat to relieve discomfort. Heating therapy improves blood flow and warms up muscles prior activities. Cold therapy on the other hand reduces blood flow and reduces swelling and pain. Cover the affected area with towels to provide the best relief. For better results, cold therapy should be used for at least 15-20 minutes several times per day.

Reduces pain
Depending on the type of injury, either cold or heat therapy is the most effective way of decreasing pain. It is usually the best solution for pain that is acute, like a muscle sprain, and cold therapy is recommended for pain that is persistent such as chronic joint pain. However, there is no strict and unchanging rule of thumb on which is more efficient. Cold therapy is beneficial for the majority of people suffering from joint pain.

The practice of cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy is used to decrease the pain caused by inflammation and swelling. It helps reduce the damage to tissues by blocking nerve activity. It reduces muscle numbness and nerve activity. It also reduces inflammation and swelling by reducing nerve activity. However cold therapy is not appropriate for everyone especially pregnant women. Because cold therapy causes the body to react differently to heat, it is best for those who are suffering from intense pain from an injury.

Inflammation is reduced
When applied to many health conditions, cold therapy can help reduce swelling and pain. It lowers inflammation by reducing the blood vessels in muscles, which reduces the flow of blood. In addition, cold therapy can reduce the transmission of pain signals by the brain. Cold therapy methods include homemade ice packs as well as chemical cold packs. Similar to heat therapy, cold therapy should be limited to the recommended time frame. If exposed to cold for too long could cause ice burns or hives.

Although both cold and therapy have their benefits However, they come with different negative effects. Cold therapy is more effective in treating acute injuries that result from decreased blood flow. The warmth therapy increases blood flow, reduces swelling, inflammation and improves circulation. It also has a calming psychological effect on the sufferer which makes it a great option for chronic pain management. Cold therapy is not as effective in long-term pain management.