Dr Barrett Johnston Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

If properly used the combination of hot and cold therapy may provide relief for three to five days. This therapy is particularly beneficial for injuries from overuse and muscle tears. Cold therapy also reduces inflammation and pain by dilatation of blood vessels. It helps speed up the flow of blood to the area that is injured. It can also assist with chronic joint pain. The most beneficial thing is that both forms of therapy can be used together!

Reduces inflammation
As opposed to heat therapy cold therapy can reduce inflammation and blood flow to the affected region. The cold therapy decreases swelling and inflammation, while the heating therapy increases blood flow and draws in more nutrients. Heat therapy is especially effective in pain management because of its soothing effects on joints. Which one of the therapies should you choose to relieve your discomfort? Here are some suggestions. Take a look at our chart for help. Let’s look at how heat and cold therapy can work together.

Ice therapy is effective at decreasing swelling and inflammation. Ice therapy can also reduce swelling and inflammation. It can also trigger an numbing effect, which slows down the brain’s pain signals. Some effective cold therapy methods include ice baths homemade ice packs and cold packs made of chemicals. It is important to follow the same protocol as heat therapy and limit exposure to cold. Do not leave the ice pack on the skin for more than 20 minutes since this can lead to ice burns and hives.

Reduces swelling
While cold therapy can help reduce swelling, there are certain limitations. People suffering from chronic injuries should avoid this treatment. Cold therapy is not recommended for open wounds and should not be considered for those suffering from circulatory or neuropathy-related conditions. Patients with ailments should consult with their physician before using cold therapy. The cold therapy should be applied to the affected areas only during the early stages of the pain.

Doctors recommend that you apply ice to reduce swelling and then heat to ease pain. Heat therapy increases blood flow and helps warm muscles before you start your activity. Cold therapy, on other hand, decreases blood flow and reduces swelling. Cover the area affected with a towel to give the most effective relief. The use of cold therapy should be done for at least 15-20 minutes at a time to achieve the best results.

Reduces pain
Based on the type of injury, heat or cold therapy can be the most effective in decreasing pain. It is usually the best alternative for pain that’s acute, such as a muscle sprain, and cold therapy is advised for pain that is persistent or has been causing joint pain. There is no best or worst treatment. A majority of people who suffer from joint pain will benefit from cold therapy.

Cryotherapy, or cold therapy is used to ease the pain and inflammation caused by inflammation and swelling. It reduces the damage to tissues by blocking nerve activity. It specifically numbs muscles that are injured and decreases nerve activity. It also reduces swelling and inflammation by reducing nerve activity. It is not suitable for everyone, especially pregnant women and children. Because cold therapy causes the body to react differently to heat, it is recommended for those suffering from extreme pain due to an injury.

Lowers inflammation
If used to treat various health issues cold therapy can reduce pain and swelling. It lowers inflammation by reducing the blood vessels of muscles, which slows down the flow of blood. Cold therapy also reduces pain signal transmission through your brain. There are two types of cold therapy that can be used: homemade ice packs or 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 could lead to ice burns and hives.

Both cold and heat therapy have advantages, but they have adverse effects. Acute injuries are more likely to be treated using cold therapy due to the diminished blood flow. The heat therapy improves blood flow and reduces inflammation, swelling, and improves circulation. It also has a psychologically calming effect on the sufferer, making it a great choice for chronic pain management. However cold therapy isn’t as effective for long-term pain relief.