Dr Barrow Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

If used correctly, a combination of hot and cold therapies can offer relief for up to five days. This therapy is particularly effective for muscle tears and injuries from overuse. Cold therapy can reduce inflammation and pain by dilatation of blood vessels. This stimulates a greater flow of blood to the injured area. It also helps with chronic joint pain. The best part about both treatments is that they can be combined!

Inflammation is reduced
Compared to heat therapy, cold therapy decreases inflammation and blood flow to the affected region. The cold therapy decreases swelling, while the heat therapy improves blood flow and draws in more nutrients. Heating therapy is especially beneficial in pain relief 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 helpful chart. Let’s examine how heat and cold therapy work together.

Ice therapy can be extremely effective in reducing inflammation as well as swelling. It also creates an numbing effect that slows down the brain’s signaling for pain. The most effective cold therapies include ice baths homemade ice packs and cold packs made of chemicals. It is recommended to follow the same procedure as heat therapy and limit cold exposure. Don’t leave the ice pack on your skin for more than 20 mins because this could cause the skin to burn and cause hives.

Reduces swelling
Although cold therapy can reduce swelling, it has some limitations. Patients suffering from chronic injuries should avoid this method. In addition, cold therapy should not be used on open wounds and is not recommended for patients suffering from neuropathic and circulatory disorders. Patients with illnesses should consult their physician prior to applying cold therapy. The use of cold therapy should be done only on the affected areas in the initial stages of pain.

In general, doctors suggest applying ice to reduce swelling, and then applying heat to relieve discomfort. Heat therapy increases blood flow and warms muscles before you can start your workout. Cold therapy however, slows blood flow and decreases swelling and pain. Wrap the affected area with a towel to provide the most effective relief. Cold therapy should be used for at minimum 15 minutes multiple times per day to achieve the best results.

Reduces pain
It’s based on the type and severity of the injury which treatment is more effective in relieving pain. The most effective method is heat. alternative for pain that’s acute, like a muscle strain, and cold therapy is advised for pain that is persistent, like a long-standing joint pain. There isn’t any one correct or incorrect treatment. Many people suffering from joint pain may benefit from cold therapy.

Cryotherapy or cold therapy is used to reduce swelling and inflammation. It reduces tissue damage by blocking nerve activity. It specifically numbs sore muscle tissue and reduces nerve activity. It also reduces inflammation and swelling by decreasing nerve activity. It is not suitable for everyone, especially pregnant women and children. Cold therapy is better for severe pain from injuries because it causes the body to react differently to heat.

Inflammation is lessened
When it is used for a variety of health conditions cold therapy can reduce swelling and pain. It lowers inflammation by reducing the blood vessels in muscles, which reduces the flow of blood. Cold therapy also reduces pain signal transmission by your brain. There are two types of cold therapy which 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 can result in ice burns as well as itching.

Both heat and cold therapy have their advantages, but both have negative effects. Acute injuries are more likely to be treated using cold therapy due to the reduced blood flow. Heat therapy aids in increasing blood flow and reduces inflammation and swelling by enhancing circulation. It also has a psychologically calming effect on those suffering, making it a good choice for pain management that is ongoing. However, cold therapy is not as effective for long-term pain relief.