Dr Bernstein Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

If used correctly the combination of hot and cold therapy can ease pain for up to five working days. This therapy is particularly effective for overuse injuries and tears to muscles. Also, it reduces inflammation and pain through dilation of blood vessels. This stimulates a greater flow of blood to the injured area. It also helps with chronic joint pain. The best part is that both kinds of therapy can be used together!

Reduces inflammation
Cold therapy is more effective than heat therapy when it comes to decreasing blood flow and inflammation to the affected areas. The cold therapy decreases swelling, while the heat therapy boosts blood flow and draws in more nutrients. It is especially efficient in pain management due to its soothing effects on the joints. But which method should you select to ease your discomfort? Here are some suggestions. Take a look at our helpful chart. Let’s look at how heat and cold therapy can work together.

Ice therapy can be very efficient in reducing inflammation and swelling. It also produces an numbing effect, which slows down the brain’s signaling for pain. There are numerous effective cold therapy options, such as cold baths, homemade packs, and chemical cold pack. It is important to follow the same guidelines as heat therapy and limit exposure to cold. Don’t leave the ice pack on your skin for more than 20 minutes as this can result in ice burns and hives.

Swelling is lessened
While cold therapy can be effective in helping reduce swelling, it has certain limitations. This method should not be used on those suffering from chronic injuries. In addition cold therapy should not be applied on open wounds and is not recommended for patients with circulatory or neuropathic conditions. Furthermore, patients suffering from infections should consult their physician prior applying this therapy. Cold therapy should be applied on the affected areas only in the beginning stages of pain.

Doctors recommend that you first apply ice to lessen swelling and then apply heat to ease discomfort. Heat therapy boosts blood flow and helps warm muscles before you can start your workout. Cold therapy however slows blood flow and reduces swelling and pain. Wrap the affected area with a towel to provide the most effective relief. It is recommended to use cold therapy for at least 15-20 minutes several times per day for the best results.

Reduces pain
Depending on the kind of injury, cold or hot therapy is the most effective method for decreasing pain. In general, heat is the best treatment for pain that is acute, such as a muscle sprain, and cold therapy is advised for pain that is chronic such as chronic joint pain. There is no one best or worst treatment. The majority of people suffering from joint pain can benefit from cold therapy.

Cryotherapy, or cold therapy is used to ease pain caused by inflammation and swelling. It helps to reduce the damage to tissues by inhibiting nerve activity. Particularly, it numbs muscles that are in pain and reduces nerve activity. It reduces swelling and inflammation by decreasing nerve activity. It is not recommended for everyone, especially pregnant women and children. Cold therapy is better 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 ailments. Cold therapy decreases inflammation by reducing blood vessels in muscles, which reduces blood flow. In addition, cold therapy can reduce pain signal transmission by the brain. Methods for cold therapy include homemade ice packs and chemical cold packs. Like heat therapy cold therapy should be limited to the recommended duration. If exposed to cold for too long can result in ice burns and hives.

Both cold and hot therapy have their advantages, but both have negative side effects. Acute injuries are more likely to be treated using cold therapy because of the lower blood flow. Heat therapy increases blood flow, reduces swelling, inflammation and improves circulation. It also has a psychologically calming effect on the sufferer, making it a good choice to manage chronic pain. However cold therapy isn’t as efficient for long-term pain management.