Dr Cruciani Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

If properly used the combination of hot and cold therapy can offer relief for three to five days. This therapy is especially beneficial for injuries from overuse and tears to muscles. The cold therapy can also lessen inflammation and pain through dilation of blood vessels. In turn, it stimulates a greater flow of blood to the injured area. And it can help with joint pain that is chronic. The best part about both therapies is that they can be combined!

Reduces inflammation
As opposed to heat therapy cold therapy reduces inflammation and blood flow to the affected area. The cold therapy decreases swelling while heating therapy increases blood flow and pulls in more nutrients. Heating therapy is especially efficient in pain management because of its soothing effects on the joints. But what method should you select to ease your discomfort? Here are some suggestions. Take a look at our helpful chart. Let’s see how heat therapy and cold therapy can work together.

Ice therapy can be very efficient in reducing inflammation and swelling. It also has an numbing effect, which reduces the brain’s signaling for pain. Some effective cold therapy methods include ice baths, homemade ice packs, and cold packs made of chemicals. You should follow the same protocol as heat therapy and limit cold exposure. Do not leave the ice pack on the skin for longer than 20 minutes as this can cause irritation and hives.

Swelling is decreased
While cold therapy can effectively reduce swelling, it does have certain limitations. Patients suffering from chronic injuries should not utilize this method. Cold therapy should not be used on open injuries and should not be suggested for patients suffering from circulatory or neuropathy issues. Moreover, patients suffering from infections should consult their doctor before using this therapy. Cold therapy should be applied on the affected areas only during the early stages of pain.

Doctors suggest that you first apply ice to lessen swelling and then heat to relieve pain. The heat therapy increases blood flow and warms muscles prior to activity. Cold therapy on the other hand, slows blood flow and decreases swelling and pain. To get the most effective relief, patients should cover the affected area with a thin towel. For best results, cold therapy should be applied for at least 15-20 minutes several times per day.

Reduces pain
Based on the type of injury, either cold or heat therapy is the most effective method for relieving pain. For acute pain, like a muscle strain, heat is the best treatment. Cold therapy is suggested for chronic pain, like long-term joint pain. There isn’t a single solution that is right or wrong. The majority of people suffering from joint pain may benefit from cold therapy.

Cryotherapy or cold therapy is used to reduce swelling and inflammation. It helps reduce tissue damage by blocking nerve activity. In particular, it numbs the muscles that are painful 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. It is recommended to use cold therapy for severe pain from injuries, as it causes the body to react differently to heat.

Lowers inflammation
When it is used for many health conditions cold therapy can reduce swelling and pain. It lowers inflammation by constricting the blood vessels of muscles, which slows down the flow of blood. Moreover, cold therapy lowers the transmission of pain signals by the brain. There are two types of cold therapy that can be used: homemade ice packs or chemical cold packs. Cold therapy should be used only for the duration recommended as with heat therapy. Being exposed to cold for too long may cause ice burns or itching.

Both cold and warm therapy have their advantages, but they also have adverse effects. Injuries that are acute are more likely to be treated using cold therapy because of the decreased blood flow. The heat therapy improves blood flow and reduces inflammation, swelling and improves circulation. It can also have psychological calming effects which makes it a great option for pain management in chronic situations. However, cold therapy is not as efficient for long-term pain management.