Dr David Bryce Advanced Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

If done correctly when done correctly, a combination of heat and cold therapy can offer relief for up to five days. This therapy is particularly efficient for muscle tears and overuse injuries. 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 thing about both treatments is that they can be combined!

Reduces inflammation
When compared to heat therapy cold therapy decreases inflammation and blood flow to the affected area. The cold therapy lessens swelling, while heat therapy boosts blood flow and draws in more nutrients. It is especially efficient in managing pain because of its soothing effects on the joints. But which treatment is best for your pain? Here are some suggestions. Check out our helpful chart. Let’s discuss how cold and heat therapy interact.

Ice therapy can be effective in reducing inflammation and swelling. It also produces an numbing effect, which slows down the brain’s signals for pain. There are numerous effective cold therapy options, including ice baths, homemade cold packs, and chemical cold packs. Just like with the use of heat therapy, you must adhere to the appropriate protocol and limit the duration of exposure to cold. Do not leave the ice pack on the skin for more than 20 minutes since this can lead to irritation and hives.

Reduces swelling
While cold therapy can be effective in helping reduce swelling, it comes with certain limitations. Patients who suffer from chronic injuries should not use this treatment. Cold therapy should not be used for open injuries and should not be considered for those with circulatory or neuropathy disorders. Furthermore, patients who suffer from infections should consult their physician prior using this therapy. Cold therapy should also be applied to the affected areas only in the early stages of the pain.

In general, doctors recommend applying ice to reduce swelling, and then applying heat to alleviate discomfort. Heating therapy increases blood flow and warms muscles prior to you start your activity. Cold therapy however slows blood flow and decreases swelling and pain. Cover the area affected with a towel to provide the best relief. It is recommended to use cold therapy for at minimum 15 minutes, alternating between each day to get the most effective results.

Reduces pain
It’s dependent on the type and severity of the injury which treatment is more efficient in relieving pain. For acute pain, like an injury to a muscle, heat is the best treatment. Cold therapy is recommended for chronic painsuch as long-term joint pain. There isn’t any one best or worst treatment. Cold therapy is beneficial to most people suffering from joint pain.

Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, is used to reduce inflammation and swelling. It slows the deterioration of tissues by inhibiting nerve activity. It specifically numbs sore muscle tissue and reduces nerve activity. It also reduces inflammation and swelling by decreasing nerve activity. However cold therapy is not suitable for all people particularly pregnant women. Because cold therapy causes the body to respond differently to heat, it is recommended for those who suffer from intense pain from an injury.

Inflammation is reduced
If used to treat a variety of health conditions, cold therapy can help reduce pain and swelling. The cold therapy helps reduce inflammation by constricting blood vessels in muscles, which decreases blood flow. Moreover, cold therapy lowers pain signal transmission through the brain. Methods for cold therapy include homemade ice packs and chemical cold packs. As with heat therapy, cold therapy should be limited to the recommended time frame. Long-term exposure to cold can result in ice burns or hives.

While both heat and cold therapy have advantages but they have distinct adverse effects. Cold therapy is more effective in treating acute injuries caused by lower blood flow. Heat therapy increases blood flow and reduces inflammation, swelling and improves circulation. It also has a psychologically relaxing effect on the sufferer which makes it a great option to manage chronic pain. Cold therapy isn’t as effective for long-term pain management.