Dr Gary Thomas Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

If properly utilized when used correctly, a combination of hot and cold therapies can ease pain for up to 5 days. This therapy is particularly beneficial for muscle injuries and overuse injuries. Cold therapy decreases the pain and inflammation through dilation of blood vessels. As a result, it increases the 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
When compared to heat therapy cold therapy decreases inflammation and blood flow to the affected region. The cold therapy helps reduce swelling, while the heat therapy improves blood flow and draws in more nutrients. The use of heat therapy is particularly efficient in pain management due to its soothing effects on the joints. Which one of the therapies should you choose to alleviate your pain? Here are some ideas. Take a look at our chart for help. Let’s explore how heat and cold therapy work together.

Ice therapy can be extremely efficient in reducing inflammation and swelling. It also produces an numbing effect that reduces the brain’s signaling for pain. There are a variety of effective cold therapy optionsavailable, including cold baths, homemade packs, and a chemical cold pack. It is recommended to follow the same procedure 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 burns and hives.

Reduces swelling
While cold therapy can be effective in helping reduce swelling, it has certain limitations. Patients suffering from chronic injuries should not be using this treatment. Additionally cold therapy should not be used on open wounds and is not recommended for patients suffering from neuropathic and circulatory disorders. Patients suffering from ailments should consult with their physician before applying cold therapy. The cold therapy should be applied to the affected areas only in the early stages of the pain.

In general, doctors recommend applying ice at first to reduce swelling, and then applying heat to relieve discomfort. Heat therapy increases blood flow and helps warm muscles before you start your activity. Cold therapy, on the other hand can slow blood flow and reduces swelling and pain. For the most effective relief, patients should cover the affected area in a thin towel. It is recommended to use cold therapy for at least 15-20 minutes multiple times per day to achieve the best results.

Reduces pain
Depending on the type of injury, cold or heat therapy is the most effective method for decreasing pain. Heat is generally the best treatment for pain that is acute, such as an injury to the muscles, and cold therapy is advised for chronic pain, like a long-standing joint pain. There is no right or wrong treatment. Cold therapy is beneficial to the majority of people suffering from joint pain.

The practice of cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, is used to reduce the pain caused by inflammation and swelling. It reduces tissue damage by blocking nerve activity. It numbs muscles and reduces nerve activity. It reduces swelling and inflammation by decreasing nerve activity. Cold therapy is not suitable for everyone, particularly pregnant women and children. Because cold therapy causes the body to react differently to heat, it is recommended for people who are experiencing a severe pain from an injury.

Lowers inflammation
When used for various health issues cold therapy can reduce pain and swelling. The cold therapy helps reduce inflammation by reducing blood vessels in muscles, which decreases blood flow. Additionally, cold therapy reduces pain signal transmission via 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. A prolonged exposure to cold may cause ice burns or hives.

While both heat and cold therapy have their benefits, they have different adverse effects. Injuries that are severe are more likely to be treated using cold therapy because of the diminished blood flow. Heating therapy increases blood flow, reduces swelling, inflammation and improves circulation. It can also provide psychological calming effects and is a good option for pain management that is ongoing. However, cold therapy is not as efficient for long-term pain control.