Dr Gideon Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

If properly used the combination of hot and cold therapy may provide relief for three to five days. This therapy is particularly efficient for muscle tears and injuries sustained from overuse. Cold therapy also reduces inflammation and pain by dilatation of blood vessels. It promotes faster blood flow to the area that is injured. And it can help with chronic joint pain. The best part is that both types of therapy can be combined!

Inflammation is reduced
As opposed to heat therapy cold therapy reduces inflammation and blood flow to the affected area. The cold therapy helps reduce swelling and inflammation, while the warmth therapy increases blood flow and draws in more nutrients. Heat therapy is especially efficient in pain management due to its soothing effects on joints. Which therapy should you choose to ease your pain? Here are some suggestions. Take a look at our chart for help. Let’s look at how heat and cold therapy work together.

Ice therapy can be extremely effective in reducing inflammation and swelling. It also has an numbing effect that slows down the brain’s signals for pain. Some effective cold therapy methods include ice baths, homemade ice packs, and cold packs made of chemicals. Just like with heat therapy, you should follow the proper procedure and limit the amount of exposure to cold. Do not leave the ice pack on your skin for longer than 20 minutes as this can result in the skin to burn and cause hives.

Swelling is decreased
While cold therapy can be effective in helping reduce swelling, it comes with certain limitations. Patients with chronic injuries should not use this treatment. Additionally cold therapy should not be used on wounds that are open and is not recommended for individuals who suffer from neuropathic or circulatory issues. Patients with infections should consult with their doctor prior to applying cold therapy. Cold therapy should be utilized only on the affected areas at the beginning of pain.

Doctors suggest that you apply ice to decrease swelling and then heat to ease discomfort. Heat therapy increases blood flow and warms muscles before you begin your exercise. Cold therapy on the other hand reduces blood flow and decreases swelling and pain. To get the most effective relief, patients should cover the affected area with a thin towel. The cold therapy should be utilized for at least 15-20 minutes, alternating between each day for the best results.

Reduces pain
It’s dependent on the type and severity of the injury which treatment is more effective in alleviating pain. For acute pain, like a muscle strain it is recommended to use heat as the most effective treatment. Cold therapy is recommended for chronic pain, such long-term joint pain. There isn’t a definitive and absolute rule of thumb for which is more effective. Cold therapy is beneficial for the majority of people suffering from joint pain.

Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, is used to reduce swelling and inflammation. It reduces the damage to tissues by reducing nerve activity. Particularly, it numbs muscles that are injured and decreases nerve activity. It also reduces inflammation and swelling by reducing nerve activity. However, cold therapy is not suitable for certain people including pregnant women. Cold therapy is more beneficial for those suffering from severe injuries because it causes the body to react differently to heat.

Inflammation is reduced
When applied to various health issues, cold therapy can help reduce pain and swelling. It lowers inflammation by reducing the blood vessels of muscles, which slows down the flow of blood. It also decreases pain signal transmission by your brain. Cold therapy techniques include homemade ice packs and chemical cold packs. The use of cold therapy should be only for the time period recommended, just like heat therapy. Long-term exposure to cold can result in Hives or ice burns.

Although both cold and heat therapy have benefits but they have distinct negative effects. Cold therapy is more effective for injuries that are acute which result from lower blood flow. Heating therapy increases blood flow, reduces swelling, inflammation and improves circulation. It can also provide psychological calming effects making it a suitable option for chronic pain management. Cold therapy is not as effective for long-term pain management.