Dr Melinda Lawrence Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

If used correctly the combination of hot and cold therapy may provide relief for up to five working days. This therapy is particularly beneficial for muscle tears and injuries from overuse. Cold therapy also reduces inflammation and pain by dilation of blood vessels. It promotes faster blood flow to the area that is injured. It can also assist with chronic joint pain. The best thing about both treatments is that they can be combined!

Inflammation is lessened
Compared to heat therapy, cold therapy decreases inflammation and blood flow to the affected area. The cold therapy decreases swelling, while the heating therapy increases blood flow and draws in more nutrients. Because of its soothing effects on joints heating therapy is particularly efficient in pain management. Which therapy should you choose to ease discomfort? Here are some helpful suggestions. Take a look at our helpful chart. Let’s explore how heat and cold therapy can work together.

Ice therapy can be very efficient in reducing inflammation and swelling. It also creates the sensation of numbness and reduces pain signals to the brain. There are a variety of effective cold therapies available, such as the use of ice baths, homemade packs, and a chemical cold packs. You should follow the same protocol as heat therapy and limit cold exposure. It is not recommended to leave the ice pack on your skin for longer than 20 mins since this could lead to burning or hives.

Swelling is reduced
Although cold therapy can help reduce swelling, it comes with certain limitations. It should not be used on patients with chronic injuries. Cold therapy should not be used for open injuries and should not be used for those suffering from circulatory or neuropathy issues. 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 initial stages of the pain.

Doctors recommend that you apply ice to decrease swelling and then heat to ease discomfort. Heat therapy improves blood flow and helps warm muscles prior activities. Cold therapy however, slows blood flow and decreases swelling and pain. Wrap the affected area with towels to provide the best relief. The use of cold therapy should be done for at minimum 15 minutes at a time for the best results.

Reduces pain
It is contingent on the nature and extent of the injury which treatment is more effective in relieving pain. For acute pain, like the result of a muscle strain it is recommended to use heat as the most effective treatment. Cold therapy is suggested for chronic painsuch as long-term joint pain. However, there is no hard and fast rule for which is more efficient. Cold therapy is beneficial for those suffering from joint pain.

The practice of cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, is used to reduce pain caused by inflammation and swelling. It reduces the damage to tissues by inhibiting nerve activity. Specifically, it numbs muscles that are painful and reduces nerve activity. It reduces swelling and inflammation by decreasing nerve activity. However cold therapy is not suitable for all people including pregnant women. Cold therapy is better for severe pain from injuries, as it causes the body to react differently to heat.

Inflammation is lessened
Cold therapy is a method to treat a variety health conditions. Cold therapy reduces inflammation by reducing blood vessels in muscles, which decreases blood flow. Cold therapy also reduces the transmission of pain signals to your brain. There are two types of cold therapy such as homemade ice packs and chemical cold packs. Like heat therapy, cold therapy should be restricted to the recommended duration. If exposed to cold for too long may cause ice burns or hives.

Both cold and warm therapy have their advantages, but both have negative effects. Injuries that are acute are more likely to be treated with cold therapy because of the reduced blood flow. Heating therapy increases blood flow, reduces swelling, inflammation, and improves circulation. It can also have a psychological calming effect making it a suitable option for pain management in chronic situations. However, cold therapy is not as effective for long-term pain management.