Dr O’brien Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

If properly used when done correctly, a combination of heat and cold therapy can provide relief for up to five working days. This therapy is particularly beneficial for muscle injuries and overuse injuries. Cold therapy also reduces the pain and inflammation by dilation of blood vessels. It improves blood flow to the area that is injured. It can also assist with chronic joint pain. The best part is that both kinds of therapy can be used together!

Reduces inflammation
Cold therapy is more effective than heat therapy in decreasing blood flow and inflammation to the affected areas. The cold therapy lessens swelling and heating therapy increases blood flow and draws in more nutrients. Heat therapy is especially beneficial in pain relief because of its soothing effects on joints. Which treatment is best to relieve your pain? Here are some tips. Take a look at our helpful chart. Let’s take a look at how heat and cold therapy interact.

Ice therapy can be effective in reducing inflammation as well as swelling. It also creates the sensation of numbness and slows down pain signals to the brain. The most effective cold therapies include ice baths homemade ice packs and cold packs made of chemicals. It is important to follow the same procedures as heat therapy and limit exposure to cold. Don’t leave the ice pack on your skin for longer than 20 minutes because this could cause burns and hives.

Reduces swelling
Although cold therapy can reduce swelling, there are some limitations. Patients with chronic injuries should not utilize this treatment. Additionally cold therapy should not be used on open wounds and is not recommended for people who suffer from neuropathic or circulatory issues. Patients suffering from infections should consult with their doctor before applying cold therapy. Cold therapy can be applied to the affected areas only in the beginning stages of the pain.

Doctors recommend that you apply ice to help reduce swelling, and then apply heat to ease pain. Heat therapy improves blood flow and also warms muscles prior to exercise. Cold therapy on the other hand, slows blood flow and reduces swelling and pain. To get the most effective relief, patients should cover the affected area with a light towel. For better results cold therapy must be applied for at minimum 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 decreasing pain. In general, heat is the best alternative for pain that’s acute, like a muscle strain, and cold therapy is advised for chronic pain such as chronic joint pain. There isn’t a single correct or incorrect treatment. Cold therapy is beneficial for the majority of people suffering from joint pain.

Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy is used to decrease discomfort caused by inflammation as well as swelling. It helps reduce tissue damage by preventing nerve activity. It numbs muscles , and reduces nerve activity. It also reduces swelling and inflammation by reducing nerve activity. However cold therapy is not appropriate for some individuals especially pregnant women. Cold therapy is a better option for injuries that cause severe pain, as it causes the body to respond differently to heat.

Inflammation is lessened
When used for many health conditions cold therapy can reduce pain and swelling. It reduces inflammation by constricting the blood vessels in muscles, which reduces the flow of blood. Furthermore, cold therapy decreases pain signal transmission via the brain. Cold therapy techniques include homemade ice packs and chemical cold packs. The use of cold therapy should be only for the recommended duration as with heat therapy. A prolonged exposure to cold may cause the development of hives or ice burns.

Both cold and heat therapy have their advantages, but both have side effects. Cold therapy is more effective for acute injuries, which are due to decreased blood flow. Heat therapy helps increase blood flow and reduces inflammation and swelling by enhancing circulation. It also has psychological calming effects and is a good option for pain management in chronic situations. Cold therapy is not as effective in long-term pain management.