Dr Potter Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

If done correctly, a combination hot and cold therapy can ease pain for three to five working days. This therapy is especially beneficial for injuries from overuse and tears to muscles. Cold therapy reduces inflammation and pain through dilatation blood vessels. This increases the flow of blood to the injured area. It can also aid in treating chronic joint pain. The most appealing thing is that both forms of therapy can be used in conjunction!

Reduces inflammation
In comparison to heat therapy, cold therapy lessens inflammation and blood flow to the affected region. The cold therapy decreases swelling, while the heat therapy improves blood flow and draws in more nutrients. It is especially beneficial in pain relief because of its soothing effects on joints. Which therapy should you choose to alleviate your pain? Here are some helpful suggestions. Take a look at our chart for help. Let’s explore how heat and cold therapy can work together.

Ice therapy is effective at reducing inflammation and swelling. Ice therapy also helps reduce inflammation and swelling. It also can cause a numbing effect that slows down the brain’s pain signals. Effective cold therapy methods include ice baths homemade ice packs and chemical cold packs. Follow the same protocol as heat therapy and limit cold exposure. Don’t leave the ice pack on the skin for more than 20 minutes because this could cause the skin to burn and cause hives.

Swelling is reduced
While cold therapy is effective to reduce swelling, it has certain limitations. Patients suffering from chronic injuries should avoid this method. Cold therapy should not be applied to open wounds and should not be recommended for those suffering from circulatory neuropathy conditions. Furthermore, patients suffering from infections should consult their doctor before applying this treatment. Cold therapy should be utilized only on the areas affected in the beginning stages of pain.

In general, doctors suggest applying ice first to reduce swelling, and then applying heat to ease discomfort. Heat therapy boosts blood flow and warms muscles before you can begin your activity. Cold therapy on the other hand slows blood flow and decreases swelling and pain. For the most effective relief, patients should wrap the affected area with a light towel. The cold therapy should be utilized for at least 15-20 minutes, alternating between each day for the best results.

Reduces pain
It depends on the type and severity of the injury which treatment is more effective in alleviating pain. For acute pain, like an injury to a muscle it is recommended to use heat as the most effective treatment. Cold therapy is suggested for chronic pain, like long-term joint pain. There isn’t a exact and definite rule for which one is more effective. Cold therapy is beneficial for many people who suffer from joint pain.

Cryotherapy or cold therapy is used to decrease inflammation and swelling. It helps reduce the damage to tissues by blocking nerve activity. Specifically, it numbs muscles that are in pain and reduces nerve activity. It also reduces swelling and inflammation by decreasing nerve activity. However cold therapy is not appropriate for everyone especially pregnant women. Cold therapy is more beneficial for injuries that cause severe pain because it causes the body to respond differently to heat.

Lowers inflammation
When it is used for various health conditions cold therapy can reduce pain and swelling. Cold therapy reduces inflammation by reducing blood vessels in muscles, thereby reducing blood flow. Furthermore, cold therapy decreases pain signal transmission via the brain. There are two types of cold therapy which include homemade ice packs as well as chemical cold packs. Like heat therapy cold therapy should be limited to the recommended duration. A prolonged exposure to cold may cause the development of hives or ice burns.

Both cold and warm therapy have their advantages, but they have side effects. Cold therapy is more effective in treating acute injuries which result from lower blood flow. Heating therapy can increase blood flow and reduces inflammation and swelling by enhancing circulation. It also has a calming psychological effect on those suffering, making it an ideal choice to manage chronic pain. However, cold therapy is not as efficient for long-term pain control.