Dr Stuart Kahn Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

When properly used, a combination of hot and cold therapies can ease pain for three to five days. This therapy is particularly efficient for muscle tears and injuries from overuse. Cold therapy also reduces inflammation and pain by dilatation of blood vessels. It increases the flow of blood to the area injured. Additionally, it can ease chronic joint pain. The best part about both therapies is that they can be combined!

Inflammation is reduced
As opposed to heat therapy cold therapy lessens inflammation and blood flow to the affected area. The cold therapy helps reduce swelling and inflammation, while the heating therapy increases blood flow and draws in more nutrients. Heat therapy is especially efficient in pain management due to its soothing effects on the joints. But which therapy should you use to ease your pain? Here are some suggestions. Check out our helpful chart. Let’s see how heat therapy and cold therapy work together.

Ice therapy can be very effective in reducing inflammation as well as swelling. It can also reduce inflammation and swelling. It also can cause an numbing effect that can slow down the brain’s pain signals. There are a variety of effective cold therapy options, such as the use of ice baths, homemade packs, and chemical cold packs. It is important to follow the same procedure as heat therapy and limit exposure to cold. Do not leave the ice pack on your skin for more than 20 minutes as this can result in burns and hives.

Reduces swelling
Although cold therapy is a great way to reduce swelling, it has some limitations. Patients with chronic injuries should not utilize this treatment. Also cold therapy should not be used on open wounds and is not recommended for individuals suffering from neuropathic or circulatory conditions. Moreover, patients suffering from infections must consult with their physician prior to using this therapy. Cold therapy should be used only on the areas affected in the beginning stages of pain.

Doctors recommend that you first apply ice to lessen swelling, and then apply heat to ease discomfort. Heat therapy increases blood flow and warms muscles before you can begin your activity. Cold therapy however, slows blood flow and decreases swelling and pain. For the most effective relief, patients should cover the affected area with a soft towel. For best results cold therapy should be applied for a minimum of 15-20 minutes several times per day.

Reduces pain
Based on the type of injury, cold or hot therapy is the most effective method for reducing pain. For acute pain, like muscles strains, heat is the best treatment. Cold therapy is recommended for chronic painsuch as long-term joint pain. There isn’t any strict and unchanging rule of thumb on which one is more efficient. A majority of people who suffer from joint pain may benefit from cold therapy.

Cryotherapy, or cold therapy is used to decrease pain caused by inflammation and swelling. It helps to reduce the damage to tissues by reducing nerve activity. Particularly, it numbs sore muscle tissue 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. It is recommended to use cold therapy to treat injuries that cause extreme pain because it causes the body to react differently to heat.

Lowers inflammation
If used to treat many health conditions, cold therapy can help reduce swelling and pain. It lowers inflammation by reducing the blood vessels in muscles, which reduces the flow of blood. Also, cold therapy reduces the transmission of pain signals by your brain. There are two types of cold therapy: homemade ice packs or chemical cold packs. The use of cold therapy should be only for the recommended duration similar to heat therapy. Prolonged cold exposure can cause Hives or ice burns.

Both cold and warm therapy have advantages, but both have negative side effects. Acute injuries are more likely to be treated with cold therapy due to the diminished blood flow. The warmth therapy increases blood flow and reduces inflammation, swelling, and improves circulation. It also has a psychological calming effect on the sufferer making it a good choice for pain management that is ongoing. However, cold therapy is not as efficient for long-term pain management.