Dr Todd Graham Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

When used appropriately, a combination of hot and cold therapies can ease pain for three to five days. This therapy is particularly beneficial for muscle tears and injuries from overuse. The cold therapy can also lessen inflammation and pain by dilation of blood vessels. It improves blood flow to the area injured. It can also assist with chronic joint pain. The best thing about both therapies is that they can be combined!

Inflammation is lessened
Cold therapy is more effective than heat therapy when it comes to decreasing inflammation and blood flow to the affected areas. The cold therapy helps reduce swelling and increases blood flow. The heat therapy improves blood flow and draws in more nutrients. Heat therapy is especially beneficial in pain relief due to its soothing effects on the joints. But what therapy should you use to ease your pain? Here are some tips. And, make sure to look over our chart of helpful information. Let’s see how heat therapy and cold therapy can work together.

Ice therapy is effective in reducing inflammation as well as swelling. It also has an numbing effect, which reduces the brain’s signals for pain. Some effective cold therapy methods include ice baths homemade ice packs and cold packs made of chemicals. You should follow the same guidelines as heat therapy and limit cold exposure. Don’t leave the ice pack on the skin for more than 20 mins because this could cause burns and hives.

Swelling is reduced
While cold therapy is effective to reduce swelling, it does have certain limitations. Patients who suffer from chronic injuries should not utilize this method. In addition cold therapy should not be used on wounds that are open and is not recommended for those suffering from neuropathic and circulatory disorders. Additionally, those suffering from infections should consult their physician prior applying this treatment. Cold therapy should be applied on the affected areas only in the beginning stages of the pain.

Doctors recommend that you apply ice to reduce swelling and then apply heat to relieve discomfort. Heat therapy improves blood flow and warms up muscles prior activities. Cold therapy on the other hand, slows blood flow and reduces swelling and pain. Wrap the affected area with a towel to provide the most effective relief. The cold therapy should be utilized for at minimum 15 minutes, alternating between each day to get the most effective results.

Reduces pain
It’s based on the type and extent of the injury which treatment is more effective in relieving pain. In general, heat is the best alternative for pain that’s acute, such as an injury to the muscle, while cold therapy is recommended for chronic pain such as chronic joint pain. However, there is no exact and definite rule for which one is more effective. Cold therapy is beneficial to most people suffering from joint pain.

Cryotherapy or cold therapy is used to reduce swelling and inflammation. It reduces the damage to tissues by reducing nerve activity. In particular, it numbs the muscles that are in pain and reduces nerve activity. It also reduces inflammation and swelling by decreasing nerve activity. It is not suitable for everyone, particularly pregnant women and children. Cold therapy is better for those suffering from severe injuries because it causes the body to respond differently to heat.

Inflammation is reduced
If used to treat many health conditions cold therapy can reduce swelling and pain. Cold therapy decreases inflammation by reducing blood vessels in muscles, which can reduce blood flow. Moreover, cold therapy lowers pain signal transmission through the brain. Cold therapy methods include homemade ice packs and chemical cold packs. Like heat therapy, cold therapy should be restricted to the recommended time frame. Long-term exposure to cold can result in an increase in hives or iceburns.

Both cold and heat therapy have their advantages, but they have side effects. Injuries that are acute are more likely to be treated using cold therapy because of the lower blood flow. Heating therapy increases blood flow, reduces swelling, inflammation, and improves circulation. It can also provide psychological effects that calm and is a good option to manage chronic pain. Cold therapy isn’t as effective in long-term pain management.