Dr Vivian Herrero Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

If properly used when done correctly, a combination of heat and cold therapy can ease pain for up to five working days. This therapy is particularly beneficial for muscle injuries and overuse injuries. Cold therapy reduces inflammation and pain through dilatation blood vessels. As a result, it promotes a faster blood flow to the area that is injured. It can also help with joint pain that is chronic. The best thing about both therapies is that they can be combined!

Reduces inflammation
Compared to heat therapy, cold therapy lessens inflammation and blood flow to the affected region. The cold therapy helps reduce swelling, while the heating therapy increases blood flow and draws in more nutrients. Because of its soothing effects on joints, heat therapy is particularly effective in pain management. But which treatment is best to ease your pain? Here are some suggestions. And, make sure to look over our helpful chart. Let’s explore how heat and cold therapy can work together.

Ice therapy is effective in reducing inflammation and swelling. It also creates a numbing effect and slows down messages to the brain that signal pain. Effective cold therapy methods include ice baths, homemade ice packs, and chemical cold packs. Follow the same procedures as heat therapy and limit cold exposure. Don’t leave the ice pack on your skin for more than 20 mins as this can cause irritation and hives.

Reduces swelling
While cold therapy is effective to reduce swelling, it does have certain limitations. This treatment should not be utilized on people who have suffered from chronic injuries. In addition, cold therapy should not be applied on wounds that are open and is not recommended for patients suffering from neuropathic and circulatory disorders. Patients with infections should consult their doctor before applying cold therapy. Cold therapy should also be applied on the affected areas only during the early stages of the pain.

Doctors recommend that you first apply ice to decrease swelling and then use heat to ease discomfort. Heating therapy increases blood flow and warms muscles before you can start your workout. Cold therapy, on other hand, decreases blood flow and reduces swelling. For the most effective relief, patients should cover the affected area in a thin towel. The cold therapy should be utilized for at minimum 15 minutes multiple times per day to obtain the best results.

Reduces pain
Depending on the kind of injury, cold or hot therapy can be the most effective in alleviating pain. In general, heat is the best treatment for pain that is acute, such as an injury to the muscles, and cold therapy is advised for chronic pain such as chronic joint pain. However, there is no hard and fast rule for which one is more effective. A majority of people who suffer from joint pain will benefit from cold therapy.

Cryotherapy or cold therapy is used to decrease inflammation and swelling. It reduces tissue damage by blocking nerve activity. Specifically, it numbs muscles that are injured and decreases nerve activity. It reduces swelling and inflammation by decreasing nerve activity. However cold therapy isn’t appropriate for some individuals, especially children and pregnant women. Because cold therapy causes the body to react differently to heat, it is recommended for those who are suffering from severe pain from an injury.

Inflammation is reduced
Cold therapy can be used to treat a variety of health ailments. The cold therapy helps reduce inflammation by constricting blood vessels in muscles, thereby reducing blood flow. Also, cold therapy reduces the transmission of pain signals by your brain. Cold therapy techniques include homemade ice packs and chemical cold packs. Similar to heat therapy, cold therapy should be limited to the recommended time frame. Being exposed to cold for too long may cause ice burns or hives.

Although both cold and therapy have advantages, they have different negative effects. Injuries that are acute are more likely to be treated with cold therapy because of the decreased blood flow. The heat therapy increases blood flow and reduce inflammation and swelling by improving circulation. It can also provide a psychological calming effect and is a good option to manage chronic pain. However cold therapy isn’t as efficient for long-term pain management.