Johns Hopkins Pain Management Center

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

When properly used If used properly, a combination of heat and cold therapies can offer relief for up to five days. This therapy is particularly beneficial for muscle tears and injuries sustained from overuse. Cold therapy can reduce inflammation and pain by dilatation of blood vessels. It promotes faster blood flow to the area injured. It also helps with chronic joint pain. The great thing about both therapies is that they can be combined!

Reduces inflammation
Cold therapy is more efficient than heat therapy at decreasing blood flow and inflammation to the affected areas. The cold therapy lessens swelling while heating therapy increases blood flow and pulls in more nutrients. It is especially efficient in managing pain due to its calming effects on joints. What therapy should you pick to ease discomfort? Here are some helpful suggestions. Be sure to look over our helpful chart. Let’s look at how heat and cold therapy interact.

Ice therapy can be very effective at reducing inflammation and swelling. Ice therapy can also reduce inflammation and swelling. It can also produce an numbing effect that can slow down the brain’s pain signals. The most effective cold therapies include ice baths, homemade ice packs, and cold packs made of chemicals. Just like with heat therapy, you should adhere to the right procedure and limit the time of exposure to cold. Don’t leave the ice pack on your skin for more than 20 minutes because this could cause the skin to burn and cause hives.

Swelling is lessened
While cold therapy may reduce swelling, it has some limitations. It should not be utilized on patients suffering from chronic injuries. Cold therapy is not recommended for open wounds and should not be recommended for those with circulatory or neuropathy issues. Patients suffering from infections should consult with their physician prior to using this therapy. Cold therapy should be applied only on the areas affected in the initial stages of pain.

In general, doctors recommend applying ice to reduce swelling, then applying heat to alleviate discomfort. The heat therapy improves blood flow and warms muscles prior to you begin your exercise. Cold therapy, on other side, reduces blood flow and reduces swelling. For the most effective relief, patients should wrap the affected area with a light towel. Cold therapy should be used for at least 15-20 minutes at a time to obtain the best results.

Reduces pain
Depending on the type of injury, heat or cold therapy can be the most effective in reducing pain. It is usually the best solution for pain that is acute, like a muscle strain, and cold therapy is recommended when pain is chronic such as a prolonged joint pain. There isn’t any definitive and absolute rule of thumb for which is more effective. Cold therapy is beneficial for many people who suffer from joint pain.

Cryotherapy, or cold therapy is used to ease the pain caused by inflammation and swelling. It reduces tissue damage by blocking nerve activity. It reduces muscle numbness and nerve activity. It also reduces swelling and inflammation by reducing nerve activity. However cold therapy is not suitable for all people including pregnant women. It is recommended to use cold therapy for severe pain from injuries because it causes the body to respond differently to heat.

Lowers inflammation
When applied to various health issues, cold therapy can help reduce swelling and pain. The cold therapy helps reduce inflammation by constricting blood vessels in muscles, which reduces blood flow. Additionally, cold therapy reduces pain signal transmission by the brain. There are two kinds of cold therapy such as homemade ice packs and chemical cold packs. As with heat therapy, cold therapy should be restricted to the recommended duration. If exposed to cold for too long can result in ice burns and hives.

Both cold and hot therapy have their advantages, but they have negative side effects. Acute injuries are more likely to be treated using cold therapy due to the decreased blood flow. Heating therapy increases blood flow and reduces inflammation, swelling, and improves circulation. It also has a calming psychological impact on the patient, making it a good choice to manage chronic pain. However cold therapy isn’t as effective for long-term pain management.