Mn Institute For Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

If properly used the combination of hot and cold therapy can ease pain for up to five working days. This therapy is particularly efficient for injuries that have been sustained from overuse or muscle tears. The cold therapy can also lessen the pain and inflammation by dilation of blood vessels. As a result, it promotes a faster blood flow to the area that is injured. And it can help with chronic joint pain. The best part is that both kinds of therapy can be used together!

Inflammation is lessened
Cold therapy is more efficient than heat therapy at decreasing inflammation and blood flow to the affected areas. The cold therapy reduces swelling, while heat therapy boosts blood flow and pulls in more nutrients. Heat therapy is especially efficient in managing pain because of its calming effects on joints. Which therapy should you choose to ease your discomfort? Here are some ideas. Make sure to read our chart of helpful information. Let’s take a look at how heat and cold therapy interact.

Ice therapy can be efficient in reducing inflammation and swelling. It also has the sensation of numbness and slows down pain signals to the brain. There are numerous effective cold therapy options, such as cold baths, homemade packs, and a chemical cold pack. Follow the same guidelines as heat therapy and limit exposure to cold. Don’t leave the ice pack on your skin for longer than 20 minutes since this can lead to irritation and hives.

Swelling is decreased
While cold therapy can effectively reduce swelling, it has certain limitations. Patients suffering from chronic injuries should avoid this treatment. Cold therapy should not be used for open injuries and should not be used for those suffering from circulatory neuropathy issues. Furthermore, patients who suffer from infections should consult their physician prior to applying this treatment. The cold therapy should be applied on the affected areas only in the early stages of the pain.

In general, doctors recommend applying ice first to decrease swelling, then applying heat to ease pain. The use of heat increases blood flow and warms muscles prior to exercise. Cold therapy on the other hand slows blood flow and decreases swelling and pain. To get the most effective relief, patients should cover the affected area with a light towel. For best results cold therapy must be applied for a minimum of 15-20 minutes several times a day.

Reduces pain
Depending on the type of injury, cold or heat therapy is the most effective way of reducing pain. It is usually the best alternative for pain that’s acute, such as a muscle strain, and cold therapy is recommended for pain that is chronic such as a prolonged joint pain. However, there is no exact and definite rule for which is more efficient. Most people who suffer from joint pain will benefit from cold therapy.

Cryotherapy or cold therapy is used to decrease inflammation and swelling. It slows the damage to tissues by reducing nerve activity. It numbs muscles and decreases nerve activity. It decreases swelling and inflammation by reducing nerve activity. It is not recommended for everyone, particularly pregnant women and children. Because cold therapy causes the body to respond differently to heat, it is recommended for people who are experiencing severe pain from an injury.

Lowers inflammation
When it is used for many health conditions, cold therapy can help reduce pain and swelling. Cold therapy can reduce inflammation by constricting blood vessels in muscles, which reduces blood flow. Moreover, cold therapy lowers pain signal transmission via the brain. There are two kinds 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. Prolonged cold exposure can cause an increase in hives or iceburns.

Although both cold and heat therapy are beneficial, they have different side effects. Cold therapy is more effective for injuries that are acute caused by lower blood flow. Heat therapy aids in increasing blood flow and reduce inflammation and swelling by improving circulation. It also has a psychological calming effect on the sufferer which makes it a great option for chronic pain management. However cold therapy isn’t as efficient for long-term pain management.