Northern Arizona Interventional Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

If properly utilized when used correctly, a combination of hot and cold therapies can ease pain for three to five days. This therapy is particularly effective for muscle tears and injuries from overuse. The cold therapy helps reduce the pain and inflammation through dilation of blood vessels. In turn, it increases the flow of blood to the injured area. It can also help with chronic joint pain. The great thing about both treatments is that they can be combined!

Reduces inflammation
Cold therapy is more effective than heat therapy in reducing inflammation and blood flow to the affected areas. The cold therapy helps reduce swelling, while the heat therapy improves blood flow and draws in more nutrients. Heat therapy is especially efficient in pain management due to its calming effects on joints. But what treatment should you choose for your discomfort? Here are some suggestions. Be sure to look over our helpful chart. Let’s look at how heat and cold therapy interact.

Ice therapy is effective in reducing inflammation and swelling. It also has a numbing effect and reduces the brain’s signals for pain. The most effective cold therapies include ice baths, homemade ice packs, and cold packs made of chemicals. Like with heat therapy, it is important to adhere to the right procedure and limit the time of exposure to cold. You should not leave the frozen skin for more than 20 mins as it could result in burning or hives.

Reduces swelling
While cold therapy can help reduce swelling, there are some limitations. People suffering from chronic injuries should avoid this treatment. In addition, cold therapy should not be applied on wounds that are open and is not recommended for individuals suffering from neuropathic and circulatory disorders. Furthermore, patients suffering from infections must consult with their physician prior to using this therapy. Cold therapy should also be applied to the affected areas only in the beginning stages of the pain.

In general, doctors recommend applying ice to reduce swelling, then applying heat to ease pain. The use of heat increases blood flow and warms muscles prior to activity. Cold therapy however reduces blood flow and decreases swelling and pain. To get the most effective relief, patients should wrap the affected area with a thin towel. Cold therapy should be used for at minimum 15 minutes, alternating between each day to get the most effective results.

Reduces pain
Depending on the kind of injury, cold or hot therapy is the most effective method for alleviating pain. In general, heat is the best alternative for pain that’s acute, such as a muscle sprain, and cold therapy is advised for pain that is persistent such as a prolonged joint pain. There isn’t any hard and fast 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 reduce swelling and inflammation. It reduces the damage to tissues by blocking nerve activity. It reduces muscle numbness and nerve activity. It decreases swelling and inflammation by reducing nerve activity. Cold therapy is not recommended for everyone, especially pregnant women and children. Cold therapy is a better option for those suffering from severe injuries, as it causes the body to respond differently to heat.

Lowers inflammation
When used for a variety of health conditions cold therapy can reduce pain and swelling. The cold therapy helps reduce inflammation by constricting blood vessels in muscles, which decreases blood flow. Furthermore, cold therapy decreases pain signal transmission via the brain. Cold therapy methods include homemade ice packs and chemical cold packs. Cold therapy should be used only for the duration recommended similar to heat therapy. Being exposed to cold for too long can cause ice burns or hives.

Both cold and heat therapy have advantages, but they also have side effects. Acute injuries are more likely to be treated using cold therapy because of the lower blood flow. The heat therapy improves blood flow, reduces swelling, inflammation and improves circulation. It also has a psychologically calming impact on the patient, making it an ideal choice to manage chronic pain. Cold therapy is not as effective in long-term pain management.