Oakwood Hospital Pain Management

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

If used correctly, a combination hot and cold therapy can offer relief for up to five days. This therapy is particularly beneficial for muscle tears and injuries from overuse. Also, it reduces inflammation and pain by dilation of blood vessels. It helps speed up the flow of blood to the area that has been injured. And it can help with chronic joint pain. The greatest thing about both treatments is that they can be combined!

Reduces inflammation
Cold therapy is more effective than heat therapy when it comes to decreasing blood flow and inflammation to the affected areas. The cold therapy reduces swelling while heat therapy increases blood flow and pulls in more nutrients. The use of heat therapy is particularly efficient in managing pain because of its soothing effects on the joints. Which treatment should you select to ease your discomfort? Here are some suggestions. Check out our helpful chart. Let’s take a look at how cold and heat therapy interact.

Ice therapy is effective at reducing inflammation and swelling. It also produces an numbing effect, which slows down messages to the brain that signal pain. Effective cold therapy methods include ice baths homemade ice packs and chemical cold packs. As with heat therapy, you should adhere to the right procedure and limit the time of cold exposure. You should not leave the application of ice on your skin for longer than 20 minutes since this could lead to the development of hives or ice burns.

Reduces swelling
While cold therapy can be effective in helping reduce swelling, it comes with certain limitations. This method should not be utilized on those suffering from chronic injuries. Cold therapy should not be used for open wounds and should not be considered for patients suffering from circulatory or neuropathy conditions. Patients with illnesses should consult their physician prior to applying cold therapy. Cold therapy should be used only on the areas that are affected at the beginning of pain.

In general, doctors recommend applying ice first to reduce swelling, and then applying heat to relieve pain. Heating therapy improves blood flow and helps warm muscles prior to activity. Cold therapy on the other hand can slow blood flow and decreases swelling and pain. Cover the area affected with a towel to give the most effective relief. For the best results cold therapy must be applied for at least 15 minutes a day.

Reduces pain
Depending on the nature of injury, cold or hot therapy is most effective for relieving pain. For acute pain, such as an injury to a muscle and strain, heat therapy is the most effective treatment. Cold therapy is recommended to treat chronic pain, for instance long-term joint pain. There is no one right or wrong treatment. Many people suffering from joint pain will benefit from cold therapy.

Cryotherapy or cold therapy is used to reduce inflammation and swelling. It slows the damage to tissues by inhibiting nerve activity. It numbs muscles and decreases nerve activity. It decreases swelling and inflammation by reducing nerve activity. However cold therapy isn’t suitable for certain people including pregnant women. Because cold therapy causes the body to respond differently to heat, it is best for those who suffer from a severe pain from an injury.

Lowers inflammation
Cold therapy can be used to treat a variety health ailments. It reduces inflammation by reducing the blood vessels in muscles, which decreases the flow of blood. Cold therapy also reduces pain signal transmission by your brain. Methods for cold therapy include homemade ice packs and chemical cold packs. The use of cold therapy should be only for the time period recommended, just like heat therapy. Exposed to cold for too long could cause ice burns or the development of hives.

Both cold and warm therapy have advantages, but both have adverse effects. Cold therapy is more effective for injuries that are acute that result from decreased blood flow. Heat therapy helps increase blood flow and reduce inflammation and swelling by improving circulation. It can also have an emotional calming effect and is a good option for pain management in chronic situations. However cold therapy isn’t as effective for long-term pain management.