Pain Management Using Cold and Heat
If properly used when done correctly, a combination of heat and cold therapy can offer relief for up to five working days. This therapy is especially beneficial for injuries sustained over time and muscle tears. Cold therapy decreases inflammation and pain through dilatation blood vessels. It promotes faster blood flow to the area that has been injured. It can also assist with chronic joint pain. The best part about both therapies is that they can be combined!
Compared to heat therapy, cold therapy lessens inflammation and blood flow to the affected area. The cold therapy reduces swelling and inflammation, while the heating therapy increases blood flow and draws in more nutrients. The use of heat therapy is particularly effective in pain management due to its soothing effects on the joints. Which therapy should you choose to ease your discomfort? Here are some suggestions. Take a look at our chart for help. Let’s look at how heat and cold therapy work together.
Ice therapy can be extremely effective at reducing inflammation and swelling. It also produces a numbing effect and slows down messages to the brain that signal pain. There are numerous effective cold therapy options, including cold baths, homemade packs, and chemical cold packs. It is important to follow the same procedures as heat therapy and limit cold exposure. Don’t leave the ice pack on the skin for more than 20 mins since this can lead to burns and hives.
Swelling is decreased
While cold therapy may reduce swelling, it has certain limitations. This therapy should not be used on those suffering from chronic injuries. Cold therapy should not be applied to open injuries and should not be considered for patients suffering from circulatory or neuropathy-related conditions. Patients suffering from ailments should consult with their physician prior to using cold therapy. Cold therapy can be applied to the affected areas only in the beginning stages of pain.
In general, doctors recommend applying ice first to reduce swelling, and then applying heat to alleviate pain. Heating therapy increases blood flow and warms muscles before you begin your exercise. Cold therapy on the other hand, slows blood flow and decreases swelling and pain. Cover the affected area with a towel to provide the best relief. For the best results cold therapy must be applied for at minimum 15-20 minutes several times per day.
Depending on the nature of injury, cold or hot therapy is the most effective method for decreasing pain. For acute pain, such as muscles strains heating is the best treatment. Cold therapy is recommended for chronic pain, such long-term joint pain. However, there is no exact and definite rule for which is more efficient. Cold therapy is beneficial for those suffering 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. Specifically, it numbs muscles that are injured and decreases nerve activity. It also reduces swelling and inflammation by decreasing nerve activity. However cold therapy is not suitable for certain people particularly pregnant women. Cold therapy is more beneficial for injuries that cause severe pain, as it causes the body to respond differently to heat.
Inflammation is lessened
Cold therapy is a method to treat a range of health ailments. Cold therapy can reduce inflammation by reducing blood vessels in muscles, which decreases blood flow. Also, cold therapy reduces pain signal transmission through your brain. Methods for cold therapy include homemade ice packs and chemical cold packs. Similar to heat therapy, cold therapy should be limited to the recommended time frame. Prolonged cold exposure can cause Hives or ice burns.
Although both cold and heat therapy have benefits, they have different side effects. Acute injuries are more likely to be treated with cold therapy because of the decreased blood flow. Heating therapy can increase blood flow and reduce swelling and inflammation by improving circulation. It also has a psychologically calming effect on those suffering, making it an ideal choice for chronic pain management. However, cold therapy is not as efficient for long-term pain management.