Pain Management Using Cold and Heat
If used correctly when done correctly, a combination of heat and cold therapy can ease pain for up to five working days. This therapy is particularly beneficial for muscle injuries and overuse injuries. Cold therapy also reduces inflammation and pain by dilation of blood vessels. As a result, it stimulates a greater flow of blood to the injured area. It can also aid in treating chronic joint pain. The most appealing thing is that both types of therapy can be used together!
In comparison to heat therapy, cold therapy reduces inflammation and blood flow to the affected area. The cold therapy decreases swelling and inflammation, while the heat therapy improves blood flow and draws in more nutrients. Because of its calming effects on joints heating therapy is particularly effective in pain management. Which therapy should you choose to relieve your pain? Here are some suggestions. Check out our helpful chart. Let’s see how heat therapy and cold therapy work together.
Ice therapy is effective in reducing inflammation as well as swelling. It also produces a numbing effect and slows down pain signals to the brain. Some effective cold therapy methods include ice baths homemade ice packs and chemical cold packs. Like with the use of heat therapy, you must adhere to the correct protocol and limit the duration of exposure to cold. Don’t leave the ice pack on your skin for more than 20 mins as this can cause burns and hives.
While cold therapy may reduce swelling, it has some limitations. Patients with chronic injuries should not use this method. Additionally cold therapy should not be used on wounds that are open and is not recommended for people with circulatory or neuropathic conditions. Patients suffering from infections should consult with their physician prior to applying this therapy. Cold therapy should be utilized only on the areas that are affected in the initial stages of pain.
In general, doctors recommend applying ice at first to reduce swelling, then applying heat to alleviate discomfort. The use of heat increases blood flow and helps warm muscles prior to activity. Cold therapy on the other hand reduces blood flow and decreases swelling and pain. For the most effective relief, patients should wrap the affected area with a thin towel. For better results cold therapy must be applied for at minimum 15-20 minutes several times per day.
Based on the type of injury, either cold or heat therapy is most effective for relieving pain. For acute pain, like muscles strains heating is the best treatment. Cold therapy is suggested to treat chronic pain, for instance long-term joint pain. There isn’t a single best or worst treatment. The majority of people suffering from joint pain can benefit from cold therapy.
Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, is used to reduce pain caused by inflammation and swelling. It reduces the damage to tissues by blocking nerve activity. It specifically numbs muscles that are injured and decreases nerve activity. It decreases swelling and inflammation by reducing nerve activity. However cold therapy is not appropriate for some individuals especially pregnant women. Cold therapy is better for injuries that cause severe pain because it causes the body to respond differently to heat.
Inflammation is reduced
When used for various health issues, cold therapy can help reduce pain and swelling. Cold therapy decreases inflammation by reducing blood vessels in muscles, which reduces blood flow. Cold therapy also reduces the transmission of pain signals to your brain. Methods for cold therapy include homemade ice packs and chemical cold packs. The use of cold therapy should be only for the recommended duration like heat therapy. Prolonged cold exposure can cause Hives or ice burns.
Both cold and heat therapy have advantages, however, they can also cause negative effects. Injuries that are acute are more likely to be treated using cold therapy due to the diminished blood flow. The heat therapy improves blood flow, reduces swelling, inflammation, and improves circulation. It also has psychological calming effects which makes it a great option for chronic pain management. Cold therapy is not as effective in long-term pain management.