South Shore Hospital Pain Management Clinic

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

If done correctly, a combination hot and cold therapy may provide relief for three to five days. This therapy is particularly beneficial for injuries from overuse and tears to muscles. Cold therapy reduces inflammation and pain through dilatation blood vessels. This helps to increase the flow of blood to the area that is injured. It can also help with chronic joint pain. The great thing about both therapies is that they can be combined!

Reduces inflammation
Cold therapy is more effective than heat therapy when it comes to decreasing inflammation and blood flow to the affected areas. The cold therapy reduces swelling and increases blood flow. The heating therapy increases blood flow and draws in more nutrients. Because of its calming effects on joints it is especially effective in managing pain. But which treatment should you choose for your discomfort? Here are some suggestions. Take a look at our helpful chart. Let’s look at how heat and cold therapy work together.

Ice therapy is effective in reducing inflammation and swelling. It also produces an numbing effect that slows down messages to the brain that signal pain. The most effective cold therapies include ice baths homemade ice packs and chemical cold packs. Like with heating therapy, it is essential to follow the proper procedure and limit the time of cold exposure. Don’t leave the ice pack on the skin for longer than 20 minutes because this could cause irritation and hives.

Swelling is lessened
Although cold therapy can reduce swelling, there are certain limitations. This therapy should not be utilized on people who have suffered from chronic injuries. Cold therapy should not be used on open injuries and should not be suggested for those with circulatory or neuropathy-related conditions. Patients who suffer from infections should consult their doctor before applying this treatment. The use of cold therapy should be done only on the areas that are affected in the early stages of pain.

Doctors suggest that you apply ice to lessen swelling, and then apply heat to relieve discomfort. Heat therapy increases blood flow and warms muscles before you can begin your activity. Cold therapy, on the other hand reduces blood flow and decreases swelling and pain. Cover the area affected with a towel to give the best relief. For the best results cold therapy must be applied for a minimum of 15-20 minutes several times per day.

Reduces pain
It is contingent on the nature and severity of the injury, which treatment is more efficient in alleviating pain. For acute pain, such as the result of a muscle strain heating is the best treatment. Cold therapy is recommended to treat chronic pain, for instance long-term joint pain. There isn’t a single best or worst treatment. Cold therapy is beneficial for most people suffering from joint pain.

Cold therapy, or cryotherapy, is used to reduce the pain caused by inflammation and swelling. It slows the damage to tissues by inhibiting nerve activity. Specifically, it numbs muscles that are painful and reduces nerve activity. It also reduces inflammation and swelling by reducing nerve activity. However cold therapy isn’t suitable for all people, especially children and pregnant women. Because cold therapy causes the body to respond differently than heat, it is best for those who are suffering from severe pain from an injury.

Inflammation is reduced
The use of cold therapy can be utilized to treat a variety of health conditions. The cold therapy helps reduce inflammation by constricting blood vessels in muscles, which can reduce blood flow. Moreover, cold therapy lowers pain signal transmission through the brain. There are two types of cold therapy: homemade ice packs or chemical cold packs. The use of cold therapy should be only for the recommended duration similar to heat therapy. Exposure to cold for too long may lead to ice burns and itching.

Both cold and hot therapy have advantages, but they have negative effects. Cold therapy is more effective for acute injuries, which are due to lower blood flow. The heat therapy improves blood flow, reduces swelling, inflammation and improves circulation. It can also have a psychological calming effect making it a suitable option for pain management in chronic situations. However cold therapy isn’t as efficient for long-term pain management.