Stony Brook Pain Management Clinic

Pain Management Using Cold and Heat

If properly used If done correctly, a combination of hot and cold therapy can ease pain for up to five days. This therapy is particularly beneficial for muscle tears and overuse injuries. Cold therapy reduces inflammation and pain through dilatation blood vessels. It helps speed up the flow of blood to the area injured. It can also help with chronic joint pain. The best part about both therapies is that they can be combined!

Reduces inflammation
As opposed to heat therapy cold therapy reduces inflammation and blood flow to the affected area. The cold therapy lessens swelling and inflammation, while the heat therapy improves blood flow and draws in more nutrients. It is especially effective in pain management due to its soothing effects on joints. Which therapy should you choose to ease your pain? Here are some ideas. And, make sure to look over our chart of helpful information. Let’s discuss how cold and heat therapy interact.

Ice therapy can be very efficient in reducing inflammation and swelling. It also produces an numbing effect, which reduces the brain’s signals for pain. The most effective cold therapy techniques include ice baths, homemade ice packs, and chemical cold packs. You should follow the same procedures as heat therapy and limit cold exposure. You should not leave the ice pack on your skin for more than 20 mins because this could cause burning or hives.

Reduces swelling
While cold therapy can effectively reduce swelling, it comes with certain limitations. This treatment is not recommended for those suffering from chronic injuries. Additionally, cold therapy should not be used on wounds that are open and is not recommended for patients suffering from neuropathic and circulatory disorders. Furthermore, patients suffering from infections should consult their physician prior using this therapy. Cold therapy should be utilized only on the affected areas in the beginning stages of pain.

In general, doctors suggest applying ice to reduce swelling, then applying heat to ease discomfort. The heat therapy increases blood flow and also warms muscles prior to activity. Cold therapy however reduces blood flow and reduces swelling and pain. For the most effective relief, patients should cover the affected area with a soft towel. For better results cold therapy must be applied for a minimum of 15 minutes at least once a day.

Reduces pain
It’s dependent on the type and extent of the injury which treatment is more efficient in alleviating pain. In general, heat is the best treatment for pain that is acute, like a muscle sprain, and cold therapy is advised for pain that is chronic, like a long-standing joint pain. There is no right or wrong treatment. Cold therapy is beneficial for most people suffering from joint pain.

The practice of cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy is used to decrease the pain and inflammation caused by inflammation and swelling. It reduces tissue damage by blocking nerve activity. Particularly, it numbs muscles that are injured and decreases nerve activity. It also reduces swelling and inflammation by reducing nerve activity. Cold therapy is not recommended for everyone, particularly pregnant women and children. Because cold therapy causes the body to respond differently to heat, it is best for those who are suffering from extreme pain due to an injury.

Lowers inflammation
When used for various health conditions cold therapy can reduce pain and swelling. Cold therapy can reduce inflammation by reducing blood vessels in muscles, thereby reducing blood flow. It also decreases pain signal transmission through your brain. There are two kinds of cold therapy which include homemade ice packs as well as chemical cold packs. Cold therapy should be used only for the recommended time as with heat therapy. A prolonged exposure to cold may cause ice burns or hives.

Although both cold and therapy are beneficial but they have distinct adverse effects. Cold therapy is more effective for acute injuries that result from reduced blood flow. Heating therapy increases blood flow and reduces inflammation, swelling, and improves circulation. It can also have psychological calming effects which makes it a great option for pain management in chronic situations. Cold therapy isn’t as effective in long-term pain management.