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What is Cold Therapy? And When Should You Use it for Pain

Advancements in science and technology have provided excellent opportunities for improving life by alleviating pain. Sometimes, the methods that are incorporated in modern science have been around for years and are simply enhanced using modern devices. One such method is using cold temperatures as a form of pain therapy.

The biology of pain and inflammation is that the body offsets its natural mechanism of protecting nerves from injuries by expanding blood vessels in size. The low temperatures from this type of therapy are instrumental in helping reduce blood flow around inflamed areas.

There are many benefits and methods to cold therapy such as:

Health Benefits of Cold Therapy:

  • Reducing swelling from injuries: It can be frustrating to deal with a cramped muscle after an intense workout or an accident that causes severe swelling. On top of using some pain-alleviating medication, you can use the PRICE technique. This involves Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Icing an injury immediately helps to reduce the inflammation together with all the other elements of PRICE.
  • Getting rid of the runners’ knee: this type of cramp comes from intense running, cycling, or any other activity that causes too much strain on the knee area. Cold therapy can help alleviate the pain by using an ice pack or gel and applying it to the affected area.
  • Post-surgery pain and discomfort: post-surgery comes with a lot of acute pain to it. This type of pain tends to happen sporadically and is uncomfortable to endure. Cold therapy helps with these sudden rushes of pain. Some other conditions that may cause this type of discomfort and acute pain include arthritis, back pain, sprains, and tendonitis.

Types of Cold Therapy:

Whole-body cold therapy: this type of cold therapy is good for enhancing nerve activity throughout the body and reducing inflammation when it is spread throughout the body. Whole-body cold therapy has also shown the benefits of boosting the immune system and helping to reduce aging. This can be done using ice baths or immersing yourself in cold pressure chambers. The ideal recommended time for an ice bath is 15 minutes.

Partial cold therapy: this is applying cold therapy on a specific injured area using a cold therapy unit. Cold therapy can be achieved as easily as simply applying an ice pack on the injured area or choosing to use ice gels, sprays, but cold therapy units provide ultimate effectiveness.

These machines are convenient and portable with durable motors that are quiet because of their modern designs resembling those in air conditioners and microwaves, as compared to the traditional gear pump that tends to be loud and noisy. You can use them for up to six hours continuously, and the pads are also specially designed to deliver continuous cold therapy to injured areas such as the hand, shoulder, ankle, or knee.

Conclusion:

There are numerous benefits to using cold therapy to cure pain and improve the immune system. However, in light of the many benefits, it is still good to be cautious in your application. If you have existing medical conditions such as blood flow issues and sensory disorders, or the pain only gets worse with the application, it’s always best to seek professional medical advice from your doctor before using cold therapy.

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