Plenty of professionals from expert athletic trainers and sports physicians to personnel in the emergency room and physical therapists all use localized cryotherapy to improve recovery in both long and short-term conditions and injuries. Gain knowledge in which modality is suitable for your condition.
Right after an injury, ice is the most convenient way to apply it with, since it’s ready any time. As most studies have shown, the cold temperature that ice brings out reduces the pain and swelling with minor injuries such as sprains and strains. It alters nerve conductors as well as numbs them, this inhibits nociceptors or your pain receptors, reduces jerking movements, lowers enzyme levels, and decreases inflammation. If ever you experience an ankle sprain, it’s recommended to immediately immerse it in ice water to numb the pain and reduce inflammation.
Because whirlpool therapy is the full immersion of your body in cold temperatures, you essentially receive more benefits from it, provided that you regularly have sessions. Whirlpool therapy gives you rapid results in subsequent systemic constriction of your blood vessels (vasoconstriction). These baths also relax the muscles and significantly reduce pain, conditioning the body to be calm and at ease, especially on the joints. What’s more, is that it’s not only for relaxation and comfort, but it’s also used to treat chronic pain conditions. This includes low back pain, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia.
Also known as hilotherpy, cold compression units use ice and compression from the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) principle and reduces inflammation as well as pain acquired from soft tissue injuries. These units combine frigid temperatures and air pressure for static compression that allows the machine to dissipate the heat surrounding the injury and profusely applies hilotherapy’s effects. With cold compression units, its active pneumatic compression is similar to that of how muscles contract, therefore stimulating blood flow and decreases edema synchronously.
Like most cryotherapy modalities, ice massage focuses on reducing pain and inflammation and is an excellent choice for soft-tissue injuries that are superficial such as tendonitis in any of your joints. Because the technique is direct and uses Localized cryotherapy, it immediately gives an analgesic effect to the area of injury while also quickly reducing swelling by cooling the surrounding tissues.
There is a reason why there is heat during inflammation. In rehabilitation procedures, one of the principles is “heat before, ice after.” This is because theories have stated that applying ice might generally reduce the healing time and process since heat and inflammation is the body’s natural way of repairing itself. It can be beneficial to apply heat prior to the treatment program to increase range of motion, and end it with cryotherapy to then minimize the pain and inflammation from having worked the injured area.
Before opting for cryotherapy, make sure you have informed your doctor ahead to know if you don’t have any underlying conditions that might be contraindicated to the treatment program. Be aware of the side effects and risks you might also encounter during your session.