Injuries are a fact of life for athletes. Whether you are dealing with a minor injury that you can treat at home or recovering from a more significant injury or surgery, getting back to your regular routine as quickly as possible is a high priority. Depending on the type of injury you are treating, cryotherapy can be used to help reduce pain and swelling and to help you heal faster.
What Is Cryotherapy?
Put simply, cryotherapy is the application of therapeutic cold to treat an injury. If you have ever applied an ice pack, you have used cryotherapy. Other ways to apply cryotherapy include submersion in cold-water baths and cryotherapy systems. A cryotherapy system enhances the delivery of cold in three important ways:
- Consistent temperature—One of the drawbacks of ice packs and cold baths is that they warm up as your body heat transfers to the cold source. This causes the treatment to be less effective over time. A cryotherapy system uses constantly flowing cold water that circulates through an ice reservoir to maintain the desired therapeutic temperature.
- Comprehensive coverage—One of the benefits of a cold-water bath is that it allows cold to penetrate from every angle. You can’t get this kind of coverage from an ice pack. However, a cryotherapy system with body-conforming wraps enables the same thorough coverage as an ice bath, but without the wet mess.
- Active compression—When combined with active compression, cold therapy is more effective. Compressed air is delivered through chambers in a body-conforming wrap to provide a pumping effect that mimics natural “squeeze and release” muscle contractions, helping to remove excess fluid from the area to reduce swelling. Active compression also enables therapeutic cold to penetrate deeper into the injured tissues.
No matter how you decide to apply therapeutic cold, it offers several benefits.
What Are the Benefits of Cryotherapy?
Cryotherapy has been used for decades to treat injuries and support surgery recovery. This is because of the many benefits of cryotherapy, which include:
- Less pain
- Less swelling
- Fewer muscle spasms
- Reduced need for medication
- Decreased metabolic demand
- Faster healing
While you can get all of these cryotherapy benefits with ice packs, cryotherapy systems are proven to be more effective at delivering therapeutic cold. This means better pain management and, ultimately, a faster recovery.
Who Uses Cryotherapy Systems?
Athletes of all types have benefited from using cryotherapy systems to recover from minor sprains and strains, ligament tears, fractures, and more. Many athletes even use cryotherapy systems to help accelerate recovery after a tough game or workout.
The Steadman Clinic in Colorado has used cryotherapy systems to treat professional athletes, including a three-time Olympic women’s skeleton champion who broke her patella. Triathletes, Major League Baseball pitchers, Ultimate Fighting champions, and professional skiers have all indicated that they use cryotherapy systems to recover from injuries of all types. Athletic trainers around the world recommend using cryotherapy systems for professional and college athletes. Elite ballet companies, military groups, doctors, and physical therapists also employ cryotherapy to treat injuries.
However, you don’t have to be a professional athlete to use a cryotherapy system. Most types of injury that cause pain and swelling can benefit from cryotherapy. Ask your physical therapist or locate a provider near you to learn more about renting a system for your home while you recover from an injury.
With body-conforming wraps for every major area of the body, Game Ready has you covered. You can conveniently treat injured ankles, knees, hips, wrists, elbows, shoulders, and even your back and head. Take your injury treatment to the next level with Game Ready and get the cryotherapy benefits that will help you heal faster.