Cryotherapy is the use of therapeutic cold to treat injuries by relieving pain, reducing swelling, and accelerating the healing process. This treatment method can be delivered in multiple ways, including traditional ice packs, gel packs, ice baths, and cold therapy devices that also employ active compression.
Of the many options available for injury recovery, cryotherapy is one that offers several benefits, such as:
- Less medication – Treating the pain naturally with cold may reduce the need for painkillers.
- Better quality of life – Less pain and swelling may lead to better range of motion and faster recovery.
- Convenience – Treatment is not time-consuming and can be done in your own home.
Cryotherapy works by temporarily deadening nerve endings to reduce the sensation of pain. Cellular metabolism also slows down, which leads to less cell death and therefore less need for tissue repair. This helps contribute to a faster healing process, because the body doesn’t have to do as much work to return to its normal state. The addition of active compression also helps reduce swelling even further by removing excess fluid from the injured area.
When it comes to injury recovery, cryotherapy can be optimized with four simple tips:
Treat Injuries During Downtime
During the injury recovery process, you can apply cryotherapy many times a day for periods of 20 to 30 minutes. Take advantage of periods of downtime throughout the day to allow therapeutic cold to penetrate the injured area. Applying cold at regular intervals will help keep swelling to a minimum and prevent the pain from getting too intense. You can even do it right before bed to help keep pain at bay and get more restful sleep.
Combine Cryotherapy with Massage
Soft-tissue injuries can benefit from therapeutic massage to help increase blood flow to the damaged muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Bringing more blood to the injury allows cells to get more oxygen and nutrients, which are essential during the repair process. Massage also helps flush away cellular waste and excess fluid, leading to less swelling. Wait several days before starting massage, because tissues are typically tender to the touch immediately following an injury.
Combine Cryotherapy with Heat
After the initial swelling from the injury has started to subside, typically after several days, heat therapy can be alternated with cold therapy. Many people find heat therapy to be soothing to sore muscles. Much like massage, therapeutic heat helps increase the flow of blood and nutrients as it dilates the blood vessels. Heat can also help increase range of motion by loosening tight muscles.
Use the Most Efficient Systems
Ice and towels may be readily available, but this is not the most efficient way to deliver cryotherapy. Using a cold therapy device allows cold to penetrate deeper, which enables the benefits to last longer. Cold therapy systems also let you apply treatment hands-free, and without worrying about getting wet. By using a convenient wrap that conforms to the body, you can quickly, conveniently, and safely get the most effective cryotherapy treatment available. Because it’s so easy, you may be more likely to do additional treatment sessions throughout the day, which means you may recover faster.
If you are going through injury recovery, cryotherapy is a safe and effective treatment option you may want to consider. To learn more about how the combination of cryotherapy and compression may lead to faster injury recovery and fewer expenses, download our free white paper today.