Most intermittent compression systems use wraps with integrated air chambers that respond to changes in pneumatic pressure. As air flow is increased, the wrap compresses body tissue and pumps away excess fluid. As air flow is decreased, oxygenated blood returns to the area and brings vital nutrients to the tissues.
Reasons to Use Intermittent Compression and Cold TherapyWhen the body suffers an injury or tissue damage, the natural response is inflammation. This results in pain, swelling, and discomfort. Examples of common uses for compression therapy include:
- Sports injuries - Sprains, strains, and other sports injuries are typically treated with RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) therapy. Using an active compression system combined with cryotherapy can help speed up the recovery process and reduce pain and swelling.
- Workout recovery - A strenuous workout can result in tissue damage that causes pain and increases recovery time between sessions. Using cold and compression after a tough practice or game can help keep athletes in top condition.
- Surgery recovery - The healing process after surgery typically includes build-up of excess fluid, pain, and swelling. Using cold and compression therapy can help reduce these effects and accelerate the healing process.
- Amputation - Both immediately after surgery and on an ongoing basis, amputee recovery can be enhanced with compression therapy to help remove fluids and decrease pain and swelling caused by the use of prosthetic limbs.
Important Benefits of Intermittent Compression and Cold TherapyWhether you are an athlete or recovering from a surgical procedure, including cold and compression therapy during the recovery process has several benefits:
- Reduce edema - Excess fluids, or edema, can contribute to swelling and reduce range of motion. Active compression helps remove lymph, cellular waste, and other fluids.
- Reduce pressure - Swelling caused by edema results in uncomfortable pressure in the surrounding area, which can be relieved with active compression therapy.
- Faster healing - As excess fluids are pumped away, fresh, nutrient-rich blood is pumped toward the injured area. Damaged tissues heal faster when they can get vital nutrients and oxygen.
- Less pain - Pressure reduction translates to less pain and discomfort, and a faster healing process means that you will experience pain for a shorter period of time.
Have you ever used intermittent compression therapy?