Cryotherapy is the use of cold in the treatment of acute and sub-acute injury (such as strains and sprains) as well as to decrease the discomfort after athletic reconditioning.
The most common cryotherapy tools used at Complete Rehabilitation Services include ice packs, and ice massage; used alone or in combination with electrical currents (TENS).
Cryotherapy generally produces a three to four stage sensation; first an uncomfortable sensation of cold, followed by a stinging, then burning or aching feeling and finally a numbness. Generally, a minimum of 10-15 minutes is required to achieve an extreme analgesic (pain relieving) effect while lowering the temperature to the injured area, thus reducing the metabolic rate and swelling associated with tissue injury. Cold is extremely useful in the acute phase of common inflammatory conditions such as bursitis, tenosynovitis and tendonitis.
When is cryotherapy used?
Health experts generally agree that cryotherapy should be the initial treatment for acute injuries, such as muscle strains and sprains. Cold can help relieve your pain. In addition, cold helps in vasoconstriction of blood vessels at the site of injury, thereby, limiting bleeding and edema formation.
Side-effects of cryotherapy
Cold application is relatively safe when appropriately done. Prolonged exposure to a cold modality may lead to frostbite injury. To avoid frostbite injury during physical therapy treatment, our staff follows the recommended time of cold application.
Types of Cryotherapy Application
Our physical therapist will help you determine the appropriate cryotherapy modality to be used. Cryotherapy may be employed by way of any of the following:
Cryotherapy is just one of the treatment options that our physical therapist will include in your treatment plan. Often, your treatment plan will be comprised of several treatment options such as therapeutic exercise, manual therapy, and electrical stimulation.
Talk to your doctor today about the benefits of starting physical therapy or contact one of our four locations!