At Republic Pain Specialists, there are several avenues we may use to treat your pain. Every patient and every pain is different and unique, so it makes sense for us to consider a few pain relief methods, including cryotherapy, as we make a pain management plan with you. Cryotherapy is used by several of our patients to prevent and relieve the pain they may be experiencing and avoids the harmful side effects of pain relief through opioid usage.
What is it?
According to Healthline, cryotherapy “is a technique where the body is exposed to extremely cold temperatures for several minutes". In fact, “cryo” refers to the extreme cold experienced in this therapy. Cryotherapy can involve localized portions of the body or the entire body. The administration of cryotherapy can occur in many ways, such as ice packs, ice massages, sprays, ice baths, and the administering of probes. If whole-body cryotherapy is pursued, a chamber that drops the internal temperature between negative 200- and 300-degrees Fahrenheit. The body can withstand these extreme temperatures for short amounts of time with many potential benefits.
What are the benefits?
There are multiple potential benefits to cryotherapy. Many athletes will use cryotherapy to alleviate and prevent injuries before, during, and after training. Additionally, there is evidence that cryotherapy can help with some migraine symptoms when localized around the neck. Additionally, cryosurgery has been used to treat certain forms of tumors. Arthritic pain sees alleviation of pain with whole-body cryotherapy. Cryotherapy has been known to treat mood disorders, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease due to a link between cryotherapy and antioxidant levels. Further, several skin conditions see benefits of cold therapy, possibly due to the improvement in antioxidant levels with cryotherapy and the reduction of inflammation. Dry and itchy skin, some types of acne, and other skin conditions are being studied further.
Precautions and Considerations
While the benefits of cryotherapy can be felt in small amounts, regular usage of cold therapy will maximize results. Whether you are a training athlete that uses cryotherapy every day or uses it for short seasons to deal with an injury, staying consistent in your pain management plan will be important. Due to the extreme cold, you will need to stay on your prescribed plan for the duration of cryotherapy. Whole-body cryotherapy will only last a few minutes, while ice packs and similar regimes will be closer to 20 minutes. There may be some redness, numbing, and irritation that should go away. Patients with diabetes or nerve conditions should avoid cryotherapy as it can damage nerve endings further.
Since there are so many potential pain issues that can be relieved through cryotherapy, it is not uncommon for us to suggest this method to treat your pain. Whatever pain you are experiencing, we can work with you to understand the pain, find the source and cause, and create a plan that works for you. To learn more or set an appointment, contact us at Republic Pain Specialists, today.