Cryotherapy is the use of cold therapy for pain management for injuries such as runner’s knee, tendonitis, back pain and arthritis pain. It’s been used for thousands of years to reduce swelling and nerve activity and therefore pain. In fact Hippocrates spoke of the benefits of cold therapy in the form of snow and ice on the body. Today cryotherapy ranges from the most basic ice pack in the freezer to the far more effective and sophisticated whole body cryotherapy sauna now available in Sydney’s Double Bay.
Cryotherapy for Pain Management
Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the potential health benefits of cryotherapy for pain management. Whole body cryotherapy safely exposes the user to extremely cold dry air (up to about -170 deg c) for a maximum of 3 minutes depending on how many treatments they have already had. Each treatment has an accumulative effect on pain. It seems that the more treatments a user has, the more of an effect it has on their pain.
The Cryo Sauna is the size of a shower and the user’s head is above the sauna at all times. Each session is completely supervised and the user is never left on their own and monitored at all times. The user can leave the cryo sauna at any time of their choosing.
Cryotherapy for pain management also means you less time on pain medications. It’s a drug free method.
It’s recommended the user completes a course of cryotherapy sessions for maximum results and packages are available to suit all budgets. One of Cryo’s trained staff are happy to discuss a programme with you for your cryotherapy treatments for pain management.
How does Cryotherapy Reduce Pain?
Cryotherapy reduces pain a number of ways. It effects the nerve signals and slows down their transmission which may reduce the amount of pain signals to the brain. The levels of norepinephrine increase. This chemical is stimulated when we are under stress and it’s a natural painkiller. Finally cryotherapy can reduce inflammation. A study was done during a course of 12 weeks of a group of women who were exposed to cryotherapy and the results showed that whole body cryotherapy may be effective for pain alleviation.
Patients with diseases such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and back pain have also found that cryotherapy reduced their pain and the study concluded that whole body cryotherapy was an important part of their rehabilitation programme.
In conclusion, cryotherapy not only manages pain but reduces swelling and at the same time increases oxygen and blood flow to the injured area. This stimulates the healing process of the tissues.
- -1- John Hopkins Medicine – Cryotherapy (Cold Therapy) for Pain Management. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/orthopaedic_disorders/cryotherapy_cold_therapy_for_pain_management_134,95/
- -2- Scand J Clin Lab Invest 2008;68(2):145-53 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18382932
- -3- Rehabilitation (Stuttg) 2000 Apr;39(2):93-100 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10832164