There is be a new and innovative pain management treatment available now: Whole Body Cryotherapy. It’s something that professional athletes initially started using a few years ago to improve muscle recovery after a workout or event, and in more recent times its healing properties have been utilized by celebrities to treat various skin problems and it has been shown to be especially effective in eliminating cellulite: and what’s better is that a single treatment only takes about 3-5 minutes at a time and can last for weeks!
Cryotherapy is a special treatment designed to help damaged tissue recover many times faster than it would normally be able to by using ultra-cold temperatures to shock the body into upping circulation and making the immune system work overtime so that damaged tissue is repaired much faster than it would normally be. The temperatures involved are astounding, as low as -200 degrees Fahrenheit, which is lower than anything you would find in Antarctica where it’s only about -130. It’s safe because the air is completely dry with no humidity, you are only exposed to it for 3 minutes, and are monitored very carefully the whole time.
Cold therapy or cryotherapy is a common and useful therapeutic modality often used by physiotherapists in treating a wide range of conditions. It is easy to apply, and if care is taken over cautions and contraindications it is very safe, and patients can be instructed to self-treat to manage their conditions independently. Cryotherapy is most commonly used in sports and acute injury treatment and is cheap and simple to use. Cold can be applied in several different ways including cold packs, crushed ice, cubed ice or cool water devices.
As warming of the cold water or melting of the ice occurs, heat is carried away from the body as the cold therapy proceeds. The main biological effects on the body are local metabolic reduction, reduction of tissue bleeding, lowering of muscle efficiency, a reduction in pain due to the sedative effect of cold on transmission of nerves, an increase in local circulation once the blood vessel constriction phase has passed and a reduction in the amount of swelling and tissue oedema which occurs. Cold therapy also reduces spasticity and spasm in muscles as a secondary effect of reduction of pain by the cold.
Tissue damage from an injury to an area increases the blood supply locally, is hotter and suffers from edema, all secondary to heightened tissue metabolism as the area reacts to damage. At this early stage, these responses need to be damped down so cold is preferred over heat which would increase them. Cold reduces inflammation, eases the pain, prevents swelling and slows the metabolic rate of the injured tissues, encouraging injury healing. It is important to get the cold onto the injured part as close to the precipitating event as you can, with compression if possible. Compression has been shown to be effective and may be more important than the cold.
Pain after effective intervention or acute injuries is good subjects for cold therapy in the first two days after onset to control inflammation and pain. Areas of altered skin sensibility should be avoided as they may react abnormally and other contraindications are arterial insufficiency, cold allergy, Reynaud’s syndrome and lower limb ischemia. Physiotherapists use various techniques including cold packs, water immersion, contrast baths, spray and stretch and massage with ice. Myofascial pain syndrome trigger points are treated with spray and stretch.