-Benefits: Cryotherapy for Pain

Cold therapy has several physiologic effects that enhance or suppress normal responses to certain stressors. Hemodynamic effects include reflexive vasoconstriction followed by delayed vasodilation. Neuromuscular effects include slowing of nerve conduction velocity, and decreased firing of the muscle spindles, which have been shown by some to reduce spasticity. Effects in joints are thought to take place by decreasing synovial collagenase activity, making it effective in inflammatory arthropathies(ref 13). General uses of cold include relief of muscle spasm, reduction of spasticity, and control of inflammation in the acute inflammation stage.

 

Symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Chronic muscle pain, muscle spasms, or tightness
  • Moderate or severe fatigue and decreased energy
  • Insomnia or waking up feeling just as tired as when you went to sleep
  • Stiffness upon waking or after staying in one position for too long
  • Difficulty remembering, concentrating, and performing simple mental tasks (“fibro fog”)
  • Abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and constipation alternating with diarrhea (irritable bowel syndrome)

Cryotherapy Treatment:

Fibromyalgic patients treated with cryotherapy reported a more pronounced improvement of the quality of life, in comparison with the non-cryo treated fibromyalgic subjects, as indicated by the scores of the qualitative indexes and sub-indexes, that are widely recognized tools to assess the overall health status and the effect of the treatments. We speculate that this improvement is due to the known direct effect of cryotherapy on the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory mediators having a recognized role in the modulation of pain.

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Fortunately, most episodes of back pain will heal with time: approximately 50% of patients will feel relief from low back pain within two weeks, and approximately 90% within three months, regardless of the treatment.

The majority of episodes of acute back pain are due to a muscular strain and these will usually resolve with time because muscles have a good blood supply to bring the necessary nutrients and proteins for healing to take place.

In younger adults (20-60 year olds) the disc is likely to be the pain generator.

In older adults (over 60 years old), the source of back pain or leg pain is more likely to be the facet joints or osteoarthritis.

Cryotherapy literally means cold therapy. The pain-relieving benefits of snow and ice were first written about by the Greek physician Hippocrates thousands of years ago. When you press a bag of frozen peas on a swollen ankle or knee, you are treating your pain with a modern (although basic) version of cryotherapy.

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Migraines and other types of headaches, such as tension headache and sinus headache, are painful. Migraine symptoms include a pounding headache, nausea, vomiting, and light sensitivity and are treated with antinausea drugs and abortive or preventive medications. Headache remedies include pain relievers.

Cryotherapy Treatment:

The use of cold applications at onset of migraine targeting the carotid arteries at the neck significantly reduced recorded pain in participants with migraine headaches. Future studies to further understand the mechanism by which targeted carotid cooling alleviates migraine include utilizing a cold water circulator connected to a neck garment such that temperature and duration of treatment can be accurately controlled.

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Whole Body Cryotherapy is the safest and healthiest approach to treating sleep disorders. Studies indicate that Whole Body Cryotherapy can help treat an array of sleep disorders by correcting processes in the central nervous system. It can also stabilize erratic sleep patterns by helping clients achieve a prolonged period of rest. Repeated treatments will minimize sleep disturbances and ease the transition into sleep.

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