After an injury, the most important thing for you is to make a full recovery as soon as possible so that you can continue living your everyday life. For your recovery process to be quick and effective, you must follow a proper rehabilitation schedule and method. Today, many physiotherapists advise their patients to include cold therapy in their rehabilitation for faster recovery. But is cold therapy always the best choice for rehab? Read on to find out.
What’s Cold Therapy?
Also known as cryotherapy, cold therapy treats soft tissue injuries by applying cold temperature to the affected areas. This treatment involves using ice packs, gel packs, ice baths, coolant sprays, or cold chambers to lower temperatures in the injured area. Cold therapy is more effective when combined with other stages of recovery like resting, compression, and elevation.
How Cold Therapy Works
Exposing your injury to extreme cold temperatures may sound brutal, but it has significantly affected the healing process. Medical experts claim that cold therapy minimizes inflammation, boosts exercise recovery, and increases metabolism. When your skin is exposed to cold temperature, the underlying blood vessels constrict, minimizing blood flow to the injury, reducing swelling, pain, and inflammation.
Cold therapy can enhance your overall mood by stimulating your brain to produce more dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for pleasurable feelings. Research had also shown that cold therapy improves recovery from intense workouts, mainly when applied several hours after working out instead of right away.
When you engage in intense workouts, your muscles get damaged, leaving you sore. This inflammation is good because it helps your muscles grow and become stronger. You have to ensure that your muscles recover fully after the exercise. Cold therapy comes in handy. You can either use a coolant spray or take an ice bath to boost your recovery.
Cold therapy helps you to relieve pain after an injury or surgery. Reducing blood circulation and other bodily fluids in the affected area minimizes the release of chemicals that cause pain. This treatment is good for a runner’s knee, tendonitis, arthritis pain, lower back pain, sprains, postoperative pain and swelling, and splints. However, ensure you don’t expose your skin to direct cold temperatures to avoid frostbites and other cold-related complications.