Cryo (Cold) and Heat Therapy
Cryo and heat therapy is the use of cold and/or heat over an injured or healing area of the body. Following an injury there are two phases of inflammation:
- Phase 1 inflammation - the breakdown period, which usually lasts 48 - 72 hours.
- Phase 2 inflammation - the healing period.
Cryotherapy, the use of a moldable cool pack or a bag of cold peas:
- Decreases nerve conduction velocity (which decreases pain perception).
- Decreases the rate of cytokine release (which decreases inflammation).
- Causes vasoconstriction (decreased blood flow) followed by rebound vasodilation (increased blood flow).
- When used immediately after surgery or an injury, decreases bleeding at the surface and deep in the tissue.
Cryotherapy is used to decrease pain and inflammation and speed healing. Cryotherapy is typically applied for 10 minutes, removed for 10 minutes, and then applied for 10 minutes for the first 72 hours post-surgery or injury (phase 1 inflammation).
Heat therapy, the use of a moldable heat pack or warm, moist towels:
- Increases the collagen's (healing tissue) ability to stretch
- Increases blood flow
- Decreases pain
- Increases enzyme activity (which speeds healing).
- Increases muscle contractility and stretching capability