We must be economical, effective, and efficient in our pain management.
We have three options with most pain. Live with it, mask it, or alleviate it. Obviously alleviation of pain is preferable. The most practical conduit to pain relief may be in your freezer. Ice, a form of Cryotherapy, can relieve both chronic and acute pain as effectively as many other more expensive options available. Additionally, it is clearly one of the most cost effective and versatile tools of pain management.
What does ice do to relieve pain? Traditionally, ice is known as the best solution to reduce swelling. It’s primarily used for acute injuries, within 48 hours of an injury. Ice also numbs the area masking the immediate pain. The truth is ice is just as beneficial for chronic, long term pain. Why? Obviously, swelling can occur for both chronic and acute pain, but another long term benefit of ice relates to the heart. The application of ice encourages blood flow to rush away from the inflamed area, then it encourages blood flow back to area, then away from the area again, and so forth. The benefit to this contrast in blood flow initially is that it encourages the removal of stagnant and possibly clotted blood. It then accelerates the rotation of healthy, nourished, oxygenated blood to the area. Similar to the role of Healthcare professional, Healthy blood flow is a primary conduit to healing. Therefore, ice heals!
Often heat, a form of Thermotherapy, is recommended 48 hours after an injury once it’s reached the chronic stage. After all, heat can be quite comforting and can also have somewhat of a numbing effect. Heat also encourages swelling. Swelling occurs to protect areas of pain because of trauma to the body. Another major source of pain is nerve impingement. Swelling can encourage pain due nerve impingement. Like a warm blanket, heat is soothing and emotionally comforting, but in actuality it does very little to physically heal.
The primary objection to Cryotherapy treatment is simply that it’s too cold. It’s not necessary to torture yourself. Do what’s comfortable for you. If necessary put a barrier between your skin such as a towel, or use the clothing that you are wearing. Rotate from one area to the other to minimize excess discomfort. What’s important is to ice often and to utilize it in a preventative manner. It’s common to see quarterbacks in football and pitchers in baseball have ice packs applied to their shoulder during post-game press interviews. That’s because they apply ice before and after activity to their source of pain as a regular regimen. It’s also reflects that timing is a priority regardless of other obligations such as a press conference. Use this as a multi-tasking example. You don’t have to change your life in lieu of preventative treatment. You can easily apply ice while watching TV, reading, or before bed time. Another complaint is that ice is wet and can be messy, the dreaded condensation. The simple solution is to buy a gel pack or two. Condensation is minimal, they are not as cold as pure ice, it prevents over icing as they thaw, and you can conveniently put it back in the freezer after use. It is recommended to clean the gel pack before putting it back in the freezer.
It’s time to stop relating ice to injuries only. Also use it for nagging pain relief as a preventative measure. Sore neck, feet, hands, knees, shoulders and hips may not initially feel better, but you should feel a difference within 24 hours. Regular treatment can make a huge difference, and a long term regimen may eventually alleviate the pain. Apply gel packs over your eyes and to the back of your head for sinus or headache relief.
Essentially, by embracing the benefits of Cryotherapy you are enabling yourself to manage pain that may lead to an occupational or sports injury. Thus, ultimately affecting our overall quality of life in a positive way.
It’s important to reinforce the fact that whatever choice a person makes in out sourcing pain management, the primary factor in long term pain alleviation is you, First, you must make the right choice of Healthcare professional for treatment and advice. Additionally, you must believe in the treatment to emotionally accept there is a possibility for recovery. Most importantly, for long term pain alleviation, you must take the advice seriously, and act upon the action plan prescribed. Look at it as your Healthcare professional is the conduit, but you are the power source. Remember, if you are not willing to take responsibility to make prescribed changes, expect the same pain to reoccur. Simply, if you are not holding yourself accountable, you have made the choice to live with the pain.
Yes, something as simple as ice can allow us to enjoy life to the fullest rather limit ourselves.

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