How Important is Heat and Cryotherapy Together?

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Importance of Heat and Cryotherapy

Do you ever wonder when to use heat or ice when you are in pain? Or why? Chambers Medical Group, one of the highest rated auto injury care providers, offers a variety of treatments and therapies utilizing heat and ice. Dr. Chandra Cunningham, a member of the Greater Louisville CMG team, expounds on the importance of heat and cryotherapy.

There are four ways heat is transferred: conduction, convection, radiation and conversion. Conduction is when heat is transferred from a hot object to a colder object, such as when hot packs are put on the body. Convection is when heat is transferred by the movement of fluid, such as the warmer blood circulating from the heat from the hot packs. Radiation uses electromagnetic waves to transfer heat. Microwave diathermy therapy uses microwaves to heat the body, an example of radiation heat transfer. Conversion heating occurs when non-thermal energy is absorbed and transferred into heat, such as in ultrasound therapy.

Heat therapy is used in subacute and chronic conditions of joints and muscles. Heat helps increase blood flow by dilating blood vessels and increasing circulation. This helps to promote tissue healing by bringing blood and nutrients to the area. When using hot packs, use a layer of towel between the hot pack and the body area. Hot packs can be left on the body for 15-20 minutes and the skin color should turn pink. If the skin turns red, the hot pack may be too hot for the area being treated and more towel layers may be needed.

Heat should not be used when the area is inflamed, has an open wound, or during the acute phase after an injury. People with peripheral vascular diseases, such as in Raynaud’s Syndrome or arterial blockage, or malignancies should not use heat.

There are four stages the skin experiences during cold therapy: CBAN-Cold, Burning/Prickling, Aching, and Numbness. Cold therapy is used in the acute phase after trauma but can also be used for chronic pain. Cold constricts the blood vessels, which helps to reduce inflammation, inhibit bleeding and bring down fevers. Cold packs should have a layer of towel between it and the body area and can be applied for 15-20 minutes.

Cold therapy should not be used over open wounds, on people who are hypersensitive to cold, or have difficulty feeling cold sensation.

If you are in doubt if you should use ice or heat, please contact your healthcare professional for advice.

— This article is written by Chandra Cunningham, DC, one of the members of Chambers Medical Group’s team of car accident chiropractors who offer a variety of treatments and therapies ranging from diagnostic testing to various soft tissue therapies for car accidents and injuries in Kentucky.





















































Have you been in a car accident? If you or somebody you know has been in a car accident, be sure that you seek medical attention from a car accident doctor or car accident chiropractor to treat your injuries. Visit Chambers Medical Group  to receive world-class medical treatment for your injuries.

Chambers Medical Group has car accident medical clinics in the following locations:

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