Pros And Cons Of Thermotherapy And Cryotherapy

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These types of modalities have been around for almost a century and are still being used to this day. They are used in our everyday lives whether it is at home, a clinic, or even taught in a classroom. When people think of reasons to use heat and ice, the first thought that comes to their mind is for soft tissue injuries whether it is to decrease swelling with an ice bag or to increase range of motion by dilating the blood vessels with a heat pack. However, heat and ice in today’s world are not just being used for injuries like in the past. They are being applied to assist patients that are in rehab and particularly for patients with joint pain instead of using injections. There is persistent research as to how thermotherapy and cryotherapy …show more content…
Both heat and cold treatment are the two most typical form of “noninvasive and nonaddictive pain-relief therapies”4 for joint pain. Cryotherapy assists reduction of inflammation and slows down edema formation. It minimizes the “rate that the nerve impulses are transmitted and increases the depolarization threshold required to initiate the impulse.”5(pg119) Cryotherapy also reaches a depth of about five centimeters into the tissues. However, cryotherapy does have an effect on proprioception in the joints in which the patient is unable to feel what movements they are performing such as a knee squat because they are numb. Cold therapy can decrease function of the joint because it constricts the muscles around it which can make it difficult to flex or extend a specific joint such as the elbow. Thermotherapy decreases joint contractures which increases range of motion in the joint. It dilates the blood vessels so that blood flow can be increased. Thermotherapy reaches a depth of about two to three centimeters into the tissues. Heat therapy, however, should not be used after a workout or exercise because it will increase tissue temperature even more than it already is and can increase the …show more content…
It is most common in older patients, but can transpire in younger patients as well. Joint pain can ensue in the ankle, knee, hip, elbow, and the shoulder. There are two different kinds of joint pain, which are arthralgia and arthritis. Arthralgia is when there is just discomfort in the joints while arthritis is when there is swelling in the joints. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis which is a condition that occurs whenever the articular cartilage between the two bones begins to wear away. The purpose of articular cartilage is to protect the ends of the bones and cushion them so they can glide, slide, and roll over each other with ease. However, when the articular cartilage wears away, it can cause the bones to rub against each other, triggering the pain and inflammation in the joint. A few symptoms are pain, swelling, tight joint, and decreased range of motion. There are several ways to treat joint pain. The most frequently used treatment is a corticosteroid injection. While this method does work, there are some side effects that can make the patient’s condition worse. Some of the reactions to the injection are “nerve damage, thinning of nearby bone, and infection.”6 The other method of treating joint pain is through heat and cold therapy. While this method will not always work immediately, it is much safer, inexpensive, and just as

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