Compression and You
Last week we reviewed how cryotherapy is a great tool for reducing pain and swelling after an injury or operation. Along with cryotherapy, compression is another fantastic tool for protecting your body after surgery. One of the most commonly used tools for compression is compression stockings. These products are often used by athletes to promote circulation as they work on getting their bodies in top shape. It is also common practice for surgery patients to be hooked up with similar devices after their surgery is complete. But if utilizing compression for post operative recovery and athletic training are common place, what exactly does compression do?
According to MedlinePlus compression is used to gently apply pressure to get your blood circulating. This helps prevent some swelling, as well as helping prevent blood clots. Compression can also help with the heavy feeling one can get in their legs after working hard. While not a perfect solution on its own, compression helps mitigate these issues, reducing a patient’s reliance on pain medication. As I mentioned with cryotherapy, while medication has its place, being able to use less medication is almost always a better solution.
Why would compression lessening blood clots be such a benefit? Blood clotting is our body's natural solution to repairing cuts and scrapes. When you cut your finger, a blood clot is what forms to stop the bleeding. This is most commonly referred to as a scab. However, while blood clots are the natural defense to bleeding, the body sometimes messes this process up (like it does when the body sends too much inflammation in reaction to an infection). The body can form blood clots inside of your blood vessels even when there is no cut injury involved. Normally a blood clot will be dissolved naturally when the need is gone. Clots in the vessels however, do not always dissolve naturally. As the clot builds up, it closes off part of the blood vessel, slowing the return of blood to your heart. This is were things can become dangerous. The longer the clot goes unnoticed, the more it builds up, restricting more and more blood flow to the heart. If the clot manages to break free, and then get stuck in a more vital blood vessel, things can take a turn for the worst. (HealthLine)
Because of these dangers, compression is often used after a surgery. According to a study by Russell D. Hull, utilizing intermittent compression reduced the frequency of both “Proximal vein and calf vein thrombosis, (a condition where multiple large blood clots begin causing problems in the blood stream). Some of the potential side effects of blood clots can be quite deadly. Left untreated, blood clots that break off and flow to the lungs can cut off the blood flow to the lungs, resulting in damage to many major organs. Blood clots are even known to have caused heart attacks, and strokes.
With compression being such a useful tool to protect patients and athletes in training, it is no wonder it is so common today. As technology races forward, more ways are being discovered to utilize both compression and cryotherapy in protecting and helping patients around the world. The question is, if cryotherapy and compression are great alone, is there more to be gained from combining them into one treatment? We believe this to be the case at CoolCorp Inc. Come back next week as we take a look at the benefits of combined cryotherapy and compression! Also check out our cryotherapy compression products so you can be ready for your road to recovery.