The use of cold temperatures for medical purposes has been common practice for a long time. The application of the cold, however, is developing rapidly. For years, simply putting ice in a bag, and wrapping a light towel around it has been used in many different sports for a quick treatment directly after an injury. But is cryotherapy beneficial after having an operation?
Depending on the injury, cryotherapy can be quite helpful. According to Washington University’s Orthopedics group, icing is a standard part of post-operative care for shoulder surgery. The ice helps with both reducing both pain and reducing swelling, which can result in a reduction of pain killers. As medicines often have frustrating or debilitating side effects, being able to use less medicine for a more natural pain reliever can be extremely beneficial. This is especially true if pain relievers can result in decreased mental capacity! There have been reported patients who suffered for weeks with hallucinations due to their pain medication. While the use of ice may not be able to completely replace pain medication, it is definitely a way to reduce the amount needed.
Pain is not the only thing that cryotherapy can help with. After an injury or surgery, the body often uses inflammation to help protect against infection, and to work on the recovery process. If inflammation is part of the recovery process why is it something that often seen as something negative that should be dealt with? As Jessie Szalay describes in her article with Live Science, ..”if the inflammatory process goes on for too long or if the inflammatory response occurs in places where it is not needed, it can become problematic.” When the body activates inflammation, it often hits a larger target area than is specifically needed, and then often lasts longer than necessary with today’s medicine. While the inflammation can fight the germs and potential infection, it can also damage the area it is located in. As such, reducing inflammation can help the body recover faster as it is no longer “doing battle” with potential germs in that area. Increased inflammation can also reduce the amount of mobility a patient can have while recovering. There have been reports of patients who have neglected icing that have had less mobility after surgery compared to those who do. Cryotherapy is a fantastic natural way to reduce inflammation in the body without having to use large numbers of anti-inflammatory medicines.
Essentially, cryotherapy is an effective means of reducing pain, swelling, and inflammation after having an operation. By reducing these symptoms, cryotherapy can also reduce the amount of medication needed to help you on your way to recovery. Who would have thought that simple cold would carry such helpful properties!
While cryotherapy is great, it can often be used in conjunction with another method known as compression. Check back in next week to learn more about how compression can help after surgery! Also, feel free to take a look at our products that can provide the cryotherapy relief your aching body needs while on the go!