In office, we have access to a variety of therapies to help your spine heal. Depending on your condition, one or more of the following may be recommended:
Cryotherapy (Cold Therapy)
Purpose: Cold therapy stimulates vasoconstriction, the narrowing of blood vessels to slow down blood circulation in an area.
- Cold therapy decreases pain and swelling after an injury.
- It is the preferred therapy for spinal pain within the first 72 hours.
- Cold reduces the flow of fluid into tissues and stunts the chemicals that inflame and cause pain.
- Cold decreases swelling and bleeding and nerve ending conduction of pain impulses.
- Deep tissue cooling with ice diminishes muscle spasm by lowering muscle contraction.
Note: If you have circulation issues, can’t feel cold or are allergic to cold, ice may not be the recommended therapy for you and may not be applied.
Application: A towel is always put between you and the cold pack. Since swelling and pain often accompany acute injury in the first 72 hours after an injury, ice only may be used. Ice reduces swelling and numbs the pain in short spurts like 10 minutes at a time.
Thermotherapy (Heat Therapy)
Purpose: Heat therapy fosters vasodilation, the widening of blood vessels to bring more blood to an area.
- Heat is typically sedating because of its nature to decrease the transmission of pain signals and ease tense muscles. It is soothing in cases of chronic aches and pains. Heat also reduces stiffness and adds flexibility, which is most important in a healthy back to help you regain your quality of life.
- HEAT APPLICATION IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR ACUTE INFLAMMATORY CONDITIONS, OVER AREAS OF NUMBNESS OR IMPAIRED SENSATION, CANCER AND OR AREAS IRRADIATED BY X-RAY THERAPIES, or IN CASES OF RECENT FEVER OR INFECTIONS.
- Heat enlarges blood vessels near a painful area, adding oxygen and nutrient flow to the muscles which helps heal damaged tissue.
- Heat also lowers stiffness and adds flexibility which is most important in a healthy back to help you regain your quality of life.
Application: In office, hot packs may be used on your spine with a towel around them for 8.5 to 30 minutes.
Cryotherapy/Thermotherapy Combined (Hot/Cold/Hot Therapy)
Purpose: Combining cryotherapy and thermotherapy is often recommended. This allows stimulation of blood flow by drawing blood into a swollen and painful area with heat and driving out the blood with an ice pack application.
Application: For most patients coming to our office, a 10 minute hot/10 minute cold/10 minute hot routine is used. This routine is known as the Hunting’s Effect whereby too long an ice session reflexively forces the blood back into the inflamed area causing more pain. Hunting’s Effect is useful to the body when you may find yourself in trouble of severe cold, but not when attempting to manage pain and swelling. Heat eases muscles and joints and cold drives out swelling. A balance of the two is best.
Purpose: Often this hot/cold/hot therapy is applied along with electrical stimulation which is extremely effective for your pain relief. This allows stimulation of blood flow by bringing blood into an irritated and painful area with heat and driving out the blood with ice pack application and nerve pain sedation with electrotherapy.
Application: Generally each modality with cryotherapy or thermotherapy is 10 minutes each but may vary depending on your condition.
(1) heat with electroptherapy
(2) cryotherapy with electrotherapy