Temperature therapy involves the use of heat or cold to reduce pain. Heat therapy relaxes stiff joints and muscles; whereas, cold therapy numbs acute pain and reduces inflammation. Switching between heat and cold therapy can help reduce certain types of pain.
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Heat therapy increases the temperature of the targeted area, improving circulation and blood flow. This can soothe stiff joints and increase muscle flexibility. Heat therapy may involve dry heat, such as a heating pad, or moist heat, such as steamed towels.
Cold therapy is used to decrease blood flow to a targeted area which can reduce inflammation and swelling, particularly around a joint or tendon. Cryotherapy involves the use of freezing or near-freezing temperatures and is a relatively new therapy. Cryotherapy is generally safe but should only be done at a facility under proper supervision. Whole-body cryotherapy should never be done without another person present.
Source: WebMD, Healthline, Everyday Health
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Physical therapy can help restore movement and function for pain patients disabled by injury or disease. Therapy should be tailored to a patient’s condition and pain level. Physical therapy treatments may include a combination of stretching, strengthening, and aerobic conditioning.