Cryotherapy is a treatment option that uses freezing temperatures to alleviate pain. The freezing temperatures are done in a safe environment and localized to deaden an irritated nerve. Cryotherapy can also be used as a method of treating localized areas of some cancers and to treat abnormal skin cells. Cold therapy, such as the use of ice packs or ice baths, have been used for decades to heal injuries, promote weight loss, spot treat moles, warts, and cancer cells. Cryotherapy is a more advanced method of cold therapy and has been supported by the general public for decreased inflammation and increased metabolism.
In standard cryotherapy treatments, a probe is used and inserted into the tissue next to the affected nerve. The temperature of the probe will drop to effectively freeze the nerve. When this happens, the irritation and pain in the area will be relieved. The localized cryotherapy treatment is a safe and effective means of pain relief and promotes healing. Recently, whole body cryotherapy (WBC) has become more widely used approach to treatment. The process involves entering a specialized chamber to lower the temperature of the total body rather than just a localized area. A liquid nitrogen pumped into the chamber lowers the temperature below -200F. With safety in mind, an individual will only stay in the chamber for about 3 minutes. They’re also given booties, mittens, and sometimes a mask to protect them from sustaining frostbite. Because the amount of time in the chamber is minimal, and other precautions are taken, there is very low risk involved. A trained technician will also supervise the session. However, cryotherapy isn’t recommended for women who are pregnant or people with heart conditions.
Cryotherapy can effectively treat conditions which involve irritation of an isolated nerve. Such conditions can include benign nerve growths, pinched nerves, nerve entrapment, and neuromas. Although more studies need to be conducted on the exact benefits of cryotherapy, those who have done the treatments have expressed benefits such as:
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