Cryotherapy is the use of cold in the treatment of acute and sub acute injury as well as to decrease the discomfort after athletic reconditioning. The most common cryotherapy tools used at Recovery Physical Therapy include ice packs, and ice massage; used alone or in combination with electrical currents.
Cryotherapy generally produces a three to four stage sensation; first an uncomfortable sensation of cold, followed by a stinging, then burning or aching feeling and finally a numbness. Generally, a minimum of 10-15 minutes is required to achieve an extreme analgesic (pain relieving) effect while lowering the temperature to the injured area, thus reducing the metabolic rate and swelling associated with tissue injury. Cold is extremely useful in the acute phase of common inflammatory conditions such
as bursitis, tenosynovitis, and tendonitis.