The literal meaning of the term cryotherapy is “cold therapy”. It is a process in which human anatomy is introduced to extremely cold temperatures, as cold as -166⁰ F to -360⁰F which is approximately around 3 to 5 minutes.
During this process the blood rushes to the core in order to maintain body temperature. This primarily occurs when the flood is forced to flow due to the compression of the peripheral tissues. Thus the human body constricts which, in turn, induces the removal of harmful toxins. A complete restoration of the body’s primary functions is experienced.
Benefits of Cryotherapy
Cryotherapy is known to remove damaged or abnormal tissues in our body and comes with many benefits.
- It is usually done without open surgery and most people recover quickly from the therapy without much pain.
- It reduces inflammation, swelling, and pain in our bodies.
- It helps to reduce weight.
- It boosts your metabolism.
- It enhances your immune system by supporting the detoxification process.
- It also stimulates the brain to produce endorphins which reduce stress-causing hormones called cortisol.
- It increases blood circulation
- It decreases fatigue.
- It numbs the nerves reducing acute and chronic nerve pain
Cryotherapy for Knee Inflammation and Pain
After a knee replacement or a knee surgery, the swelling in the leg may take a while to dissipate. This is because the blood vessels in the veins that return deoxygenated blood to the heart can only push a circulated amount at a time. And with the surgery being done on the lower side of the body, gravity can also decrease circulation.
This causes pooling, which is the accumulation of blood in parts of the venous system, of the inflammation further down the leg. For this, compression is done. This improves recirculation of the blood by increasing the pressure, giving the veins the extra boost it requires to flow towards the heart.
How Does It Work?
Cryotherapy can be applied to your whole body or any part of the body causing you discomfort.
When the extremely cold temperature touches the skin, it numbs your skin and stimulates hormonal responses prompting antioxidants and anti-inflammatory norepinephrine release that causes the pain and inflammation to decrease.
With the pain and swelling subsiding, cryotherapy makes other physical therapy more bearable. The reduction of inflammation allows you to move your knee more freely and with little to no pain.
After therapy and a process called vasoconstriction, the blood vessels open up releasing rich-oxygenated molecules to return to the knee which in turn contributes to the healing process.
Localized cryotherapy can also be applied through the process of using ice packs, ice massage, coolant sprays, and other such methods. Cryotherapy is a great way to reduce inflammation and pain in your body. To get started, find a reputable knee specialist or a good cryotherapy clinic. In India, we have Dr Niraj Vora. A gold medallist Orthopaedic surgeon based in Mumbai. He is regarded to be the best knee specialist and the best knee surgeon in India.