To know what to expect from cryotherapy, it is important to first understand what it is. Cryotherapy is a medical treatment which uses extremely low temperatures to numb damaged nerves and used to treat some forms of cancer like prostate cancer. It is widely used to relieve muscles in pain, sprains and soft tissue swelling.
How it works
A blunt surgical instrument is inserted into the ailing area and the temperature of the instrument or probe is lowered to freezing point to inactivate the nerve, which in turn relieves the pain. Cryotherapy is an effective and safe way of treating nerve irritation. The therapy lasts for an average of 10 minutes and no adverse effects are experienced. Cryotherapy may also use sprays for short-term relief, numbing the skin surface leading to pain relief. The number of sessions is determined by the intensity of the ailment and the expected recovery time.
What Cryotherapy treats
Cryotherapy basically treats irritated and isolated nerves. Such conditions may include non-cancerous nerve growth and gripped nerves. Athletes are using cryotherapy to treat delayed muscle soreness after exercise. Lowering tissue and muscle temperature stimulates adrenaline excretion thus relaxing muscles. It is also used to treat most skin diseases like moles, where the skin tissue is frozen at a cellular level.
Side effects of Cryotherapy
Though it is mostly beneficial, cryotherapy can sometimes leave muscle tissue with numbness or tingling sensation, or a red color and irritated skin. Full body cryotherapy, which uses liquid nitrogen might lead to frostbite if it exceeds five minutes, but all the effects are temporary. To avoid extreme damage during Cryotherapy sessions, patients are advised to ensure their clothing and skin is completely dry and that jewelry is removed. The protocol also states that any sensitive area should be covered using ear muffs, gloves and masks.
Cryotherapy areas like CryoNC located in Ayres Chiropractic and Sports in North Carolina offers the whole-body cryotherapy using liquid nitrogen vapor for a more effective and efficient 3-minute session. This avoids cases of frostbite and targets the weak areas of the body, reducing recovery time.