Cryotherapy -

term used to include any use of ice or cold application for therapeutic purposes. The therapeutic application of a substance, which causes the withdrawal of heat from the body, can be classified as cryotherapy.

Physiological Effects -

- Decrease local tissue temperature
- Decrease capillary permeability
- Vasoconstriction
- Decrease blood flow secondary to arterial and capillary vasoconstriction
- Decrease edema formation
- Decrease local tissue metabolism
- Decreased inflammation
- Decreased nerve conduction velocity
- Increase pain threshold
- Decrease muscle spindle firing
- Decrease muscle spasticity spasm
- Increase joint stiffness
- Causes vasodilation (Huntings Response)

Therapeutic Effects -

- Decrease muscle tone
- Decrease pain
- Decrease bleeding and edema
- Decrease inflammation
- Decrease tissue metabolism

Indications -

- Sprains, strains, contusions, and soft tissue injuries to decrease edema formation, bleeding and to reduce the acute inflammation phase
- To reduce muscle spasms
- Prior to stretching
- Prior to ROM exercises

Contraindications -

- Rheumatoid conditions if an increase in pain and joint stiffness is noted
- Raynaud's Phenomenon
- Hypersensitivity
- Sensory Impairment
- Circulatory Impairment

Methods of Application -

- Ice Bag
- Cold or Gel Pack
- Ice Water Immersion
- Vapocoolant Spray
- Cold Whirlpool
- Ice Massage
- Compressure
- Ice Towel
- Ice Slush Bath
- Contrast Bath
- Other, ie. Biofreeze