The 411 on Cold Therapy

Cold therapy Treatment

How it works:

Cold therapy treatment  is also known as cryotherapy. It works by reducing blood flow to a particular area, which can significantly reduce inflammation and swelling that causes pain, especially around a joint or a tendon. It can temporarily reduce nerve activity, which can also relieve pain.


There are a number of different ways to apply cold therapy to an affected area. Treatment options include:

Other types of cold therapy that are sometimes used include:

  • cryostretching, which uses cold to reduce muscle spasms during stretching
  • cryokinetics, which combines cold treatment and active exercise and can useful for ligament sprains
  • whole-body cold therapy chambers

When not to use:

People with sensory disorders that prevent them from feeling certain sensations should not use cold therapy at home because they may not be able to feel if damage is being done. This includes diabetes, which can result in nerve damage and lessened sensitivity.

You should not use cold therapy on stiff muscles or joints. Cold therapy should not be used if you have poor circulation.