Neck pain is a very common issue that affects lots of people for different reasons, and the resulting symptoms can range from mild to debilitating.
Cold therapies such as ice packs and ice baths have been used for a long time to treat this issue but research is now showing that consistent sessions of Whole Body Cryotherapy and Targeted Cryotherapy can be effective in alleviating pain and reducing healing times.
By exposing the affected tissues and muscles to extremely cold temperatures, these treatments encourage blood flow to the area, providing oxygen and nutrients to aid in recovery.
CAN CRYOTHERAPY HELP REDUCE NECK PAIN?
Both Whole Body Cryotherapy and Targeted Cryotherapy have been shown to be effective in the reduction of mechanical neck pain and can aid in recovery from strains, sprains, sports injuries, back and shoulder pain, and other ailments.
This type of cold therapy has also been used in the treatment of chronic inflammation for conditions like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Targeted Cryotherapy and Whole Body Cryotherapy relieve pain in the neck by reducing the temperature of the affected tissue, which can have long-lasting therapeutic effects and lead to a reduction in pain intensity.
These treatments have an analgesic effect that decreases muscle soreness and reduces inflammation whilst encouraging the movement of cellular waste and fluid away from the painful tissue.
CRYOTHERAPY FOR NECK PAIN: HOW DOES THE PROCEDURE WORK?
Cryotherapy has been used for a long time as a treatment for pain relief in soft tissues and muscles. Traditionally, the method of application was an ice pack, ice massage, or cold water immersion but it is now common for Whole Body Cryotherapy to be used as well as Targeted Cryotherapy.
Both methods involve exposure to extreme cold for a maximum of 3 minutes which reduces the temperature of the tissues, causing vasoconstriction and leading to an increase in their metabolic rate.
This reduces pain and spasms by reducing inflammation and acts as an analgesic through a decrease in the nerve conduction.
These therapeutic effects of cryotherapy make it very beneficial as a source of pain relief, particularly when focused on specific areas such as the neck.
Targeted Cryotherapy is similar to other benefits of cryotherapy but it targets one specific area rather than exposing the whole body to cold temperatures.
Other methods utilize ice packs or vapo-coolant sprays but Targeted Cryotherapy uses a handheld device in order to lower the body temperature and reduce pain in the target area.
Whole Body Cryotherapy is performed inside a cryotherapy chamber where the temperature is reduced to -85 degrees, exposing the entire body to extreme cold. This is highly effective for pain relief throughout the body, including the neck, and has many other benefits.
This form of cryotherapy reduces inflammation and recovery time after periods of intense exercise and can even help to relieve the symptoms of anxiety disorders and improve sleep.
THE BENEFITS OF CRYOTHERAPY FOR NECK PAIN
INCREASES RANGE OF MOTION
Both Targeted Cryotherapy and Whole Body Cryotherapy improve flexibility and range of motion over the course of treatment. Muscle tension is relieved around the neck leading to enhanced mobility and pain relief in the affected area.
A single session of cryotherapy has been shown to improve range of motion, but consistent treatment is vital for the effects to be long-lasting.
SOOTHES SKIN AND MUSCLES
Cryotherapy causes the skin temperature to drop by at least 15 degrees which causes a soothing effect releasing tension from muscles and tissues.
Localized cryotherapy only reduces the temperature in the target area, such as the neck, whereas Whole Body Cryotherapy brings the temperature of the entire body down, which means that all areas are similarly affected.
HELPS FIGHT INFLAMMATION
One of the main benefits of cryotherapy treatment is that it helps in reducing inflammation by increasing the levels of anti-inflammatory interleukins through the exposure of tissues to extremely low temperatures.
PROVIDES PAIN RELIEF
Cryotherapy is used for pain relief due to its analgesic effects which are known to relieve muscle soreness and pain in the joint. A course of treatment can help reduce the pressure pain threshold in the affected area, and localized cryotherapy shows the most promising results for this.
REDUCES RECOVERY TIME AND THE REPAIR PROCESS
Cryotherapy reduces the recovery time from acute neck injuries by encouraging the rapid circulation of blood to the area that has been cooled. This helps to provide fresh nutrients to the damaged tissue speeding up the repair process and helping the body heal more quickly.
CRYOTHERAPY FOR NECK PAIN: WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH SAY?
There have been numerous scientific studies on the use of cryotherapy to treat localised pain and most of them have concluded that it is an effective course of treatment in aiding recovery and reducing both inflammation and pain.
Depending on the method of application the effects can vary, but this is more the case with traditional cold therapies such as ice packs and cold water immersion.
Whole Body and Targeted Cryotherapy have great results for the treatment of pain as they can generate extremely low temperatures.
CRYOTHERAPY FOR NECK PAIN: IS IT THE RIGHT TREATMENT FOR YOU?
Cryotherapy can be used to treat a variety of different forms of neck pain, such as:
- Chronic pain – this is pain in the neck where the underlying source may not be clear and persists even with medication and treatment.
- Neck injury – pain that’s the result of a specific injury you’ve sustained.
- Soreness and fatigue – short-term pain that arises from overuse during sport and exercise.
- Chronic health issues – pain that’s related to health conditions such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis.
Cryotherapy can be beneficial for people with any of these forms of neck pain and trying a session is usually the best way to know what the results will be for your specific issue.
IS CRYOTHERAPY GOOD FOR A PINCHED NERVE?
Cryotherapy may be beneficial in treating pinched nerves as it is often used to relieve the painful symptoms of isolated and irritated nerves.
HOW MANY CRYOTHERAPY SESSIONS DOES IT TAKE TO SEE RESULTS?
There is no guarantee of how many cryotherapy sessions it will take to relieve pain in the neck as there are many different causes and varying severity of symptoms.
Many people feel the benefits immediately but for long-lasting pain relief, it’s important to have consistent sessions over a prolonged period.
HOW LONG DO THE EFFECTS OF CRYOTHERAPY LAST?
After a cryotherapy session, the beneficial effects of pain relief, reduced inflammation, and a feeling of well-being can often last for up to 8 hours after the session is completed.
DO DOCTORS RECOMMEND CRYOTHERAPY?
Cryotherapy procedures that immerse the whole body are not considered to be medical treatments but are recommended as supplementary therapies for the relief of pain.
For those experiencing neck pain, whether that’s caused by a chronic neck issue, an injury or fatigue related to exercise, cryotherapy has been shown to have positive results when applied through consistent sessions.
As well as alleviating pain, it also helps with recovery and speeds up the healing process, which can lead to a faster return to normal, everyday activity and exercise.