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Treatment Techniques: Cryotherapy

Continuing in our series of treatment techniques, the next treatment to discuss (which seems fitting in this cold weather spell we are experiencing) is cryotherapy. This is a simple, yet very effective technique for managing symptoms such as swelling and aiding pain relief.

Now, these photos and videos of Sally’s brother, Alfred, enjoying the snow may not be exactly the meaning of cryotherapy or cold therapy- but they are far too cute not to squeeze into this post!

What is Cryotherapy?

Cryotherapy, or more simply put- cold therapy- is the application of cold or low temperatures. Cryotherapy can be used to treat several tissue lesions and is very useful after surgery or to reduce swelling from trauma.

Cryotherapy can come in many different forms, such as cold water spas/ cold immersion for horses, but it can also be as simple as wrapping some frozen peas in a tea towel and placing it on the affected area or cold hosing a tendon, they all give off the similar effects.

How does it work?

Cryotherapy is believed to decrease blood flow from vasoconstriction which causes reduced swelling and inflammation. It is also thought to reduce sensory and motor neurone conduction velocity, which allows for pain relief. This can also aid in the reduction of muscle spasm.

To conclude, when used appropriately, cryotherapy or cold therapy is a very useful but simple technique used mainly to reduce inflammation and pain, and can be a helpful component in the rehabilitation process of your animal, or to help recovery during training and competition.

Next week I shall be discussing the opposite- heat therapy- with its many uses and benefits.

If you have any queries on whether your animal may benefit from veterinary physiotherapy, or would like to make an appointment, you can contact me by phone, email, or visiting my website where you can find more of my contact details.

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