When you experience musculoskeletal pain, whether it is from acute injuries or chronic disease, temperature therapy should be part of your pain management strategy. Depending on the exact type of pain, there are several types of temperature treatment you can use from.
An infrared sauna is often preferred over a traditional sauna because it does not use high heat and steam, which means it is better tolerated for most people. The infrared light penetrates deep within the tissues, so it has a more profound impact on musculoskeletal pain. People generally use the sauna after intense exercise because the infrared light works well to reduce sore muscles and minimize delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Avoiding DOMS will speed recovery from your exercise session so you can adhere to your exercise schedule. Heat also works well for arthritic pain. Due to the ability of infrared light to penetrate deep within the tissues, it also helps improve blood circulation. Better circulation can increase the body's natural healing properties after injury.
Hydrotherapy can be warm or cool, but more often the water is heated. There are multiple benefits to hydrotherapy. Heated water can reduce soreness and help relax muscles, which may be especially important for people who have muscle spasms or pain due to tightening of the muscles. Although heated water can improve arthritic pain, it also has the advantage of reducing stiffness that may be seen in osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. People with arthritis might also use hydrotherapy as a way to exercise the affected joints since moving in water has less impact on joints. Warm water is associated with relaxation, which can also indirectly reduce muscle pain by alleviating stress.
Cryotherapy involves a special chamber that is extremely cold. People who use cryotherapy generally use the treatment after intense exercise. When a chamber is not available, there are other ways to create a similar treatment. People that do not have access to a cryotherapy chamber will use a large tub filled with water and ice and sit in the tub for a few minutes. Cryotherapy can work well for reducing inflammation and swelling. Although cryotherapy is associated with a reduction in arthritis pain, some people with osteoarthritis may find the cold causes their joints to ache. When using cryotherapy, you only need to be in the chamber for a few minutes, or as long as you can tolerate, to reap the benefits.
Temperature is one of the best defenses against musculoskeletal pain. Trying different approaches will help you determine what temperature works best for your needs.