Cryotherapy is widely used as a beneficial treatment in both the early management and the rehabilitation of soft tissue injuries (Kennet, 2007). The temperature of the underlying tissues is reduced by the withdrawal of heat energy away from the body to achieve a therapeutic effect; reducing tissue temperature, blood flow, pain, and metabolism in the affected area. When Physicool is used correctly, the bandage will feel warm to the touch on the outside. This indicates that the coolant is evaporating and drawing heat away from the affected area.
Following the removal of a Physicool bandage, the cooling process within the deeper tissues will continue as the skin and superficial tissues rewarm by drawing heat from the deeper tissues. This transfers cooling to the underlying tissues (Kennet, 2007).
Cryotherapy has many well-documented benefits including:
- Effective reduction of pain and swelling, with few complications (Swensen, 1996)
- Localised analgesic effect around the affected area which helps control pain (Bleakley, 2007)
- Decreases oedema and tissue swelling (Bleakley 2007)