Cryotherapy is a pain relief practice that’s seemingly as old as the stone age (or should we say the ice age?). Alongside cold therapy, chiropractic has been a traditional treatment for acute and chronic pain for decades. To capitalize on the benefits of both, chiropractors have valued the integration of cryotherapy into their clinics to extend the value of the treatments and services they provide.
“Cryotherapy is important,” said Dr. Jake LaVere of LaVere Performance Labs and LaVere Chiropractic. “As the inflammation increases in a certain joint, muscle spasms cause the joints not to work properly. If I don’t address the inflammation, then I’m doing the patient a disservice. Cryotherapy is fantastic because, when an area is inflamed, what we need to do is decrease the inflammation. The best way to do that is ice. Ice constricts the blood vessels which helps alleviates some of the inflammatory chemicals and decreases pain.”
The Key to Cryotherapy in Chiropractic: Keep it Simple
Dr. LaVere is right; one of the best ways to combat pain and inflammation is ice. However, studies show that Biofreeze topical analgesic outperforms ice in areas such as pain reduction (nearly two times more!), comfort, durability and overall preference.
These statistics make practical sense, too; would you rather have to manage lumpy ice packs with your patients, or would you rather rub, roll or spray some Biofreeze Professional on your patients? Yeah, we’d choose the latter as well. Driven by menthol-based cryotherapy and the Gate Control Theory, Biofreeze is backed by research and has been proven to be effective in areas such as delayed onset muscle soreness, arthritis pain and so much more. One study in particular showed that patients that used Biofreeze three times a day in between treatments saw more significant reductions in low back pain compared to the manipulation-only group.
When to Use Cryotherapy in Chiropractic
Within any given chiropractic appointment, there are five points of contact that are great times to facilitate Biofreeze cold therapy to your patients:
1. Pre-Treatment Pain Relief
Applying Biofreeze Professional before you even begin treating your patient can intercept some pain or discomfort straight out of the gate. “If I have somebody who is very hypersensitive, I might spray Biofreeze on them before I even start treating them to give them a counter-irritant to help desensitize the tissue, allowing me to do my manual work a little bit easier,” said Dr. Gregory Doerr DC, CCSP of Functional Soft Tissue. “It’s one way to help control their pain so that I can actually do more for them in a shorter period of time.”
2. During Treatment Pain Relief
If you do hands-on myofascial work frequently with instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM) tools or otherwise, you can integrate Biofreeze into your protocol to start pain relief when the treatment does. Luckily, the analgesic pairs perfectly with whatever oil, gel or emollient you chose. “I can put a little bit in some of my other gel, or use it as a standalone gel to work doing myofascial release,” said Dr. Jeffrey Tucker, a chiropractor based in Los Angeles.
3. Post-Treatment Pain Relief
No matter what combination of adjustment, manual therapy, exercise or other treatment method you choose, chances are your patients will be sore afterwards. Consider your patients’ high reactivity to your (appropriately) aggressive treatment and apply cryotherapy to alleviate any discomfort.
“We’ll use Biofreeze to help calm that area down so that their soreness decreases because of all the good anti-inflammatory principles that Biofreeze has on top of the menthol that help with pain control,” said Doerr. “We can use Biofreeze to help control some of that aggressive hypersensitivity and/or some of that post treatment soreness or inflammation that may have occurred during an aggressive soft tissue treatment.”
4. Additional Pain Relief in Conjunction with Kinesiology Taping
Pairing Biofreeze Professional and kinesiology tape together is a timeless combination for powerful pain relief. However, Dr. Doerr uses Biofreeze and kinesiology tape together for a unique, longer-lasting reason.
“I’ll use the Biofreeze almost like a dermal patch on my tape,” said Doerr. “The interesting thing is, when you spray it right over the kinesiology tape, it literally will soak into the tape so it will get to the skin and create that cooling sensation right then and there. But the Biofreeze sinks into the tape. So when the patient takes a shower the next day and their pores open in their skin again they’ll actually feel that menthol cooling sensation happen all over again right underneath the tape area. So Biofreeze can be used partially as almost like a non-prescription dermal patch for our patients.That allows them to get the reactivity of that menthol throughout the day continuously in just a single application.
5. At-Home Pain Relief
Clinical retailing is a staple in the majority of independent chiropractic clinics. Whether you are selling product or sampling, make sure that your patients always leave your office knowing they have pain relief reinforcement between visits.
“A lot of my patients will purchase Biofreeze in my office, and then at home they can use the it to help control some of the soreness during activities,” said Doerr. “Whether they may be going for a long walk or maybe they went to the gym or they’re just getting back from post-surgery, they can use that help monitor and control some of the pain that they’re having because you can’t overdose on Biofreeze. You can continually use it throughout the day and through activity to help control some of that pain relief.”
A Solid (or Not So Solid) Backup Plan
If you’re still more inclined to use ice packs in your clinic, that’s alright too. To get the most bang for your buck, grab yourself the whole line of malleable TheraPearl hot and cold packs. Each pack delivers cold therapy for the doctor recommended 20 minutes with no need for a barrier between the pack and the skin. Even better, each pack comes with elastic straps to hold it in place, making the entire line of TheraPearl products more convenient, portable and accessible than the traditional ice bag.
The Pain Relief Dream Team
Chiropractic and cryotherapy is a combination pain sufferers everywhere can be confident with. Using Biofreeze Professional or TheraPearl instead of ice can help you elevate your patient care by providing compact, trustworthy and successful methods of cold therapy that work quickly and effectively. To learn more about how to get Biofreeze and TheraPearl into your clinic, contact your distributor for detailed sizing, pricing and product information. Additionally, visit SaferPainRelief.org for additional tools to help facilitate non-prescription pain management recommendations to your patients.