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The term cryotherapy refers to the application of ice, cold towels, ice massage, or other cold compressors to reduce the temperature of involved tissues.  The therapy is applied directly on the surface of the skin.  The surface cooling helps reduce swelling, constrict blood vessels, and helps to reduce numbness and pain.  Cryotherapy can be used to help reduce muscle spasms if there is associated edema.  The application of cold temperatures helps reduce nerve transmission thus reducing pain and the intensity of paresthesia.  Ice is most often used to manage acute or recent onset injury as well as acute exacerbation of a chronic condition.  Cooling the involved tissues helps reduce and prevent post-traumatic swelling.  Cryotherapy can be applied several times a day during the initial stages of an injury.  Cryotherapy is inexpensive and readily available.  It is a cost efficient way to help reduce local swelling or inflamed tissues and can be utilized by the patient at home.

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