371 subjects were randomly assigned heat wrap, acetaminophen, ibuprofen or oral placebo. It was found that pain relief, muscle stiffness, lateral trunk flexibility and disability had the most significant improvements in the group subjected to the heat wrap, proving that thermotherapy is far superior over medication to treat low back pain.
76 patients suffering from acute low back pain were randomly treated with overnight heat wrap, oral placebo, unheated wrap or oral ibuprofen for three consecutive days. The subjects who were treated with overnight heat wrap reported effective pain relief that sustained for more than 48 hours after treatment, and experienced lessen muscle stiffness and better trunk flexibility.
34 patients with knee osteoarthritis underwent five treatment protocols in one-week blocks – cold, warm and contrast (alternating cold and warm) using a water circulating system, heat applied with an electric heating pad and no treatment (control). 48% of the subjects preferred the warm treatment, and the cold and contrast protocols garnered equal preference of 24%. While pain reduction was experienced for each treatment, it was most significant with the patient’s preferred treatment.
518 patients underwent cryolipolysis (cold treatment) and experienced a 23% reduction in fat layer after three months. No adverse side effects occurred and 86% of the subjects showed improvements based on researchers’ assessment.
60 patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis underwent three treatment protocols – hot, cold and contrast. At the end of the study, the greatest relief of symptoms and pain was achieved with contrast therapy, which consisted of 4 minutes of heat, 1 minute of no treatment and then two minutes of cold. This was repeated 3 times in a 21-minute session.The study also suggests that patient preference of treatment protocol may affect the results.
The study evaluated the effects of low heat application for the prevention and early phase treatment (up to 48 hours post-exercise) of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) of the low back. In the prevention group, pain intensity, disability and deficits in physical function were reduced by 47%, 52.3% and 45% respectively with the heat wrap. In the post-exercise group, pain relief with the heat wrap was 138% better than with the cold pack.
100 subjects with low back pain of less than 3 months were randomized to four groups – heat wrap therapy, directional preference-based exercise, combination of heat wrap and exercise and control – for five consecutive days of treatment. The results showed that combining heat wrap therapy with exercise significantly improved functional outcomes compared to other sole interventions.
This study used visual analog scales to evaluate the efficacy of cryotherapy for post-operative shoulder recovery. From the 50 subjects, the group that underwent cryotherapy reported “less severe pain, less frequent pain, better sleep and less perceived need for pain meds.”
In Group 1, 51 patients underwent cold therapy constantly for 3 days and then as needed in days 4 to 7. In Group 2,49 patients did not receive cold therapy. Results showed that continuous-flow cold therapy lowered VAS and Likert scores, reduced Vicodin use, increased prone hangs, CPM, and knee flexion.
The study involved patients who under went anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. For 7 consecutive days, one group was assigned continuous-flow cold therapy to the knee and the other was assigned crushed iced. The group using continuous-flow therapy showed “lowered VAS and Likert pain scores more, reduced hydrocodone bitartrate with acetaminophen use, was used more often, increased continuous passive motion, increased 1-week knee flexion…”