Thermotherapy (from the Greek word termos = hot) is part of physiotherapy, which studies the effect of thermal energy to the body and the possibility of its application to certain diseases and conditions. Heat in the body may be administered locally or all over the body. Creating heat in the body can be on the outside (with the adoption of heat directly to the body) and in the creation of heat inside, as a result of conversion of electromagnetic energy (electromagnetic diathermy).
Local action of heat: accelerating metabolic reactions and increased oxygen consumption (for each increased degree of the body, there is an increase in metabolism by 13% - Van Hoff law), increasing the regenerative processes in a way that increases oxygenation tissue (at 41 degrees Celsius, hemoglobin is released from blood faster and twice more and two times faster).
Thermal therapeutic procedures are divided into superficial and deep.
Superficial treatment includes procedures such as warm wrappings, paraffin, and other materials with the ability to gradually and evenly transmit the absorbed heat. This includes irradiation with an infrared lamp.
Deep thermal treatment procedures include procedures of converting other forms of energy in the body into heat (short waves, microwaves and ultrasound).
Indications for the application of thermotherapy are: degenerative diseases (and beyond hinge joint rheumatism), conditions after injury, lighter circulation disorders, spasms of smooth and transverse muscles, damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, chronic gynecological and urological diseases.
Contraindications of the use of thermotherapy are: local infections, inflammation and general contraindications of physical agents (infectious disease, severe heart disease, bleeding, pregnancy, cancer, etc.).
Cryotherapy with a therapeutic procedure in which body heat is excerpted from the body, using the ice or water with temperature ranging from 0 to 4 degrees or some other device with similar characteristics. Cryotherapy is applied only as a local procedure, and for a few minutes since longer application can cause damage to the skin and subcutaneous tissue.
In physical medicine, cryotherapy is applied in the form of the following procedures: local wrapping a plastic bag filled with small pieces of ice packs previously chilled, or the same low temperature is achieved by some chemical processes in the packing. The bag is placed on the desired area. Another method of administration is a massage with a cube of ice for 3 to 5 minutes on the affected area, until the occurrence of the subjective feeling of heartburn. Probes are applied as well, in which cooling is performed using the medium, cooled in a special device.
Chilled medium, using a system of elastic tubs, is then transferred to the probe - an applicator, with which the massaging of the sore spot is done.
Indications for the application of cryotherapy are: closed injury, pain and swelling at the inflammation of joints, changes in muscle tone in central nervous system disease.
Contraindications of cryotherapy are: all general contraindications of physical agents, disease of the peripheral blood vessels, increased sensitivity to cold, previous frostbites on the administration site, impaired sensitivity.