Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease where cartilage between the joints wears down. This disease affects over 27 million Americans, and it can make day-to-day activities difficult to complete. Cartilage is a firm rubbery material that provides a smooth, gliding material for the joints. The cartilage in people with osteoarthritis has been worn very thin causing pain and swelling.
Cryotherapy can help ease the pain of osteoarthritis during different stages of the disease. In the beginning stages of osteoarthritis, the elasticity of the cartilage decreases because of lack of water. This lack of water makes it harder for nutrients to travel to the joint to help it heal, and it also causes more pressure on the joint. Cryotherapy can help by improving the flow of water, nutrient, and oxygen supply to the cartilage, therefore giving the joint greater mobility. As the disease progresses, the mobility of the joints decrease. The graphic below shows how Cryotherapy can help during each of the progressing stages of osteoarthritis:
Cryotherapy helps decrease the chronic inflammation in the joints and provide pain relief throughout the body to improve a patient’s mobility. Cryotherapy treatment can be provided throughout all stages of the disease. However, in order to see the best results it is recommended that cryotherapy treatments begin in the early stages of osteoarthritis when the joints are still mobile in order to delay the progress of the disease.
Whole Body Cryotherapy is a wonderful tool to help treat patients with osteoarthritis through each stage of the disease. One study tested the frequency and intensity of pain after 10 days of Whole Body Cryotherapy treatments. Fifty adults with varying stages of osteoarthritis were asked to complete the 10-day therapy and report on their frequency and intensity of pain, frequency of painkiller use, and their degree of mobility before and after treatments. 78% of the patients reported a significant improvement and 18% reported improvement after treatments. Only 4% of patients reported no improvement after treatments. The study concluded that Whole Body Cryotherapy resulted in a reduction in the frequency and degree of pain, reduced painkiller use, and improved range of motion.
Too many people endure the pain caused by osteoarthritis every year. A 96% improvement rate with cryotherapy treatment can be a welcome relief for the millions of people suffering.
Chrusciak, T. (2016). Subjective evaluation of the effectiveness of whole-body cryotherapy in patients with osteoarthritis. Reumatologia, 54(6). 291-295. doi: 10.5114/reum.2016.64904.
Table 1.1: Components of osteoarthritis and effects of whole body cryotherapy Retrieved from http://wholebody-cryotherapy.com/en/cryotherapy/ostheoarthritis.html Mar 30, 2017.