Alterations in skin sensations may be responsible for pain reduction provided by cryotherapy, but the exact physiological mechanism is unknown.
To investigate perceptions of skin sensations associated with different modes of cryotherapy administration and skin temperature at the point of perceived numbness.
30 healthy subjects (12 Male, 18 Female, Age = 21.1±1.9 years).
Crushed ice bag, ice massage, and cold water immersion.
Main Outcome Measures:
Perceptions of sensations during each mode of cryotherapy administration were derived from a Modified McGill Pain Questionnaire. Skin temperature was recorded when numbness was reported for each treatment.
Participants experienced sensations that included cold, tight, tingling, stinging, and numb. Ice massage sensations transitioned rapidly from cold to numb, whereas cold water immersion and ice bag treatments produced altered sensations for longer duration. Ice massage decreased skin temperature significantly more than the other two modes of cryotherapy administration.
Ice massage may be the best mode of cryotherapy administration for achievement of anaesthesia as rapidly as possible, whereas cold water immersion and ice bag application may be better for attainment of pain reduction associated with noxious stimulation of skin receptors.