Using Whole Body Cryotherapy To Manage Pain Case Study

Whole Body Cryotherapy Case Study

Jim (71) has been using our Whole Body Cryotherapy chamber weekly for several months in an effort to combat sciatic pain and reduce his usage of pain medication. We spoke to Jim about his experience of Whole Body Cryotherapy at Aqua-Tox and the effects that he is feeling.  

Jim, how did you first discover cryotherapy and what convinced you to try it at Aqua-Tox?

I suffer from sciatic pain and have been looking into alternative ways to treat my pain and reduce the number of painkillers I am taking. After speaking to my yoga teacher about this she told me about Aqua-Tox and the various treatments on offer and suggested it might be worth me trying. I’m very open to alternative therapies and was curious about a few of the treatments at Aqua-Tox. I tried the hyperbaric oxygen chamber, red light therapy and cryotherapy to begin with. I didn’t get on with the hyperbaric chamber as I couldn’t seem to equalise the pressure in my ears, I didn’t mind the red light therapy but enjoyed cryotherapy the most.  

Did you know the benefits of cold therapy for pain before having cryotherapy?

Yes I knew a bit about the benefits after seeing lots about things like athletes using ice baths to recover but I never saw the appeal of getting into cold water. The thought of dry cold therapy was more appealing to me.  

How did you find your first time in the cryotherapy chamber?

I was quite nervous about my first session because of my age. I knew that I was in good health but my age did make me a bit apprehensive. The medical questionnaire helped to put me at ease to know it was safe for me. I found the first session ok and felt very invigorated when I came out and almost tingly. I still get that feeling now after months of having cryotherapy. Initially I was doing 3 minutes in the chamber but I’m now up to 3.5 minutes each time.  

a 71 year old man inside a mecotec cryo one cryotherapy chamber, he is shirtless and the chamber is lit with blue light

What changes have you noticed in yourself since having regular cryotherapy?

The day after a session I really notice that it’s helped my sciatic pain. I feel that I can move more freely afterwards, I have less pain, and can do things like bend down more easily. I volunteer in a library and I really noticed the difference when bending to low shelves.  

I also feel that it’s sped up my metabolism as my digestion is improved. I generally feel better in myself and feel that I’ve got more energy.  

How do you feel that cryotherapy helps your pain?

I notice after my sessions that my pain is noticeably reduced for a couple of days. I feel good and notice I have more energy to do things and help around the house. But the impact on my pain can depend on other things, for example if I sit for too long I find that the pain sometimes comes back more quickly. I do generally stay quite active though.  

I’ve had sciatic pain for around 30 years with periods of it being manageable and periods of it being very painful. I’ve tried lots of treatments such as physio, painkillers and steroid injections with varying success. I’ve also been taking prescription painkillers at varying levels over the years. Since doing regular cryotherapy I’ve been able to reduce my painkiller dosage down from 65mg to 20mg which I’m very pleased about and feel that I’m moving in the right direction. I’m hoping to come off of the painkillers entirely in the coming months.  

I do keep active with regular yoga, gym and walking wearing a weighted vest which all helps. I’ve also recently got a magnetic bracelet which is supposed to help but I do think it’s the cryotherapy that’s the strongest thing that’s made a difference to how I feel and how my pain is because I notice the difference as soon as I have a session.

How often have you been having cryotherapy to keep on top of your pain?

I’ve been trying to come once a week but sometimes I’ve come twice a week. As I keep improving I’m hoping to spread it out to once every 10 days or something like that.

Have you had any surprising or unexpected side effects of cryotherapy?

One thing I noticed is that lifting weights is feeling easier, it’s actually one of the first things I noticed. I feel that it’s played a big part in my commitment to movement and exercise as I feel less sluggish and more ready to do exercise.  I think I’ve put on more muscle now than even when I was younger which is great.

Would you recommend cryotherapy to others?

Yes definitely. I would recommend it to other people experiencing pain and older people. It feels safe because you fill in all of the forms beforehand, you’re always monitored whilst you’re in there and it’s only 3 minutes and you feel good afterward. If your general health is ok I wouldn’t see any reason to worry about it like I initially did. I generally feel more alive and more alert, I’ve got a lot more energy and willingness to do things that need to be done about the house 

Will you keep having cryotherapy?

Yes I will as I feel it’s helping me as I try to come off the painkillers. I’m aiming to reduce the frequency to once every 10 days and combine it with regular exercise and movement.

Whole Body Cryotherapy has many benefits including reduced pain & inflammation, improved muscle recovery, increased metabolism, immune system activation & collagen renewal. You can read more about the science and the reactions in the body in our What is a Cryotherapy Chamber? blog post. 

At Aqua-Tox we also offer Localised Cryotherapy which can be very effective in treating more specific injuries & pain such as strains, joints and tears. 

If you have questions about Cryotherapy please contact us and we’ll be happy to help. 

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