A man in Britain was having extreme pain related to a nerve operation performed within his chest. This man was receiving no relief from the medication that was prescribed by the doctors. In a last attempt to try and find something that would relieve the pain, the 28 year old went for a plunge in icy water.
At first, this man felt an extreme shock in the cold. However, after swimming in the waters for a period of time, the pain subsided. Since this time, the man had no more pain due to the operation.
Doctors are interested in this man’s experience, and they are conducting more studies to determine if extreme cold water might be useful in relieving pain in some individuals. Doctors are quick to point out that this one man’s experience was unique in some aspects. The man was an experienced athlete whose body was already in good condition.
Doctors are not sure as to the exact mechanism of pain relief from the cold water. It is possible that the sensation of the extreme cold stimulated the nervous system in some way that caused the pain sensation to be eradicated.
The only other cases on record of cold water being used as a treatment for pain comes from the field of sports medicine. In some sports related injuries, athletes will soak a joint in cold water to help reduce inflammation.