In cryotherapy, a probe is inserted into the tissue next to the affected nerve. The temperature of the probe drops to then effectively freeze the nerve. The freezing inactivates the nerve and, as a result, painful nerve irritation is relieved. Cryotherapy is a relatively safe and effective means of treating localized nerve irritation.
Cryotherapy can be used to treat conditions that involve irritation of an isolated nerve. In general, such conditions include benign nerve growths (neuromas) and pinched nerves (nerve entrapments). Specific examples include nerve irritation between the ribs (intercostal neuralgia), cluneal nerve entrapment, ilioinguinal neuroma, hypogastric neuromas, lateral femoral cutaneous nerve entrapment, and interdigital neuromas. Many forms of nerve entrapment can often be treated with cryotherapy.
While cryotherapy can reduce unwanted nerve irritation, it sometimes can leave the tissue affected with unusual sensations, such as numbness or tingling, or with redness and irritation of the skin. These effects are generally temporary.