Pain After CoolSculpting
Here’s a fact:
The most widely talked about topic in CoolSculpting forums is pain.
Providers will tell you about ‘mild discomfort’ for the first 10 minutes. They’ll tell you about the ‘uncomfortable’ massage at the end.
But what about pain AFTER CoolSculpting?
It’s estimated between 10-15% of people experience moderate to severe pain after CoolSculpting – and pain is the most common side effect.
For these people it’s not just ‘mild discomfort’.
This is referred to as ‘delayed onset pain’. Delayed onset pain is associated with nerve regeneration. Pain after CoolSculpting can start between 3-5 days after treatment and can last around 14 days. However it does subside. Delayed onset pain is triggered by nerves ‘waking up’. Pain can develop suddenly or gradually.
Delayed onset pain feels like a squirming, tearing, deep stabbing, shooting pain. Symptoms include swelling, tenderness, cramping, itching, tingling and numbness.
It’s impossible to ignore. It’s exhausting.
Most patients don’t experience pain after CoolSculpting. However if you’re in the 10-15% of people who do, you’re probably thinking – too much pain and too little gain..
– but don’t cancel your 2nd appointment just yet.
Read on.. here’s some actionable tips to help get you through the pain after CoolSculpting.
Delayed Onset CoolSculpting Pain
What Symptoms you might expect:
Week 1 – Numbness, firmness, swelling, tingling, soreness, redness, bruising
Week 2 – Numbness starts to subside, but pain can become more intense. Stabbing and shooting pain, swelling, tenderness, cramping, aching, deep itching, sensitivity and tingling. Some people experience more pain at night.
Week 3 – Pain starts to decline.
Week 4 – Remaining discomfort starts to resolve. Tenderness but no pain. Numbness can still persist.
Week 5-6 – Remaining numbness naturally decreases. Sensation returns. One day you’re numb, the next day you’re not. All side effects should be completely gone.
12 Suggestions for CoolSculpting Pain Relief
1. Wear Comfortable Clothing – Don’t wear tight or restrictive clothing immediately after your CoolSculpting procedure such as tight jeans, especially if the waistband cuts into the treatment area. In the days and weeks following your treatment, try to wear comfortable and loose fitting clothing. Try not to wear anything restrictive that cuts into the treatment area and causes pain.
2. Compression Garments – Compression garments can help reduce swelling, increase blood flow, relieve tenderness, and, well… just feel good. Try Spanx or Maidenform Shapewear. Buy the garment in advance. Make sure the garment is comfortable and the fabric is soft. The waistband (or other parts of the garment) shouldn’t cut into the treatment area. Put your compression garment on before you leave the practice or shortly afterwards. Wear it to bed if it helps.
3. Ice – Apply ice or cold packs. Ice the treatment area for 10 minutes – For some people this works wonders, for others it has the opposite effect! Suggestions for cold packs here and here.
4. Drink Water – This may sound banal, but water flushes the body’s lympathic system and removes fat cells faster after CoolSculpting – as well as keeping you hydrated.
5. Self Massage – Light massage can help reduce tightness and pain.
6. Heat Therapy – Place a warming towel on the treatment area. Again, for some people this feels great, for others it doesn’t. Try it to find out.
7. Avoid Long Travel – Avoid car journeys and plane flights longer than 1.5 hours.
8. Antihistamines – Claritin and Benadryl help with itching – a commonly underestimated side affect.
9. Medication – Tylenol helps with pain and is not an anti-inflammatory (see below).
10. Prescription Medication – On rare occasions you may need to ask your provider for prescription medication. Providers may prescribe Neurontin, a non-narcotic pain medication or something similar. Neurontin works specifically for nerve pain – the type of pain people experience with CoolSculpting.
11. Healthy Diet – Eat a balanced and healthy post-care diet.
12. Sleep – If you experience severe pain at night with frequent awakening, try a sleep aid. A good night sleep will help you rest and recover faster.
If you’re a Month Post-Treatment
..You’re probably feeling a little discouraged.
You’ve gone through most of the pain – still swollen and don’t see any changes.
Want to know the best part?
Once you get through the pain, you’ll start seeing results.
Here’s some encouragement from RealSelfers:
Overall this procedure is worth it in my opinion, but does not have minimal recovery like it sounds.
The pain does not last for very long and I do believe the end result will be worth it.
Hang in there because the results are good, at least for me.
It seems CoolSculpting is not pain free as some suggest, but it really does work:
CoolSculpting results from a RealSelfer with beautiful results.
Going to the gym for 6 hours hurts..
.. and liposuction too!
So maybe -beauty really is pain.
If you’re experiencing pain after CoolSculpting, don’t get discouraged…
Use the 12 suggestions above to relieve pain, and
Hang in there!
If you’re worried about any side effects after CoolSculpting, including numbness, moderate, severe discomfort and/or pain, or if symptoms worsen over time, you should call your provider. Information provided here should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultations with a qualified health professional who may be familiar with your individual medical needs.