When to Use Ice and Heat For Back Pain
Ice and heat are popular treatments for many injuries and aches due to their speedy, easy nature, cost effectiveness and relative low risk. Not only that but they’re effective at relieving pain and swelling as well – helping you get back in your regular routine quickly!
When it comes to back pain, the type and cause of the discomfort vary. As a general guideline, if there has been an injury, apply ice immediately; if however the pain has become chronic, heat therapy may be recommended instead.
Cold therapy helps relieve pain and inflammation by bringing the body’s temperature down to an appropriate level for healing, as well as relieving muscle spasms and tension.
Cold therapy also numbs the area to reduce pain and protect further nerve damage. But if used too frequently or for too long, cold therapy may actually lead to permanent tissue damage.
Heat, on the other hand, increases blood flow by expanding vessels within the body and can enhance circulation to damaged areas. Furthermore, it draws nutrients from surrounding bloodstream to aid healing of that part of your body that has been injured.
But using heat can also increase the risk of skin damage or an even more serious condition called hyperthermia, in which there is an excess of fluid in the body. Therefore, it’s essential to protect your skin when working with heat; placing a protective barrier such as cloth or towel between yourself and any source of heat can help shield you.
Contrast therapy is a complementary treatment that uses cold and heat to reduce inflammation, loosen muscles and provide natural pain relief. It’s an easy, inexpensive and low-risk procedure that can be done from home with minimal equipment.
Contrast therapy is a convenient home treatment for many aches and pains, such as sprains, muscle cramps, and other injuries requiring cold or heat treatments. You can use it alone to reduce pain and inflammation or combine it with other treatments like acupuncture or physical therapy for maximum effect.
Ice should be applied directly onto the affected area within 24 hours of an injury, either with a bag of frozen vegetables, small plastic bottle filled with water or damp towel.
After 48 hours, if the ice doesn’t relieve your pain or inflammation, it may be time to consult your doctor. Furthermore, it may be wise to stop using it altogether if symptoms don’t improve after one week.
If you’re struggling with persistent lower back discomfort, heat therapy could be the perfect solution. Dry heat like a heating pad or sauna draws moisture out of the skin and may provide relief to many individuals.