Heat & Ice For Back Pain

Blaine MitchelAll, Back Pain, TreatmentsLeave a Comment

We know that the majority of back injuries are due to strains/sprains; we also know that they will heal over time as the inflammation reduces and the ligaments, tendons, and muscles repair themselves. Time will heal other back issues, too. Most disc herniations will repair themselves as the tissues shrink, thereby no longer crushing a nerve root. However, during this wait, you can assist the healing yourself.

Your brain produces pain-suppressing proteins, the most famous of which are endorphins. Natural pain-relieving methods can assist in their release; these include exercise, meditation, and laughter. So visit your local comedy club or read a few jokes. Laughter does double-duty by releasing endorphins whilst enhancing your attitude.


Heat and Ice

A common home treatment for strain/sprain injuries is the use of hot and cold packs. Both heat and ice can assist reduce muscle spasms and pain, particularly in the back, but their effects differ. Ice lowers the amount of blood flow to the area, resulting in a decrease in swelling. On the other hand, heat increases blood flow, causing more nutrients to flood to the site, helping to relax sore muscles.

When an injury occurs, begin with ice to reduce the swelling. Ice the area for around 15 minutes, then repeat once half an hour has passed. Once 24/48 hours as passed, move to heat treatments. This is a general recommendation. Both ice and heat alleviate pain; do whatever makes you feel better. There isn’t a magic rule you need to abide by. Some people like to alternate hot and cold packs, whereas others prefer to use only one temperature.

There are plenty of products on the market today which make hot/cold back therapy easy. They can be handily heated in the microwave or cooled in the freezer. Try to find one which will be large enough for the area of your back which requires the treatment. You should be able to find some which are designed for the lower back and attach with Velcro, similar to a weight belt.


No access to a cold pack? A bag of frozen peas can do the job in the short term. Whatever you do, do not put ice directly onto your skin; it’s an irritant. At the very least put the ice cubes into a bag, wrap a towel around it and apply. You may have to wait. It takes a few minutes for the cold to come through.

Similarly, you can warm up a moistened towel in the microwave for a soothing moist heat wrap. Again, be careful whilst applying such a wrap to your skin. It is advised to use a second towel wrapped around the first.

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