Thursday, January 1, 2009

Heat vs Ice for Lower Back Pain Relief?

Hello everyone, Happy New Year 2009; Wishing everyone a wonderful healthy new year ahead !

Today I want to discuss one techinque for lower back pain relief that I often get asked about. Heat or ice for Lower Back Pain?

The good news is that they both can be good and they are all natural. So no side effects like medication.

To get the best results use ice when there is inflammation. This is often hot, red and feels tender. Areas are usually inflammed when they are initially injured or re-aggravated.

Heat works very well to loosen an area. So, couple of days after the initial injury when inflammation has disippated from using ice, use heat. For the ara to heal completely it may take weeks. With the use of heat to now keep the muscles loose and increase blood flow you can often get better much sooner.

Ice is often used after a football injuryHere's an example: If you watch football, you'll notice before the game most players are wearing extra clothing like sweats or sports pants and jackets. This keeps their backs, legs, and arms heated and warm. After the game often they're sore especially if they injured an area they'll have ice packs on thier back or knee, etc..This is because the area is often strained and inflammed.

The same holds true for someone with a back injury. Use ice to decrease the inflammation and back pain. If you continue to work or do physical activity you can heat your back to loosen the muscles before you begin your activity. The ice and hot packs we recommend patients are often shaped specially for certain parts of the back.

Here is a Hot and Cold Pack for the Lower Back- 10
For example, if you are icing or heating your lower back, use a larger ice pack that is 10"x13", square in shape. For your neck area, use a 6" x 20" ice pack that is shaped with a special pouch area to cover your neck area. There is also a special ice pack for your neck and upper back, with dimensions of 9" x 16" trisectional ice/heat pack- it had two side flaps for your shoulders to better coverage. Just keep in mind tha this ice pack will be a little heavier than the cervical or lumbar ice pack.

To get rid of your low back pain once and for all look into this advanced new technology we use at our office called Spinal Decompression.

Dr. Matt Bellinger
CT Spine and Disc Center LLC

Photo Credits: Flickr Monstershaq2000

Addtional Resources:
Hot and Cold Therapy for Lower Back Pain Relief- Ice/Heat Packs for Pain Relief


Blue Springs Chiropractic said...

Interesting, I always thought that heat would be better for pain relief. Thanks for the insight.

Herryponting said...

Elder care or Child care?
Boiron Arnicare Gel

Adam said...

A few things. 1) heat and ice are all natural so there are no side effects? This is faulty logic, all natural does not mean no side effects. What about burns and frost bite, I would call those side effects.

2) There is no convincing evidence that a person should put much thought into choosing ice vs heat. At best they provide temporary pain relief so pick which one feels the best. I have yet to see any convincing clinical studies which show ice reduces inflammation. Also inflammation is "all natural" so why would we think stopping it prematurely would be a good thing? It is the first step to healing.


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