When a person experiences back pain of some sort, one of the most simple ways of treating it is to apply heat or ice to the injured area. It can be very effective, and it is very easy for anyone to do at home. However, it is also one of the most misunderstood therapies in back pain treatment, because many people do not know when it is best to use ice instead of a heating pad, and vice versa:
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Use ice/cold treatment when there is immediate pain. Acute back pain is very common and begins suddenly. It is defined as pain lasting less than 3 to 6 months, or pain that is directly related to tissue damage. If you feel acute pain after an activity like jogging, golf, or throwing a baseball, make sure to use ice! Ice and cold packs can relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation from injuries. Apply ice to the injured area in 15-20 minute intervals, and with at least an hour and a half between treatments.
Use heat for persistent or chronic pain. Chronic back pain is when pain doesn't go away but doesn't get worse, and it can remain from weeks, months, or even years. When suffering from chronic back pain, make sure to use heat to ease the pain. Heat treatment helps relax and loosen tissues and stimulate the blood flow to the area of pain. Use heat on conditions like overuse injuries, before participating in activities. As with ice, apply heat in 15 minute intervals. Also, do not apply the heat directly to the skin; make sure to wrap a towel or some other protective layer around the heating pad before use.
This video with Dr. Jeff D.C. will help to further explain when to use hot or cold for your back pain:
At The Illinois Back Institute we are dedicated to educating people, because we know that the more that you understand about your problem, the more likely you are to eliminate it. We specialize in Functional Disc Rehydration - a multi-disciplinary approach to making the back healthier without surgery, injections or medications.
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