When do you use ice and heat to treat your back pain? Many people use ice and heat incorrectly to try to ease their back pain. Make sure you are using each of these the correct way!
Using ice to ease your back pain.
If you feel acute pain after an activity like jogging, golf or throwing a baseball make sure to use ice! 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. After 6 months the underlying cause for the acute pain has been treated or healed.
Ice and cold packs can relieve pain, swelling, and inflammation from injuries. There are a few different ways you can use ice to relieve the pain, here are some examples:
- Purchase a common cold pack sold at most convenient stores.
- A bag of ice.
- A bag of frozen vegetables.
- Homemade ice towel.
- Take a towel and place it in cold water. Squeeze the towel until it is damp, fold it, place it in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer. After 15 minutes remove the towel from the bag and place it on the area of pain.
- Homemade ice pack.
- Measure out 1lb of ice and place in a plastic bag and add water to the barely covered ice. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal it. Wrap the bag in a wet towel & apply to area of pain.
- Homemade slush pack.
- Mix 3 cups of water and 1 cup of denatured alcohol in a freezer bag. Then seal the bag and place it in the freezer until slush forms. You can reuse this when it melts by putting it back in the freezer.
Icing is effective because it limits pain and swelling that may result from injury due to a physical activity. Icing constricts the blood vessels and reduces inflammation as well. Always keep a damp cloth between the cold pack and your skin. Make sure to press firmly against all the curves in the area of pain. For the first 3 days, ice for 10 minutes once an hour the first day, then every 2 to 3 hours. After that, a good pattern to go by is to ice for 10 to 15 minutes 3 times a day: in the morning, in the late afternoon after work or school, and about a half hour before bedtime.
Using heat to ease your back pain.
When suffering from chronic back pain make sure to use heat to ease the pain. Chronic back pain is when pain doesn’t go away but doesn’t get worse. Pain that remains for weeks, months even years. 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. Here are a few ways to ease your pain with heat:
- Heating pad.
- Make sure NOT to fall asleep with the heating pad on! Also, keep it on low or medium try to avoid making it too hot.
- Warm showers.
- Hot tub or bath.
- Heat wraps. (All day heat wraps available
- Warm gel packs.
Remember to apply heat for only 15-20 minutes.