Is Heat Or Ice Better For Back Pain

Today we want to talk about a very common and controversial topic, and that’s the use of Heat Or Ice For Back Pain.

We all know that for acute injuries such as sprained ankles, or twisted knees using ice is the preferred method it decreases inflammation decreases the pain.

And in contrast in these acute horrible sprains and strains and even breaks if you use heat, you actually increase the inflammation may actually cause more pain and discomfort. Well does that apply to your back?

Heat Or Ice For Back Pain

Well, it turns out it’s relatively controversial, if you think you really pulled or stretch the muscle or tendon or ligament of your back and it’s really very very painful I do think ice is a benefit to you.

Ice has that property of cooling the skin therefore cooling some of the nerves.

Ice also has that property of decreasing the inflammation so it could be beneficial for you, but there are some cautions to must take when we use ice.

Never put ice directly on the skin because it could potentially cause frostbite. Always use something like a towel barrier and do not apply it on the skin for more than 10 or 20 minutes at a time.

You can’t repeat it as often as you like after you give some recovery time to your skin.

When you use ice make sure you rest during that period of icing. We can’t tell you how many times we see people walking around with ice packs or doing work with ice packs still pushing stretching pulling on their muscles.

In a way you’re kind of defeating the purpose of using the ice because the ice are there to decrease the inflammation swelling. If you keep pulling and tugging you’re actually flaring up the situation. Get some rest during the period of using ice.

Ice packs can be gel packs frozen towels or even a package of frozen peas. Folks with certain medical conditions such as Raynaud’s disease, loss of sensation to the area, or paralysis should avoid ice therapy.

Studies have shown ice can be beneficial but more studies need to be done.

Now we want to switch gears and talk about the use of heat. It turns out heat therapy can be beneficial for chronic back pain and stiffness but not for acute injury.

Remember that as we talked about before in acute injuries you can actually increase the swelling and inflammation.

In chronic conditions, chronic stiffness heat can help dilate the blood vessels and deliver more nutrients to the sore and stiff area. The heat helps stretch the softer tissues including the muscles, ligaments, and tendons and it eases stiffness.

Forms of heat include a hot water bottle use of a sauna or a warm bath.

For those with loss of sensation or paralysis, you have to use caution because it can be too hot or you won’t feel how hot that area would be.

Remember not to apply a hot water bottle for more than 20 minutes at a time and use some common sense and don’t stay in a Sode up for more than 15 to 20 minutes.

Always check your water temperatures both with the water bottle and before getting into the bathtub.

Studies have shown some limited benefits to heat therapy and more studies need to be done to prove its benefit.

An alternative treatment is to rotate cold and heat therapy every 15 to 20 minutes for chronic conditions but remember the general principle, avoid heat for acute injuries, and use heat for chronic stiffness and chronic arthritis type conditions.

This is Dr. Shim talking about the use of Heat Or Ice For Back Pain. Thanks for reading….