How To Know If Heat or Ice Will Help Your Back Pain

Thermal Image of Lower Back

It’s no secret that using heat or ice therapy on lower back pain can bring significant relief. However, it can be trickier knowing which treatment to use and when. Every individual case of lower back pain is different, so knowing what to use and when can be tricky. Learning to understand your symptoms and what they’re trying to tell you can help you decide.


Finding Relief By Learning To Understand Your Back Spasms

How you use thermal Therapy to ease your symptoms will depend on the nature of your lower back pain. It’s so effective it can be used as a form of primary treatment for this condition or as an adjunctive form of Therapy. There is some perception that thermal Therapy is just a band-aid treatment due to its inexpensive and simple nature. However, it can produce significant results for those suffering from lower back pain.


Thermal Therapy is often effective for the following conditions:

  • Lower back pain from herniated or degenerated discs, spondylolisthesis, and spinal stenosis.
  • Injuries to the lower back from sports injuries, falls, sprains, and collisions.
  • Pulled muscles from overexertion or overstretching
  • Soreness from exercise, often the result of failing to stretch


It’s also important to know how to use thermal Therapy correctly to avoid causing further damage. You should never apply heat or cold for periods in excess of 20 minutes, with 15 often being better. Some sufferers may prefer the heat over the cold, and some conditions may respond to one more than the other.


Some guidelines for using thermal Therapy can be found below:

  • Start cold for acute back pain – Pain that lasts less than four weeks is known as acute back pain. It often results from a direct injury to the spine. Reducing temperature narrows the blood vessels, causing numbing, reducing inflammation, and counteracting swelling. 
  • Move on to heat – After the inflammation has subsided, it’s time to move on to using heat. Heat aids in restoring flexibility and movement and the general functioning of the back. This is the result of restored blood circulation and the nutrients it brings.


If you’re experiencing chronic back pain, you may want to try consistent low-level heat. Chronic back pain is identified as that which lasts more than four weeks. Wrapping up in a heated blanket or using an adhesive heat wrap are often good choices. Be certain not to use too much heat on the area, and take frequent breaks.


Speak To Your Spinal Specialist For Further Advice

Caring for your back pain properly can aid in healing times for acute cases. In chronic cases, it can help with ongoing treatment and keeping symptoms at bay. The first step to knowing how to properly apply thermal care is speaking to your spinal specialist. These experts will help you understand the fine details of the condition causing your lower back pain. With this information, you can develop an ongoing treatment plan that will help avoid further injury or reduce symptoms. Call for a consultation today to take control of your lower back pain with thermal Therapy.


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