What You Should Know about Ice and Heat for Lower Back Pain


Back pain is a very common problem especially among sports persons or those who suffer from chronic injuries. There can be other reasons too for the back pain. It could be due to some injury, or some problem in the spine or any other reason. This back pain is treated both by heat and cold therapies.

READ ALSO: How To Deal With Pain From High Heels

Both these heat and cold therapies give relief from back pain but proper knowledge and the correct procedure should be applied during the treatment. Both of these therapies and home medical supplies online work differently but give the same result.

When and How to use Ice on your lower back

Cold therapy is of great help in revealing the back painespecially when the injury is fresh. It also helps in reducing the inflammation on the injured part. If the cold therapy is continued for 72 hours soon after getting injured it is very beneficial. It gives immense relief from pain as well as reduces the swelling.

The best type of cold therapy for lower back pain relief

  • Massaging with ice. In this frozen massage balls are used for massaging the affected area and in this treatment massage and cold therapy is combined.
  • Ice Baths. During these cold baths, the injured back is fully dipped in the ice-cold water for a very short time. This is very helpful for sports injuries.
  • Cold packs. A towel kept in the freezer or something wrapped in a cloth is applied to the affected area.
  • Whole Body Chambers. In this type of treatment liquid nitrogen is used. The nitrogen is almost 184-degree Fahrenheit which helps in reducing the inflammation and pain.
  • Cooling topical Gels.These gels are rubbed directly on the affected area to reduce the swelling.

Guidelines to be followed for Cold Treatment at Home

  1.     Ice should never be applied directly to the skin. Wrap it in a towel or cloth.
  2.     The maximum time for applying ice is 20 minutes only.
  3.     This should be used only to reduce inflammation and for pain relief.
  4.     Ice burns should be avoided.
  5.     It should not be repeated more than 10 times a day.
  6.     It is advised not to use these ice packs for muscle spasms to muscular tension since this can aggravate the problem.
  7.     It is advisable to lie on the back so that the targeted area is properly massaged or a strap on the wrist can be used to hold the pack in place.

When and how to use Heat on Your lower Back

In this system, heat is used to increase the blood flow, and this increased blood flow helps bring fresh oxygen and nutrients to muscles and carries away all the waste product from the blood and thus expedites the healing processes and brings relief in pain.

For loosening stiff or tight muscles both dry and moist heat can be applied. But this should be done only when the initial inflammation has been reduced.

Best types of Heat Therapy for Lower Back pain Relief

  • Medical supply, electric heating pads are most commonly used for dry heat therapy. Saunas are also effective. 
  • For moist heat therapy, hot water bottles are most common. Hot and cold gel pack wraps, warm compressors, or heated towels are used.
  • Hot baths or hot tubs and steam rooms are equally effective.

Tips for using heat for lower back pain

  1.     It is advisable to use a cloth in between the skin and source of heat so that the skin does not get burned.
  2.     For minor back pains, heat is applied for 15 to 20 minutes and severe half an hour to 2 hours.
  3.     A heat pack should always be applied before stretching or exercising.
  4.     If there is inflammation or swelling heat should be avoided.

Alternating Hot and Cold Therapy

Using cold and heat therapy alternatively is more effective in giving pain relief to the back than using a single therapy. This is called contrast therapy.

Precautions while using Heat or Cold Therapy

Skin is very sensitive and can get burned easily so it is very necessary to take precautions whether it is ice or heat. In chronic cases of lower back pain always consult a doctor before applying this therapy. The degree of pain determines the procedure of the therapy, cold or hot and home medical supplies online to be used. Using them at the right time is also important.

When to Avoid hot and Cold Therapy

It is not possible to take these therapies in all cases of back pain. Those who are suffering from diabetes, DVT, impaired sensations should avoid it. This is not advisable in cases of dermatitis, open wounds, and rashes.






Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here