This causes a lot of confusion amongst professionals and lower back pain sufferers alike. Actually there isn’t much evidence that ice will help your lower back pain, and there is a little proof that heat can help…so let’s look at this problem logically. Neither are the be all end all to saving your back, but you never want to be counteractive.
Sure, ice can feel good when your back is tight and sore but the reality is that in most cases you will need heat treatment. Ice is great for most injuries, and the general rule of thumb states that you should place ice on a recently injured area, and it’s right. In the case of back pain however, often it is not coming from a single injury. Lower back pain cases are often unexplained and have nothing to do with joint of muscle damage.
Why You Should Use Heat Therapy For Regular Lower Pack Pain
Ice is used after injury to help get rid of inflammation, and is very effective at it. In most back pain cases inflammation isn’t the cause of the pain, and isn’t present at all. If you have suffered a direct injury to your lower back, then ice may be beneficial. If trauma has occurred and the injury is acute, then ice will help to take away the inflammation. However for the majority of us who get low back pain from tight muscles, bad posture and daily living…heat is the answer. You may actually do more damage if you put ice on regular lower back pain as icing your back will increase the stiffness and tightness in it. Heat promotes blood flow to the muscles, and in the case of regular lower back pain, you need the area warmer and more mobile. Heat can help with that,
When Should You Use Ice?
If you have suffered a true muscle strain to the lower back muscles, then ice is what you need in the initial phases. Unfortunately it is hard to differentiate between a muscle strain and tight muscles, and to get a muscle strain in your lower back you have to do some pretty fancy moves. Make sure you ask yourself these questions before you go and get the ice pack.
- Is one area of the muscle much more sensitive and painful to touch than the rest?
- Did you instantly feel it when you were lifting something heavy, doing some sport or making a strong movement?
- Is the skin red and puffy and inflamed?
Answer yes to these questions and you could have suffered from a muscle strain and might need to apply that ice pack.
How To Use Heat One Your Lower Back
There are several ways you can put heat on your lower back.
- Towel: Put a damp towel in the microwave for 30 seconds. Take it out and check that there are no excessive hot spots before use. This is a good makeshift heat pack you can use on your lower back. Just make sure you test your skin before, some people are more sensitive to heat than others.
- Heat Pack: You can buy a lot of different heat packs that you can just put in the microwave and use. Wrap it in a soft towel if you have sensitive skin so you don’t get burnt.
- All Day Heating Pad: There are a lot of stick on heating pads you can put on for all day use. These can be useful for people at work, or even for warming up for sport.
Don’t forget, don’t use heat immediately after an injury. Try to differentiate between an injured lower back and just regular tight low back pain.