When and How to Use Heat and Ice to Relieve Lower Back Pain?

Temperature therapy is an inexpensive and easy-to-use treatment that can be used to treat aches and pains. Working as an alternative, temperature therapy is commonly performed for general injuries that accompany inflammation and swelling, before one can reach the physician.

Usage of heat and ice in temperature therapy can also effectively relieve common lower back pain and aches in a few cases. While consulting an orthopaedic or spine specialist in the UK is always the best option, if you are looking for immediate relief from lower back pain you can use heat or ice based on your specific situation.

But heat and ice have their specific purposes and roles to play in managing this pain. Since the type of pain can vary it helps to know ways to effectively manage the pain using heat and cold therapy. The first step in this process is to know how to use heat or ice for a specific situation.

Let us start with general information on heat and cold therapy and then we give you specific guidelines to effectively incorporate heat and cold therapy to treat lower back pain.  So read on:

When to use ice for treating pain:

Ice is the most common form of temperature therapy that is commonly employed to treat pain, inflammation. Ice when in contact with the pain regions around tendons and joints, reduces the blood flow thus minimizing the swelling, inflammation and pain for the short term. Cold therapy is not recommended in case of stiff joints and circulation problems.

When to use heat for treating pain

Heat naturally has the opposite effect to that of ice.  When applied to the pain region, heat opens up the blood vessels and stimulates the blood flow and hence it can be used to relieve pain in chronic conditions by relaxing and loosening the tissues. And hence, heat can be used to treat past injuries and even chronic conditions like arthritis. However, heat therapy doesn’t help in treating pain and swelling caused by acute injuries and sometimes may even worsen the symptoms.

How to use heat and cold therapy for lower back pain:

You can use both heat and cold therapy to treat lower back pain and here are a few tips that can help you to relieve your back pain:

  1. Employ cold therapy if the back pain is acute (<3 weeks) and is caused by the injury. The ice to the pain region causes the numbing effect by restricting the blood flow and reducing the swelling and inflammation.
  2. Give it a rest and as the inflammation and swelling are reduced, employ heat to the pain region. This stimulates the blood flow which brings the essential nutrients while relaxing the soft tissues to give you relief. This heat therapy can be used intermittently for a few hours a day to accelerate this healing process.

While cold and therapy used in the above order bring relief to the back pain, they are a few conditions which must not be treated using this therapy.

Back pain caused by open injuries, multiple sclerosis, poor blood circulations, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injuries, diabetes cannot be treated with heat and cold therapy and require help from expert spine specialist in the UK.

If you are suffering from back pain due to any of the above conditions, and are looking for Spine Specialist in the UK, then Children and Adult Spinal Surgeon Mr Jwalant S Mehta can help you. You can contact him here: https://www.mehtaspine.co.uk/