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Cryotherapy/Cold Therapy Health Feed

Hot & Cold Therapy - How Effective Is It For Back Pain?

Hot & Cold Therapy - How Effective Is It For Back Pain?

Lower back pain can be one of the most physically debilitating things that can affect you and limit your mobility. Even if the pain isn’t that acute, it could still signal something deteriorating in your lower back. While oral medications, topical creams or sprays can help in reducing pain, there are other effective remedies you can try on your own. These will be handy when you have no medications at hand. One of these is the hot and cold therapy.

Heat therapy for lower back pain

Heat works well with lower back pain as it can dilate blood vessels and improve circulation within the tissue. This will help in circulation and also result in lowering the pain. Heat therapy will also loosen up other muscles in the area and help soothe sore areas which have been taking the burden along with the lower back muscles. Some of the techniques that can be applied are:

  • All day heat wraps: These are specially manufactured belts or wraps which wrap around your abdomen and keep tightness and pressure on your lower back as well as supplying heat.
  • Electric heating pads: These are mechanized heating pads which generate heat with electricity. You can place them under you back and then either sit or sleep with it positioned behind you. However, ensure that you don’t keep these for too long as they could burn your skin.
  • Hot Compress with towels or hot water bags: Use a clean towel and heat it over a conductive surface and apply it on your lower back. You can also use hot water bags for the same purpose.

Cold therapy for lower back pain
Cold therapy uses the principle of constriction of blood vessels as well as slowing circulation. This will help numb the area and thus help relieve the pain. Some of the ways these can be administered are mentioned below.

  • Ice towel: In this method, soak a towel in ice cold water, wring it to dry it and then apply on your lower back. This will numb the pain without transferring the sting of the cold or damaging your skin.
  • Ice packs: Put about half a kg of ice in a plastic Ziploc bag and pour water over the ice to just about cover it. Push out the air out of the bag and then lock it. Use this ice pack with a towel to ensure that you back doesn't get wet.
  • Ice gel packs: These are ready made packs, which can be bought from medical stores and kept frozen to be used whenever you need it in order to relieve lower back pain.
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Hot and Cold Therapy For Lower Back Pain!

Hot and Cold Therapy For Lower Back Pain!

Lower back pain can be one of the most physically debilitating things that can affect you and limit your mobility. Even if the pain isn’t that acute, it could still signal something deteriorating in your lower back. While oral medications, topical creams or sprays can help in reducing pain, there are other effective remedies you can try on your own. These will be handy when you have no medications at hand. One of these is the hot and cold therapy.

Heat therapy for lower back pain - 

Heat works well with lower back pain as it can dilate blood vessels and improve circulation within the tissue. This will help in circulation and also result in lowering the pain. Heat therapy will also loosen up other muscles in the area and help soothe sore areas which have been taking the burden along with the lower back muscles. Some of the techniques that can be applied are:

1. All day heat wraps: These are specially manufactured belts or wraps which wrap around your abdomen and keep tightness and pressure on your lower back as well as supplying heat.

2. Electric heating pads: These are mechanized heating pads which generate heat with electricity. You can place them under your back and then either sit or sleep with it positioned behind you. However, ensure that you don’t keep these for too long as they could burn your skin.

3. Hot Compress with towels or hot water bags: Use a clean towel and heat it over a conductive surface and apply it on your lower back. You can also use hot water bags for the same purpose.

Cold therapy for lower back pain -

Cold therapy uses the principle of constriction of blood vessels as well as slowing circulation. This will help numb the area and thus help relieve the pain. Some of the ways these can be administered are mentioned below.

1. Ice towel: In this method, soak a towel in ice cold water, wring it to dry it and then apply on your lower back. This will numb the pain without transferring the sting of the cold or damaging your skin.

2. Ice packs: Put about half a kg of ice in a plastic Ziploc bag and pour water over the ice to just about cover it. Push out the air out of the bag and then lock it. Use this ice pack with a towel to ensure that your back doesn't get wet.

3. Ice gel packs: These are ready-made packs, which can be bought from medical stores and kept frozen to be used whenever you need it in order to relieve lower back pain.

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Hot & Cold Therapy - How It Can Treat Pain?

Hot & Cold Therapy - How It Can Treat Pain?

Hot and Cold therapy is one of the most popular home remedies for any kind of joint pain or muscle sprain. In some cases applying heat therapy and cold therapy alternatively, can help relieve the pain while for others only one form of therapy is necessary. To understand what to use when, one should first understand the effect of heat and cooling on the body.

Applying a heat pack or immersing the affected limb in hot water improves blood circulation and makes the muscles more flexible. Thus, it can help relax a muscle and fasten the healing of damaged tissues. On the other hand, cold therapy or cryotherapy reduces blood flow to the affected site. This helps relieve inflammation and pain caused by it. It can also make the area feel numb by reducing nerve activity temporarily.

Types of Heat Therapy
Heat therapy can be categorized as dry heat and moist heat. Dry heat involves using saunas or dry heating packs to relieve pain. This is also known as conducted heat therapy. As the name suggests, moist heat involves the use of steamed towels, hot baths and moist heating packs. This is also known as convection heat therapy. Moist heat is usually considered more effective than dry heat.

Types of Cold Therapy
Cold therapy may be applied to a part of the body or to the entire body. This includes ice packs, coolant sprays, ice baths, ice massages and whole body, cold therapy chambers.

How to use heat and cold therapy?

The sooner heat and cold therapy is given to a person, the faster they will recover from their pains. Heat therapy can be given to a person for extended periods of time but when giving cold therapy, a person should not be exposed to a cold pack or ice bath for more than 10-15 minutes. Care should also be taken no to apply ice or a frozen pack directly on the skin as it can damage the skin and nerves.

When not to use Heat Therapy?
If the injury site is swollen or bruised, cold therapy is better than heat therapy. Heat therapy should also not be applied to an open wound. People suffering from conditions such as diabetes, dermatitis, deep vein thrombosis, vascular diseases and multiple sclerosis should also avoid heat therapy as these conditions can increase the risk of burns and other such complications. Pregnant women should also consult a doctor before using a hot tub or sauna.

When not to use Cold Therapy?
Cold therapy is avoidable for treating stiff joints and muscles. People suffering from poor circulation and sensory disorders should also avoid using cold therapy without a doctor’s supervision. If you wish to discuss any specific problem, you can consult a pain management specialist.

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