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Hot And Cold Therapy - How It Helps To Treat Lower Back Pain?

Dr. Gautam Das 92% (1861 ratings)
MD, FIPP
Pain Management Specialist, Kolkata  •  32 years experience
Hot And Cold Therapy - How It Helps To Treat 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 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.

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 you 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. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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