Whenever you are looking to relieve lower back pain (whether this is in an impact injury or an ongoing complaint), common wisdom dictates that we should do either hot or cold therapies to provide relief.
The question that remains is whether these are viable treatment methods, as studies have explored this in great deal recent times; while there is an evidence that hot therapy can effectively relieve lower back pain by increasing the flow of oxygen and blood around your body, which in turn repairs damaged muscle tissues, cold therapy has been proven to do little more than relieve any initial inflammation around the injury.
How to Use Hot Therapy to Relieve Lower Back Pain
Even though hot therapy is an effective method to help you relieve lower back pain, it is important that you utilize this in a safe and effective manner. Here are some tips to help you achieve this.
1. Apply Moist Rather Than Dry Heat
Not all heat therapy applications are created equal, and moist heat provided by hot packs, baths, and showers is far more effective than dry. Be sure to apply heat for bursts of between 15 and 20 minutes when dealing with localized sources of pain that have been caused by an impact injury, alternating with cold therapy in instances where you are experiencing significant inflammation.
2. Apply Constant Heat for General Lower Back Pain
If you are experiencing lower back pain that is the result of muscle damage rather than a sudden impact, you may need to apply constant heat using an all-day heat wrap. This will help to repair any damage that has been done to the muscle tissues, while it will also help to relax the surrounding tissues and increase functionality. When applying a constant source of heat, however, remember to keep this low to avoid discomfort or burning your skin,
3. Do Not Fall Asleep While Heat is Being Applied
Similarly, you should strive to avoid falling asleep when heat is being applied to your body. This is a major risk using an electric heating pad or blanket, particularly if it is left on a dangerously high heat.
So, in addition to maintain a low or medium heat level when using an electric heat pad, you should also set an alarm to ensure that you are disturbed if you do fall asleep. This helps you to strike the ideal balance between repairing muscle tissue and protecting the skin.
On a final note, remember that while cold therapy may numb your lower back and reduce inflammation, it is only heat treatment that will provide genuine pain relief and begin to repair your damaged tissues. Even then, this is only a short-term solution to the issue of lower back pain, so you should also seek out expert medical consultation at your earliest convenience.