Lower back pain is a problem that many people experience every day, for a variety of reasons, ranging from injuries to medical conditions. Whether you have suffered an injury or experience chronic back pain, you undoubtedly know how aggravating it can be. In extreme cases, it can make ordinary, daily tasks seem difficult to do.
There are many so-called treatments available, and not all of them work. Some are just a waste of time and money. It’s important to know the difference between ice therapy and heat therapy, because if you use the wrong one, you will end up aggravating the pain even more.
What is Heat Therapy For?
Heat therapy comes in a variety of forms, including pads, wraps, gel packs, baths, etc. In most cases, it’s far better for lower back pain than cold therapy, since the majority of lower back pain is caused by muscle knots or similar problem. Ice therapy should only be used for an injury caused by inflammation.
If you are not completely certain about what is causing your lower back pain, talk to a medical expert before trying heat or cold therapy.
How Does Heat Therapy Work?
Oftentimes, lower back pain is brought on as a result of muscle strain or over-exertion from exercising or some other type of physical activity. When the soft tissues and muscles around the lower part of the spine experience tension, proper circulation is restricted. The brain receives pain signals from that area of the body.
Heat therapy is most effective when the temperature remains steady for the entire duration of the treatment. You will want the wrap or pad to stay warm, but not hot, for as long as possible.
The warm temperature helps to increase blood supply to the affected area by dilating blood vessels of muscles around the lumbar spine. With the increased blood supply, more nutrients and oxygen are delivered to the muscles to heal tissue that has been damaged through overexertion. Heat therapy can also stimulate the elimination of toxins.
How to Use Heat Therapy for Low Back Pain
As mentioned above, this type of therapy is available in many forms, including wraps, pads, and ointments. The downside to many products is that they are not reusable. Depending on the product, the heat will last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. It’s best to go with reusable products that can be reheated whenever you are in need of the therapy.
Heat therapy not only helps relieve lower back pain , it also helps to prevent it. If you are using a flexible wrap or pad that can be inserted in a belt, you can receive the therapy while you exercise or do daily activities.
Choosing the Right Product
Using a cheap product that can’t be reused will be a waste of money. Sure, it will make your lower back feel better for a few minutes, but once it no longer generates heat, the pain will just come back.
For best results, use a flexible heating pad or wrap that can maintain a warm, steady temperature for up to two hours at a time.