Hot or Cold Pack?

Are you are suffering with back pain? It can sometimes be difficult to know what to do. Do you sit, rest, keep active, use heat or a cold pack?

The most common cause of back pain is when the joints of the back become restricted due to abnormal stress, such as incorrect posture or degeneration. This causes tightening and inflammation around the joints resulting in muscles tightening in order to protect that area of the spine from further trauma. However, muscle tightness causes the joint to be even more restricted in movement and therefore causes more joint inflammation, and the cycle continues.
Cold Pack
The recommended treatment for back pain without muscle tightness is cold. This is simply a cold pack applied to the injury, which acts like a painkiller reducing the inflammation. A cold pack can be used in any area of inflammation. i.e. spine or joint inflammation and restriction, knee swelling, sprained ankle, shin splints etc. In addition,  ice treatment with a cold pack is also used for acute injuries ,within the last 48 hours, where swelling is occurring.
Hot Pack
For back pain with muscle tightness a hot pack or hot water bottle is more suitable. Tight muscles are usually tender to touch, and you can sometimes feel pea-sized knots, heat relaxes the muscle and improves flexibility. Hot treatment can be used over tight muscles when they have contracted due to overuse, or ache following being used differently. Do not use heat therapy in an area that is already hot to the touch, you might make it worse!
 
Try and keep active, moving the joint regularly at least every 30 minutes. Do not use ice or heat for longer than 20 minutes at a time, and ensure you use a thin towel to prevent burning or frostbite. If you feel uncomfortable at any time or your symptoms start to worsen, remove the heat or cold pack.


Peter Heale Chiropractor in Hitchin and LutonFrom the team at Heale's Chiropractic Clinics
Over 30 years of helping people in Hitchin and Luton and the surrounding areas of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire

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