Thank you for joining us for today’s livestream where we talked about how specifically for back pain, whether you should be using ice or heat therapy to ease your discomfort. There’s a specific method that we favour at the clinic, but we frequently see patients who have been opting for the wrong one of the two.
If you’ve got any kind of back problem, whether it’s degenerative disc disease, a slipped, bulging or herniated disc or any other kind, these tips will be helpful for you. Many practitioners recommend using heat as it often feels good, but it’s likely to feel good regardless of whether you have pain or not there. A hot shower feels good for anyone, as does a hot bath.
If you sprain your ankle, you will likely experience swelling. The ankle has space for that inflammation to pool. However, if you injure your lower back, there’s a limited amount of space for that inflammation to fill. The problem comes where it’s recommended to use heat because the area has been mistakenly diagnosed as simply a muscular problem, which happens so often.
Using ice on the area helps to calm the inflammation. As the body heats back up, increased circulation is driven to the area and helps to take away waste tissue from the injury and bring it nutrients. Heat does not do the same thing here. 3-5 minutes of using an ice pack or bag of frozen peas will be helpful. Make sure to wrap it in a tea towel so that you don’t burn your skin. Don’t use it for too long, and use for repeat applications. Don’t do it for 20 minutes because you’ve skipped on doing it the rest of the day, it doesn’t work well. Make sure that you’re applying it onto the back in the centre onto the spine.
Contrast bathing is also an option where you use 2-3 minutes of heat, then ice for 3-5 minutes. You can do this for 2-3 cycles as long as you always finish with ice. This can help effectively bring down inflammation.