When you have back pain do you use heat or ice?
We know how unpleasant back pain can be. When back pain happens, other than visiting a doctor, many people have asked what they can do to ease the pain while at home. People often think of using heat or ice but aren’t sure which one is better.
The right answer may just be that both can be effective but might work better during different stages of your pain. In general, doctors recommend using ice in the first 2-3 days at the onset of your back pain. First, wrap the ice pack with a towel before applying to the troubled area to protect your skin. Afterwards, leave the ice pack on for 20 minutes each time and use it up to three times a day – once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once at night. Cold therapy can help reduce inflammation and swelling.
After 3 days, we generally recommend switching it to heat therapy, as heat can boost blood circulation and speed healing of the injury. Using a heating pad (low to medium heat), apply it to the troubled area for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the afternoon. Before going to bed, we recommend using another 20-minutes of cold therapy. Heat therapy at bedtime may cause the blood to collect/pool to the area which could cause increased inflammation and further aggravate your pain.
We hope you find this information helpful and have a speedy recovery! To learn more about back pain and its various treatments, visit our page here.