30-Second Blog “Snapshot:”
- Conservative therapies, such as hot or cold packs, exercising, and over-the-counter pain relievers may help mitigate pain in between interventional pain treatments.
- Patients hoping to relieve low back pain with a heat or ice pack may be confused about which one to use for their pain.
- At Southwest Spine and Pain Center, Utah’s leading pain management group, physicians explain the difference between ice and heat packs for back pain.
Although ice and heat can be beneficial at relieving certain musculoskeletal pains, there are instances where one should be used over the other. A great rule of thumb to follow may be this: ice is for injuries; heat is for muscle pain. We’ll elaborate:
Ice Is For Injuries
When you sustain any injury of any kind, your body responds by inflaming or swelling its tissues to prevent infectious agents and other debris from impeding recovery. Although this inflammatory process is completely normal, it can be incredibly painful depending on the cause or condition of your injury. Therefore, it’s important to apply ice to your injury not just to calm swelling, but to also reduce pain. Nevertheless, there are certain situations ice should be avoided and that is when your muscles are sore or stressed. Ice can cause severe trigger points and spasms to develop when it’s applied to sore muscles, which leads us to our next point: heat is for muscle pain.
Heat Is For Muscle Pain
If you're experiencing chronic back pain that did not result from an injury, you should consider applying heat to the area causing discomfort. Heat increases the blood flow and circulation to stressed or painful tissues and joints. Heat also loosens tight trigger points and softens muscles to decrease stiffness and increase flexibility. If you’re experiencing muscle spasms or chronic back pain, place a heating pad in the area for 15-20 minutes to reduce pain.
For more questions regarding conservative therapy for chronic back pain, call a Southwest Spine and Pain Center location today to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians. Our team of board-certified pain management specialists will be able to tell you what conservative therapies may provide the most benefit in between your pain management appointments.
If chronic pain is impacting your life, don't wait to schedule an appointment at Southwest Spine and Pain Center. With multiple locations across the state of Utah, the pain management specialists at Southwest Spine and Pain Center are dedicated to helping those who suffer from chronic pain live the life they want to! To schedule an appointment, visit our locations tab!
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.