Should You Use An Ice Pack
Or The Hot Tub For Your Back Pain?
Many people with back pain do some self-care when they first hurt their lower back… hoping that this will keep them out of a doctor’s office.
Home remedies sometimes make the pain go away and sometimes they don’t. It depends on what you try.
When the back is first hurt, it’s often a sprain/strain type of injury with accompanying muscle spasm. When a nerve in the low back gets pinched or irritated, the body will protect the delicate nerves by keeping you from moving and risking further nerve injury. The easiest way for the body to do this is to cause your back muscles to spasm and therefor splint the injured area.
Muscle pain can be quite severe and heat can sometimes soothe muscle pain.
For this reason, many patients take to the hot water bottle or the hot tub to try and get some relief. This should be avoided in an acute injury, because inflammation is present. With inflammation, there is increased heat in the injured area… and the additional heat you provide is like adding gasoline to a fire. The results are usually NOT good.
A better choice with an acute injury is to ice the area, but this also needs to be done with some caution. The simplest ice pack is ice cubes placed in a plastic bag. While effective, you can cause a frostbite injury if you leave the pack on for too long.
When you first ice your back, you will go through several phases before you feel some back pain relief. At first, the ice pack will feel cold. The next phase is a burning sensation. In this phase, the ice will almost feel hot. This is followed by an aching or throbbing sensation. Just before the area is numbed, you’ll feel a very sharp pain… followed by the relief you desire.
The phases described above can take from five to ten minutes. Once numbness is achieved, the ice pack should be removed.
DO NOT FALL ASLEEP WHIL THE ICE PACK IS STILL ON YOUR BODY.
You’ll wake up in PAIN.
If this simple procedure does not solve the problem it’s best to get your spine checked by an expert in who treats back pain.
Low back pain is the most common problem we treat in our office. So far, we’ve helped thousands of people get back pain relief.
For some back problems, you should use ice… for others, use heat. If you’re not sure whether to use ice or heat for your back pain, call our office today at (831) 475-8600.