What is Better for Lower Back Pain, Heat or Cold?


Ice or Heat?

Lower back pain is an extremely common complaint and one which can occur for many reasons. Pulled muscles, slipped discs or even poor posture can all result in pain in the lumbar region of your back. Fortunately, heat and ice therapy may be effective ways to minimise your discomfort.

However, it’s important to know whether to use heat therapy or ice treatments to resolve lower back pain. While both can be effective, you’ll find that ice therapy is more effective for some types of lower back pain, while heat therapy offers more relief for other types of back pain. Many people wonder about alternating hot and cold therapy for back pain.

To find the best solution for you, take a look at these top tips now:

1. Start with ice therapy for acute back pain


If your back pain started due to an injury or has been present for less than four weeks, it’s considered to be acute. For acute back pain, most people find that ice therapy helps to reduce the inflammation and alleviates discomfort. An ice pack can be used, or even a frozen packet of peas wrapped in a tea towel. Some people use ice gel therapy, which works in a similar way.

Once the inflammation has eased, heat therapy can be introduced to stimulate circulation in the affected area.

2. Use low heat therapy for chronic back pain

If your lower back pain has been on-going for more than four weeks, low level, continuous heat therapy may be used to reduce discomfort. A warm blanket or adhesive heat patches can be used to provide continuous heat and should help to stimulate healing when used regularly.

You could also try a heat lamp or infrared light therapy (please consult with a health practitioner who recommends this treatment before trying this yourself).

3. Use ice therapy after exercise

When you experiment with new exercise regimes or increase your training goals, you probably notice an increase in muscle soreness. Applying an ice pack to the affected area immediately after exercising helps to minimise inflammation and should, therefore, reduce any pain or discomfort. In most cases, it’s advisable to use ice therapy for a period of 24 hours after exercising. After this, switching to heat therapy can help to speed up the healing process.

Remember – excess temperatures can damage the skin. Wrapping ice and heat packs before applying and only using them for 15-20 minutes at a time helps to minimise the risk of skin damage.

Understanding Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain can have a major impact on your day-to-day lifestyle, particularly if you’re in extreme discomfort. While heat and ice therapy are great ways to manage your symptoms, it’s important to understand the cause of your pain.

By getting a professional diagnosis, you can ensure that you’re receiving the appropriate care and treatment to resolve your discomfort.

Furthermore, heat and ice therapy can be used in conjunction with other forms of treatment. Here at My Back Relief Clinic, we routinely advise patients to use heat therapy, ice treatments or a combination of the two in between sessions with a chiropractor.

This comprehensive approach to lower back pain ensures your discomfort can be relieved more quickly and more effectively.

Chiropractor Dulwich Hill

If you’re looking for advice from an experienced Sydney chiropractor, feel free to contact our clinic today.

My Back Relief Clinic

390 New Canterbury Rd, Dulwich Hill NSW 2203

02 9560 0184

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