I’m sure many of you have been using the warmer weather as an opportunity to be more active. However, this active lifestyle is not without risk of injury, and sometimes, even though we were certain we warmed up and did everything we could to prevent injuries, they can still happen. Back injuries, in particular, have been a fairly common problem for many patients in our clinic.
One question that often plagues people’s minds amid these injuries is when it is acceptable to use a cold compress and when to use heat therapy, and the benefits to both.
Cold therapy reduces both swelling and pain. It can also result in less tissue damage and relieve the tissues that have become sore. Use cold therapy:
Heat is often used later in the healing process to increase blood flow to the injured area, as well as much-needed oxygen and nutrients. Heat should never be used as a FIRST resort immediately following the initial injury. Instead, it should only be used to assist in the healing process after the swelling and inflammation have gone down.
There are two different kinds of heat that you can use to treat an injury: dry heat or moist heat. Dry heat tends to be easier and usually involves an electric heating pad or a sauna, but this can often leave your skin feeling more dehydrated. Moist heat is a little harder to do, but it helps bring heat into your muscles. Examples of moist heat are hot baths, steamed towels, or moist heat packs. You can make your own moist heat pack by pouring either oatmeal or rice into a sock, tying it together with some thread, and heating it in the microwave for 1-3 minutes.
However, if you have diabetes, an open wound, or dermatitis, do NOT use heat therapy!
For those suffering from chronic lower back pain, there’s no easy answer regarding which form of therapy will work best for you because everyone’s body is different. As a general rule, a lot of patients who enjoy being active tend to prefer using heat therapy prior to working out to warm up their muscles, while they prefer cold therapy afterward, to reduce the inflammation and swelling.
However, I would caution you against using self-care for too long, for this could end up making the back pain worse.
If you’ve been suffering from chronic pain for a while, it is a good idea to seek help from a medical professional to find relief from your pain. If you have any questions, or if you have tried the above solutions and nothing is helping, please feel free to give my office a call!
Oliver Patalinghug is the trusted health expert and founder of the Metro Detroit's Leading Specialist Private Practice Physical Therapy for people in their 40's, 50's and 60's who want to keep healthy and active.
705 Barclay Cir. Ste. 135
Rochester Hills, MI 48307
Copyright RESTORE PHYSICAL THERAPY 2020
SPECIALIST PHYSICAL THERAPY IN ROCHESTER HILLS
For People In Their 40's, 50's, and 60's Who Want To Keep Active And Maintain Independence, Live Free From Painkillers And Avoid Risky Surgery.
FOR APPOINTMENTS AND QUESTIONS
Restore Physical Therapy serves clients who live and work in the Metro Detroit Area: Rochester Hills, Rochester, Shelby Township, Auburn Hills, Pontiac, Oakland Township, Troy, Bloomfield Hills, West Bloomfield, Sterling Heights And Madison Heights.
Join our mailing list today!