Back pain is something that not only affects athletes but will affects a number of people in their everyday lives, two of the most popular methods used to relieve this pain are hot and cold therapy. However, there can be some confusion to which kind of treatment is best for different injuries.
These methods of treatment are seen as more short-term solutions and several people will have felt the relief of pain from taking a hot bath or applying a cold compress, however, to fully benefit from either treatment, you need to fully understand what each treatment is used for.
Using Ice for Injuries
Injuries are extremely common in sport, exercise and life and the swelling of muscles immediately following an injury can be extremely painful.
Whilst ice doesn’t completely cure the injury itself, it will help lower the inflammation of damaged tissue and is an ideal treatment for those who would rather avoid using medicine to relieve pain.
When using ice as a method of pain relief, you should only apply it for a maximum of 20 minutes at a time as applying too much ice could cause tissue damage.
Using Heat for Muscles and Stress
Heat is seen as the main treatment for those with a back injury as it can be used to focus on certain trigger points, meaning several people suffering from back pain will regularly take hot baths.
As well as calming the nervous system the use of heat will also reduce stress and tension, as stress can be a factor in the pain being experienced.
It is vital that you can take care when applying any kind of heat treatment, for example, try to wrap your heat sources with a towel to avoid suffering from burns.
What if I use the wrong treatment?
Using the wrong treatment can have some serious consequences, especially when applying it to a back injury.
For example, if you were to apply heat to a muscle that’s inflamed, then the inflammation will become worse, similarly ice can make tensed up muscles feel even stiffer than they need to be.
Not every injury is back-and-white and there can be different circumstances to why certain treatments need to be used, but if you are in any doubt always seek advice from a medical professional.