The feelings of warmth and heat are often associated with comfort and relaxation, but did you know heat therapy can also provide pain relief and healing benefits for various types of lower back pain? Heating pads, hot baths, warm gel backs and heat wraps are all adequate forms of heat therapy that can be used to reduce pack pain.
Pain in the lower back muscles is often a result of strains and overexertion, which create tension in the muscles and soft tissues around the lower spine. This restricts our body’s ability to properly circulate, causing pain signals to be sent to the brain.
Heat therapy application can help provide lower back pain relief through several mechanisms:
- Heat therapy dilates the blood vessels of the muscles surrounding the lumbar spine. This process increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, helping to heal the damaged tissue.
- Heat stimulates the sensory receptors in the skin, which means that applying heat to the lower back will decrease transmissions of pain signals to the brain and partially relieve the discomfort.
- Heat application facilitates stretching the soft tissues around the spine, including muscles, connective tissue, and adhesions. Consequently, with heat therapy, there will be a decrease in stiffness as well as injury, with an increase in flexibility and overall feeling of comfort. Flexibility is very important for a healthy back.
Heat therapy is an easy and inexpensive form of treatment that can be conducted using either dry or moist heat. Dry heat includes treatments such as saunas and electric heating pads, while moist heat includes hot baths, steamed towels and moist heating packs. Because a specific type of heat therapy may feel better for one person than another, it may take some experimentation to figure out what works best.
A doctor of chiropractic can work with you to determine the cause of your back pain and can provide the proper heat therapy treatment and exercise regimen for your specific needs.
If you, a friend or family member has been suffering from back pain, call us today at 732-431-2155 to schedule an appointment with a member of our experienced chiropractic team.