While ice therapy is used to reduce swelling, heat therapy is used to relax the muscles and increase circulation. Both kinds of therapy help reduce pain.
Heat therapy is often used in patients who have chronic or long-lasting pain. Heat therapy can involve many kinds of methods, from simple heating pads, wraps, and warm gel packs, to sophisticated techniques, such as therapeutic ultrasound.
Back injuries can create tension and stiffness in the muscles and soft tissues of the lumbar region, or lower back. In many cases, your circulation may be impeded.
The tension in the muscles can sometimes escalate to spasms.
- Dilates the blood vessels of the affected muscles, allowing them to relax and begin healing.
- Helps lower discomfort by reducing the amount of pain signals going to the brain.
- Increases the ability of your muscles to easily flex and stretch, thereby decreasing stiffness.
Heat therapy, as well as ice therapy, are normally parts of an overall chiropractic treatment plan and rarely accomplish maximum results without it.
Heat therapy is not used on swollen or bruised tissues, or in patients who have dermatitis, deep vein thrombosis, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, open wounds, and cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension. Moist heat, such as a hot pack, works better than dry heat, such as an electric heating pad. Moist heat should be kept on for 20 minutes, or less, at a time.