March 10, 2022
Since warmth and heat is usually associated with comfort and relaxation, heat therapy goes a step further and can provide both pain relief and healing benefits for many types of lower back pain. Moreover, heat therapy for lower back pain can be used in the form of heating pads, heat wraps, hot baths, warm gel packs, etc. and it is inexpensive and easy to do.
Back pain can range from a muscle aching to a shooting, burning or stabbing sensation. In addition, the pain may radiate down your leg or worsen with bending, twisting, lifting, standing or walking.
In many cases lower back pain results from strains and over-exertions. It creates tension in the muscles and soft tissues around the lower spine. As a result, this restricts proper circulation and sends pain signals to the brain.
Muscle spasm in the lower back can create sensations that may range from mild discomfort to excruciating lower back pain. Heat therapy can help relieve pain from the muscle spasm and related tightness in the lower back.
Heat therapy application can help provide lower back pain relief through several mechanisms:
Heat therapy dilates blood vessels (vasodilation), which increases blood flow. This improves blood circulation in the painful or stiff area.
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.
There are several other significant benefits of heat therapy that make it so appealing. Compared to most therapies, heat therapy is quite inexpensive (and in many circumstances it’s free – such as taking a hot bath). Heat therapy is also easy to do – it can be done at home while relaxing, and portable heat wraps also make it an option while at work or in the car.
For many people, heat therapy works best when combined with other treatment modalities, such as physical therapy and exercise. Relative to most medical treatments available, heat therapy is appealing to many people because it is a non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical form of lower back pain relief.
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