Whether you’re nursing an injury or seeking relaxation, the use of heat and warmth can be very effective at reducing pain, and back pain in particular.
Heat therapy, also known as thermotherapy, allows therapists to work deep into your muscles and tissues. Allowing them to reach pain points that they are otherwise not able to.
Using heat therapy for lower back pain is very effective for this reason. It’s something you can do at home too, either by having a warm bath or using some other products.
Heat pads, heat wraps, gel packs, are just a few of the various products you can use at home to treat injuries with heat.
How Heat Therapy Helps with Pain
Most muscular pains are a result of excessive strain being put on the muscles or bad posture over time causing over-extension.
This causes tears and tension in the muscles and surrounding tissues and can cause a great deal of pain, spasms, and reduces the mobility of the muscles.
Heat therapy helps to increase the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the damaged areas by dilating the blood vessels.
It also actually helps reduce the amount of pain you’re feeling by stimulating the sensory receptors in your skin.
You will have noticed the muscles become less stiff almost instantly too. This is because the heat penetrates deep into the tissue allowing more flexibility, which is vital to speeding up the recovery of the injured muscles and tissues.
Should You Use Moist or Dry Heat?
Whether you use moist or dry heat largely comes down to personal preference.
Moist heat, like steamed towels and hot baths is generally believed to penetrate deeper into the muscles and a lot of people say this means it’s more effective for pain relief.
While dry heat is easier to apply and can be used on specific areas with a lot less effort and more regular.
If you’re nursing an injury I’d suggest trying both moist and dry heat and see how you feel afterwards.
Find what works best for you and which method will give you the fastest path to recovery.
Here are some of the health benefits of heat therapy and how it can help you recover from an injury quicker and get back to your best:
Benefits of Heat Therapy
No One enjoys being in pain and most of us reach of the painkillers and other traditional medicines as soon as we have an injury causing us a great deal of pain.
Heat therapy is a natural solution without the risks and side effects some medications carry. It’s also very therapeutic to have a nice warm bath, or rub some heat rub into the damaged muscles.
To get on the path to recovery you need to start using your muscles again. Heat therapy is able to penetrate deep into the tissue and help loosen stiff muscles.
With a careful rehabilitation plan you can speed up recovery by using heat therapy along with other forms of treatment.
Helps Manage Chronic Pain
A lot of people live in chronic pain due to conditions like arthritis. Heat therapy can make managing the day-to-day pain a lot easier and offers a safe complement to your current treatments.
You can reduce joint stiffness in the morning with a hot shower, or use heat packs on particular areas throughout the day. It’s a case of finding out what works best for you.
Reduces Tendonitis Pain
Tendonitis is becoming more common than ever as people spend more time typing and doing repetitive tasks that put strain on their hands and arms.
The pain is due to inflammation of nerves in the forearms and wrists and can be incredibly painful. Heat packs can reduce this pain and offer some respite from the throbbing pain.
Decreases Muscle Spasms
If you start experiencing muscle spasms it’s recommended you wait 2-3 days to allow any inflammation and swelling to go down, then you can use heat therapy to reduce the spasms.
The heat loosens the muscles and increases blood flow. This helps to reduce muscle spasms. Massage therapy and acupuncture are also recommended forms of treatment if the spasms persist.
Effective for Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain can be difficult to live. It can make even the easiest of daily tasks seem impossible, so finding ways to lessen the pain is usually a priority.
Heat therapy is very effective at treating back pain in ways that a lot of other treatments just can’t help. By restoring blood flow and loosening the tissues around the spine, heat therapy can provide that much-needed pain relief.
I’m a MA, (CMT) Certified Massage Therapist, Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and Reiki Master — I’m a licensed massage therapist with over 10 years of experience in the industry.