Chances are pretty good that if you are reading this, you or a loved one is suffering from some kind of back pain. I promise that by the time you’re done reading this you will have learned something that you can use right now to relieve back pain!
I’ve written about the most common cause of back pain. I explained how a person with no training in doctor stuff can tell if they are getting the treatment they need for their back pain. I wrote a controversial article about why an MD is not the person to see for back pain. I even posted a video of myself performing a fun and excellent exercise that will help prevent back pain! In this article I am going to explain the best home therapy for back pain, but which is usually done incorrectly, so people think it doesn’t work. I explain this therapy for back pain every day in my practice, and every day I hear from my patients how much it has helped relieve their back pain!
When it comes to home treatment of back pain, ICE is your friend!
There is not a better home treatment in existence for back pain than ice! The problem I find is that generally ice is not used correctly. To help you understand how to use ice so that it works, I will explain what it does.
Ice has 3 major effects. The first effect is on blood circulation in the painful area. When something hurts, there is usually swelling. The swelling causes pain and spasm of the muscles. As the muscles get tighter, the circulation of blood to the injured area is impeded. When ice is first applied it causes vasoconstriction of the blood vessels being cooled. So, the blood to the area is sort of shut off during the first 5 to 10 minutes of ice application. Then after about 10 minutes the blood vessels vasodilate and a blood flow to the area rushes back into the area being iced. When you look at the skin of an area that has been iced it is bright red. That red color is from all the fresh, oxygenated blood.
The second effect of ice is on the muscles. There are always muscle spasms with back pain. Ice causes muscles to relax. Ice is very effective in reducing muscle spasms!
The third effect ice has is neurological. Check it out:
- Ice slows the nerve transmission in pain nerves.
- Ice reduces the activity of nerve endings.
- Ice increases the pain threshold.
- Ice causes a release of endorphins.
- Ice over-rides the pain sensation
Pretty COOL, don’t ya think?
There are two ways to do ice! The way that works, and every other way.
I put together this informative video to teach you the way to do ice that will help decrease back pain.
A couple important points to finish up with. I know someone is going to ask about heat. I will write another article on heat, but in short, heat from a hot pack or a heating blanket only penetrates about 3 mm deep. So, heat applications only warm the skin. The muscles, joints and nerves are not affected by a hot pack. While a hot pack is soothing and can feel good, its benefit is only skin deep.
Finally, using ice for back pain is only part of what needs to be done to fix the reason for the pain and to prevent future problems. Pain indicates that something is not right. Ice will help with pain, inflammation and muscle spasms, but it does nothing to correct the function of the painful area. So, while ice is just part of a treatment plan, it is the best home treatment for back pain!
I love getting your questions and comments below!