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Heat or Ice: Which is Best for Back Pain?

By Genevieve Cunningham

Ever since you were big enough to be involved in physical activity and potentially get hurt, you’ve probably heard about the powers of heat and ice. When you’re injured or in pain, you get one piece of advice or the other. But, how do you know which to use? Can it be used for any type of pain? What about the ever-present back pain? While it’s always best to follow the advice of your doctor, take a look at this quick information guide to help you choose correctly, followed by the best option for managing back pain long-term.

Why Heat?

Heat is especially good for chronic pain. It works by loosening the muscles and ligaments to an area, thus releasing pressure and tension. It also pulls blood to the area, which can promote healing. What does it NOT do? It generally doesn’t stop inflammation, so if you’re swelling, ice might be the better option. Heat is the most often used form of therapy for back pain, especially in the lower back. Though it won’t solve the source of the problem, it’s great for alleviating the soreness and making you comfortable again.

Why Ice?

Ice is best used for new pain or short-term pain. If you’ve just sprained your ankle, ice might be helpful. It can also be incredibly useful for alleviating inflammation. It restricts the blood vessels in the area and keeps excess fluid from building. Ice is also numbing, so it can keep pain away because of its ability to keep all feeling away completely. Ice is usually not the first option for back pain. Why? Mostly because back pain tends to be a recurrent, ongoing pain, which is best served with a bit of heat.

What’s the Best Option for Back Pain?

If you really want to protect your back long-term, your best option is to take advantage of chiropractic care. Chiropractors focus on the spine. They’ll look for misalignments that might be causing pain or other unwanted symptoms, and they’ll correct them using spinal manipulation. As these problem areas are corrected, you may find less pain, fewer headaches, greater range of motion, and many other wonderful benefits. Though heat and ice can be effective for relieving short-term pain or inflammation, chiropractic care is your best bet for long-term health and comfort.

If you would like to try chiropractic care, check out The Joint Chiropractic. At The Joint, getting care is easier than ever with walk-in visits and affordable pricing. Chiropractors here may be able to help you get your spine aligned and feel better than ever. Protect your spine and get your back in the best shape yet with a quick trip to The Joint as soon as today.

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