Should you Heat or Ice Low Back Pain?

Should you Heat or Ice Low Back PainLow back pain is something of common concern that all types of people experience at one point of life or another. It can be brought on from simply bending over, poor posture, lack of flexibility or countless other issues. Low back pain is actually one of the most common problems most people are plagued with in today’s world. If we look at it from a fitness standpoint, it’s very important to protect your back and make sure they are durable and strong. If there comes a time when your back gives out that can end or severely limit your lifting workouts.

With the lower back there are a few treatment options that work better than others. Now if you have experienced lower back pain you know how debilitating it can be and you may even have a distinct memory of leaving the gym crumpled over after a bad lift. Due to the pains chronic and reoccurring nature it’s hard to know exactly how to treat it. Should you heat or ice, stretch or not stretch? Advice can vary from person to person so read on below to find some low back pain treatments to best suit you.

Top 3 home treatments to help with low back pain:

1. Static Stretching - This type of stretching is a great option to help chronic low back pain. One very helpful stretch is the roll up, with both arms wrapped around the legs roll like a ball back and forth. Another similar stretch that can help with back pain starts with one leg down flat with the other leg bent up to the chest, you can even pull your knee across your body to maximize the stretch. Try these stretches first thing in the morning when you wake up and before you go to bed. They can help decompress the spine and loosen up your tight lower back muscles.

2. Cryokinetics – Fancy word for stretching while on ice. Simply buy one of those reusable gel packs, freeze it and lay it on the lumbar spine region. Then start to do some leg side stretching for about 15-20 minutes or until the gel loses it coldness. I would also combine this with #1 about twice a day.

3. Hot Compressions – This works really well before bed because the heat can be pretty intense and relax you off to sleep. Fill up a hot water bottle with boiling water (the reddish pink ones with the white screw top) and lay down with the heat under your back, place a towel on top to make sure the heat does not scald your skin. The heat actually penetrates the skin and starts to heal at the muscle.

Hot vs. Cold Treatment
As you can see above both ice and heat are popular and effective treatments for low back pain but which is actually better? It really depends on how the pain feels, if you feel your injury/pain is muscle related or chronic then hot compression is better. If you feel the injury is swelling or occurred suddenly then the best method is to always use Ice.
Remember to check with a doctor or a certified trainer to better diagnose your pain and the best treatment.

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