As I always say in the previous articles, you know that lower back pain is arguably the most common condition that people will suffer their entire life with 80% of the human population. Back pain is subjected to different kinds of treatment, prevention steps, and over-the-counter medications such as pain relievers, exercise, good sleeping positions, a healthy and balanced diet, going to an expensive treatment with a medical practitioner, and good posture another interesting way to minimize and/or eliminate back pain is through heat. If we’re going to think about it, heat is commonly associated with relaxation, and comfort however this is not the only thing that heat offers us. Heat provides pain relief by relaxing the blood vessels which increases blood flow and circulation, nutrients, and oxygen to the affected joints and muscles. Blood flow and circulation help repair damaged muscles, improve the stiffness of the affected area, and minimize inflammation.
Benefits of Heat Therapy
Amazed yet? Here are more of the prominent benefits of heat therapy for back pain that will surely amaze you more:
Heat calms painful muscles. Most forms of back pain involve muscle spasm which causes severe pain. Because of this, circulation of the blood is restricted which causes pain as it is signaled to the brain. Heat therapy can relieve tightness and stiffness in the lower back by promoting circulation and blood flow. Muscle spasms are one of the most common reasons why people go to emergency rooms.
Heat reduces pain from stiffness. Regular heat therapy provides decreased stiffness in the back and back injuries, increased range of motion, and strengthened movements of the trunk. Relatedly, heat softens the tissue in the muscles and around the spine which lessen the stiffness of the lower back by relieving it.
Heat makes exercises more tolerable. Stretching, physical activity and exercises are one of the most recommended things to do to reduce back pain, and to be able to tolerate this better, it is advised to apply heat to the affected areas to make it more possible to complete. Also, when doing physical therapy sessions, heat is applied immediately before starting. This way, the overall outcomes of the therapy session will improve.
Heat interrupts the transmission of pain signals. Heat therapy activates heat-sensitive calcium that can block pain which reduces pain.
Heat produces relaxation chemicals. When we think about the heat for the body, the first thing that comes to mind is relaxation and that is correct. Most spas and massage therapy centers use heat as part of their therapy. Heat therapy reduces stress by cortisol levels in the blood, as well as oxidative stress on a chemical level. Applying heat is a good way to relax your body and mind.
Heat reduces reliance on medications. Since heat therapy can help minimize and reduce pain in the back muscles, this means that a person suffering from it will depend on over-the-counter drugs less. Heat is more effective and more budget-friendly than medicines which also have a lesser risk of side effects and drug dependence. This is a better way to treat back pains especially since lower back pains tend to attack frequently. Lesser risk at a lesser cost.
Heat boosts immunity. Research shows that continuous use of heat therapy promotes the following: a. Decrease in inflammatory markers– frequent use of heat by doing heat therapy lowers the level of C-reactive protein in the blood interleukin-1 and leukotriene B4, which strengthens the immune system and decreases inflammation. b. An activated immune system– hot baths help increase monocytes that help remove dead cells, and fight infections that activate the immune system.
Electric Heating Pads
Hot or warm baths provide the heat that you need to promote circulation and reduce back pain. A bath works best if you have pain in other areas of your body, too. However, for back pains, the most common equipment to use is electric heating pads. Electric heating pads should be used properly since they get hot quickly which can damage and burn the skin. Here’s how to properly use an electric heating pad:
Always start the heating pad on the lowest setting and just gradually increase it as you like it. For minor aches and pains, the lowest heat temperature can already be enough.
If you are using the pads on a high setting, make sure to remove them before 15 minutes or when you’re already feeling so much heat to prevent skin burning. Each person has a different heat preference so always feel it and listen to your body. On the other hand, you can use the heating pad for up to 1 hour if you are using it on a low setting.
If you’re pregnant, be cautious of the heat because this can cause problems for the fetus. Using the heating pad on the lowest setting for just at least 15 minutes is probably the best way you do it. But before doing this, always ask your gynecologist about your and your baby’s safety.
Precaution and Safety Tips
Here are some safety tips you can do to avoid burning injuries while using a heating pad:
Don’t place heating pads directly on the skin. Always use a barrier like a piece of cloth to avoid burning.
Always be mindful of time. Do not overdo it unless you can take the heat and never fall asleep with a heating pad.
For first-timers, when using a heating pad, always start on the lowest setting and just gradually adjust it based on your desired heat.
To avoid electric shock, do not use a heating pad with a broken electrical cord.
Do not apply a heating pad to an open wound.
When different sorts of aches are present in our bodies, it is difficult to make almost everything—from moving to work. Although it can be easy to treat back pain through over-the-counter medications, heat therapy might be one thing you should consider, too. With its relaxing power, it also has wonderful benefits for your body. If you wanna try this but are unsure yet about buying a heating pad, try a hot, steamy bath first to see if you like it! This can surely help you keep going.