Despite modern technology and current advances in medicine, there are a few symptoms and problems we can’t beat or make disappear. Common cold and back pain remain as widely understood yet elusive problems that we can’t solve yet. There are many ways to reduce the symptoms, but finding a cure is highly unlikely because many different factors interact in different patients, and sometimes we don’t even know what’s really going on.
Let us dive into the topic and address how back pain symptoms can be relieved with an easy home therapy called heat and cold, and how infrared therapy stands as an interesting choice if you’re suffering from this annoying symptom.
The challenge of treating lower back pain
Finding an ultimate cure for lower back pain is more difficult than we may think. Professionals who study and cure pain are sometimes struck about back pain, especially since the symptom is experienced differently from one patient to the other.
Using high-tech imaging tests does not solve the problem. It sometimes raises more questions. You can have patients with severe back pain and no findings in an MRI. Conversely, we might also get patients with visible deformations and alarming alterations in imaging tests, but they don’t feel any pain at all, or maybe their symptoms are rather mild and very easy to treat.
Adding up to the challenge, back pain appears to be associated with mental health, too. Depression, anxiety, stress, and deeply emotional issues may contribute to triggering this symptom. Also, if you have suffered from back pain injury after a car accident this can be extremely distressing. Therefore, in a patient with lower back pain, there’s a high chance that all of these factors are actually interacting with each other. That’s the reason why home treatments are sometimes more useful than medications. If they are soothing and relieving tension in a case of back pain triggered by stress, the symptom will go away after a few minutes and without using drugs.
Heat and cold therapy for back pain
Heat and cold therapy has a long successful history in relieving all sorts of pain, especially those located in the musculoskeletal system. It is very useful in sports injuries and joint pain, and its soothing and calming properties can be used for back pain, too. There are many ways to apply heat and cold therapy, usually with hot packs and cold compresses applied to the skin. In any case, if you’re using this traditional method, it is important to be careful not to reach extreme temperatures and it is better not to apply heat and cold therapy directly to the skin.
What this type of therapy does is not only relieving tension in the muscles, but also reducing inflammation, improving circulation, and diverting your sensory system with new impulses that quiet down pain symptoms. Cold therapy significantly reduces inflammation and swelling in soft tissues. It is very useful to numb down the painful area, and it is especially helpful when pain symptoms are triggered by trauma. Heat therapy increases blood circulation and relieves tension in the muscles. This is very useful when pain symptoms are triggered by stress, musculoskeletal problems, and poor circulation. Together, these two therapies are an excellent weapon against back pain.
You might have experienced heat therapy if you’ve been to a spa or received a relaxing massage. After putting their hands on your back, massage therapists would sometimes place a heat pad on your back and let it rest for a while. This part of the massage is sometimes even more soothing and relieving than the massage itself, and it is a great way to get yourself prepared to return to your day-to-day activities.
Is infrared heat treatment useful?
Yes! There are many ways to apply heat therapy. A traditional method we all know is through heat pads or hot packs. They should be prepared in the microwave or in boiling water, but always trying to avoid extreme temperatures that may burn your skin and cause additional problems. Infrared heat treatment is yet another method we should try, especially if we suffer from recurrent or severe back pain.
Infrared heat treatment is a light-based method to increase temperature in the body, reduce inflammation, and treat pain. Additional to these features, infrared light is known to induce cell regeneration and promotes cell repair. Therefore, it is recommended if you have a degenerative disease, and very safe if you want to apply heat therapy without the risk of burning.
There are numerous studies about infrared heat treatment as a useful method to treat joint stiffness, muscle pain, arthritis, and even a few autoimmune diseases. But the effects are not only limited to pain relief. You may also find these potential health benefits:
- Improvements in your blood pressure: Infrared therapy is known to stimulate your blood vessels. By increasing your levels of nitric oxide, the arteries expand and blood pressure improves. It is also useful to promote blood circulation and prevent clotting.
- Boosts the immune system: The evidence is yet scarce, but apparently, we can also use infrared therapy to modulate the immune system and aid a few biochemical processes in the cell.
- Detoxing: Infrared therapy has also been implicated in the field of detoxing. By increasing blood circulation and improving your biochemical processes, infrared heat therapy can be useful to flush out toxins and detox your body at a cellular level.
There are many implements and gadgets you can use to get infrared heat therapy without leaving your home. You’ve got heating pads and wraps or may want to choose a heat lamp instead. In any case, using this technology will not only help you find relief with heat therapy but also get additional health benefits in the process.
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Shui, S., Wang, X., Chiang, J. Y., & Zheng, L. (2015). Far-infrared therapy for cardiovascular, autoimmune, and other chronic health problems: A systematic review. Experimental biology and medicine, 240(10), 1257-1265.