Back pain can be caused by many things. It can be caused by an injury (such as in a car accident) or a repetitive stress situation (such as having to lift heavy objects over and over again). Heating pad therapy can be used to treat this pain; however, does it really work?
Heating Pad for Back Pain, Will it Ease the Pain?
Heat can help with back pain through several different mechanisms:
- Heat application can cause elongation of the soft tissues of the back. You can use a heating pad for back pain using heat therapy. This will decrease the stiffness and will increase the flexibility of the low back.
- Heat can also stimulate the sensory receptors inside the skin. This means that applying a heating pad for back pain will decrease pain signal transmissions and will treat the pain (at least in part).
- Heat therapy increases the diameter of the blood cells in the muscles around the back. This increases the flow of nutrients and oxygen in the muscles, helping damaged muscles heal.
There are several other benefits of heat therapy that make it so attractive. Compared to other treatments, heat therapy is extremely inexpensive and, in many cases, it can be free. A heating pad for back pain is easy to use. It can be done in your own home while you are relaxed. Portable heat wraps can be an option if you’re in the car or at work.
For many individuals, heat treatments work best when mixed with other types of therapies for back pain, such as exercise and physical therapy. Heat therapy is interesting to most individuals because it is non-pharmacological and non-invasive.
The most effective heating pad for back pain products are those that can keep their heat at the right temperature. The correct temperature is “warm”. People need to have their heating pads for back pain set to a lower level so that it doesn’t burn the skin. Just heating the skin will do little to decrease the pain.
In many cases, the longer the heat is applied the better it will work. The time a person needs to apply the heat, however is based on the magnitude or type of treatment. For very minor back pain, one needs to use the heat for a short period of time. For injuries that are more intense, longer sessions of heat therapy are necessary (such as a half hour to up to two hours).
Types of Heating Pad for Back Pain
There are two choices for heat therapy: 1) dry heat (such as that used in saunas and heating pads) and 2) moist heat (such as hot baths, moist heating packs and steamed towels. A treatment used on one person may be right for some people but not right for others.
Some choices for heating the back include:
- Electric heating pad (that maintains a continuous heating level as long as it is plugged in)
- Far Infrared Heat heating pad (this heat penetrates deeper into the muscle)
- Heat wraps (that wrap around the lower back and may be worn under clothing)
- Hot baths (that provide moist heat in the bathtub)
- Heated gel packs (that can be heated in water or microwaved)
It is crucial to use enough insulation between the skin and the heat source so that you don’t burn the skin.
So to answer the question – Heating Pad for Back Pain, Will it Ease the Pain?
Yes, in most cases it will.