(NC)–When they’re experiencing acute back pain, the first thing that comes to many people’s minds is heat. The idea of warmth somehow seems soothing. But in the early phase of acute back pain, heat is the wrong treatment to use. At this point, heat will increase inflammation, which is what you don’t want to happen. The ticket is ice – or a cold pack.
Cold Packs used during the first 48 hours after an acute back injury will reduce inflammation and increase circulation. This will help the healing process begin.
Hot Packs are useful after the first 48 hours. By this time, the most important objective is to reduce muscle spasm.
Hot Tips/Cold Tips
• You can buy a pack at any pharmacy. Many brands can be used for both heat and cold.
• Wrap any pack (hot or cold) in a towel to protect the skin.
• To cool a pack, place it flat in the freezer for at least two hours. (Many people keep a cold pack in the freezer at all times - just in case.)
• To heat a pack, boil water in a large pot and then remove it from the stove. Immerse a room temperature pack in the water for about 7 minutes. (If it’s frozen, it will probably take 10 minutes to warm up.)
• Some packs can be heated up safely in a microwave – check the package for directions.
• If you decide to use a heating pad, leave it on for no more than 20 minutes. Take it off for 20 minutes and then apply again.
• Stuck for a cold pack when your pharmacy is closed? A bag of frozen peas will work almost as well!
For more information visit http://www.backrelief.ca/.
- News Canada