You could manage back pain at home with ease. The proper use of this treatment can help you ease your discomfort while you’re resting at your place. However, if it doesn’t work at all, and the pain endures and keeps getting worse, it’s a good idea to see a doctor.

By using heat or cold for back pain, you could help treat certain issues of your back. As some conditions of back pain are related to inflamed or mildly sore areas in your back, applying heat or cold may produce relief.

Cold can have a numbing and soothing effect, and heat can help activate areas in your body as well as your blood circulation. Depending on how you use them for therapy, you can achieve different goals related to your back’s health.

Doctors use to recommend heat or cold for back pain treatment. They encourage their patients to improve the well-being of their backs just with home sessions. They know heat and pain are great tools for the body to make steady progress.

There are different ways to do the treatment at home, but it’s not difficult. The recommended way for you depends on your particular condition, which has its differential symptoms. Each symptom reacts differently to heat or cold, so it’s a matter of knowing when to apply them.

All you’ll need for your home treatment is a bag of ice and a heat pack or pillow. Lay down on your chest and apply them to your back. Doctors will guide you in case you need to buy them, or need instructions on how to use them properly.

At Premier Pain Doctors, we treat different types of pain all over the body. If you have any doubt, you can request a consultation and let our experts help with your ailments. Also, if you want to know about our expert pain treatments, learn more about them here.

In this article, we will teach you about some ways of applying heat or cold for a particular issue. Find out if your discomfort is among the ones we list here and learn if you could ease them off at home.

Learn more about pain treatments here.



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Ease Off the Pain Caused by Damaged Discs and Spinal Stenosis

If you have a continued back pain case, you can ease it off with heat treatment. If you apply heat to your back area, you will stimulate healing.

Certain types of back pain appear after accidents, spinal procedures, and herniated discs. In these cases, back pain is normal. A good practice for patients with spinal conditions is to apply heat to their low back.

Heat will stimulate blood flow and this helps to ease discomfort. This kind of pain is often chronic, which is why patients learn to treat it at home. When the pain gets to a state that the patient cannot tolerate, it’s time to go to the doctor.

According to experts, if you are treating your pain with heat, use a medium that provides warmth. The item you use can be a heated towel or pillow. If you use a specialized pillow, read its instructions to avoid skin damage.

For patients with these cases, the heat applied must be of a low level. Very warm therapy is not what the doctor would recommend, but, if it is low-heated and continuous, the heat can work for hours. Apply low-level heat for 2 to 4 hours and see your pain relieved.

Heat therapy aggravates back pain only in rare cases. Bodies get used to the heat and in most cases tolerate it while the healing process happens. If the pain is too intense, the suggestion is to go and see your doctor.

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Find Relief from Back Pain After Exercise with Ice

When treating your back, your doctor will probably advise you to do some exercise. Exercising is a way of obtaining power to get stronger in your back area. Cold after the exercise will be great.

Maybe you’re doing some yoga, walking, going to the gym, or making some workout at home. Your back pain will start easing off as your muscles get stronger, and physical therapy is a great way to help.

Applying ice after the exercise is a great idea.

You’ll get excellent results by doing it. Here are some advantages of cold after a workout.

Prevents muscle soreness

Ice after a workout helps your muscles to recover faster from the exercises. A solid 20 minutes of cold therapy after a workout will allow you to feel much better the next day.

You could apply cold to your back using ice. You’ll feel the healing effects right away.

Heals Your Back After Walking Long Distances

If you’re a patient with back injury issues, you can get some pain by walking long distances. Ice will help you. Apply it after the walk: it’ll help to heal you.

Either if you walk a lot in a workout or just because it is part of a routine, the pain provoked by the activity will ease off with cold therapy.

Helps you to avoid Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Sometimes, muscle soreness appears 2 or 3 days after a workout. Your body might feel alright right after it, but your muscles will get through a tangling process that can last up to 72 hours. In this case, you’ll feel the soreness in your back even days after the workout.

Delayed onset muscle soreness can happen, for example, when you try a new workout. Experts recommend using ice after the exercise stops, which will decrease the possibility of developing muscle soreness. Applying cold to your back will numb the tissues and prevent the tangling of muscles.

Accelerates Your Back’s Recovery After a Hard Workout

A workout can be intense, particularly to your back. If you’re a back pain patient, the suggestion from doctors is to use cold therapy right after exercise. The first effect of it will be relaxing your muscles and tissues and preventing inflammation.

When your back muscles get inflamed during or after a workout, you must use ice after the training. This not only will ease up the inflammation, but it’ll help you recover faster for the next workout.

After the cold treatment, doctors recommend waiting 24 hours and then applying heat therapy to your back. This will encourage your tissues to heal.

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Combine heat and cold treatments for sensitive back pain (back treatment for injuries)


When you experience a lot of back pain in a short time, try a therapy that involves both heat and cold application to your back. You’ll be able to locate the exact spot of the pain and heal it with high and low temperatures.

This may work for you, for example, after an injury or trauma. The muscles, nerves, and joints of your back may remain sore and provoke a bothersome feeling for days or a few weeks after the incident. Heat and cold will help.

The first thing you should do is apply cold. What this will do with some minutes of use is shrink your blood vessels and cause a numbing effect. It’ll also help reduce swelling, soreness, and inflammation. Your back will start healing.

When the inflammation of the affected area is low, switch to heat therapy. You’ll know when to do it at the moment you feel the affected area is numb because of the cold. Apply heat for about 20 minutes and you’ll feel your tissues get more flexible, enabling healing.

With heat, your muscles will also start recovering. Heat will help them get more mobile and also improve the blood circulation in the entire area. Specialists recommend using heat therapy several times a day in these cases, to facilitate healing.

Patients that use this technique of cold plus heat get better in the first few days of treatment. A valuable thing about the treatment is that it allows the veins surrounding the affected area to have less inflammation and start flowing blood better.

This will help your body to transport the nutrients that it needs to heal the area of the trauma. Your veins will move those nutrients to your injured tissues and the healing will begin.

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When You Shouldn’t use heat or cold for back pain?

There are some conditions related to back pain that don’t need heat or cold treatment. If you have recent trauma like open wounds or bleeding, avoid applying heat or cold to the area. This would help heal muscles and joints, but it can make wounds hurt or stop their healing.

Heat treatment of chronic conditions such as diabetes mellitus or rheumatoid arthritis is not advised. Also, doctors recommend not applying heat to your back in some cases of poor blood circulation.

For these patients, heat can cause burns or skin ulceration. It can also increase the inflammation of the area, which is exactly the opposite effect that you want from the treatment.

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FAQ about heat and cold treatment for back pain.

Is it better to use heat or cold for back pain relief?


Both are useful. The way to do it depends on your particular case, which will require using heat and cold in a particular way and order.

What do I do if I feel back pain after exercise?


When you’re having a back treatment, muscles usually tighten after a workout session. Applying ice in the back for 20 minutes after the exercise will help them loosen up, and you’ll be able to recover quicker for your next workout.

My back hurts after an injury. Do I apply heat or cold?


You can start having a cold plus heat treatment at home. Start by applying cold to your affected area, and after a while switch to heat treatment. You’ll start improving your back pain soon.

Can heat make my pain worse?


Heat therapy might aggravate your back pain, but it rarely occurs. Once your body starts getting used to heat, your back will benefit from it and the pain will diminish. Most patients that use heat treatment tolerate it. If the pain is too intense, the best recommendation is to go and see your doctor.