The age old question rages on… which is better for your back, ice or heat? Please let this post set the record straight. When it comes to any type of back/neck pain – ALWAYS use ice, NEVER heat. Medical physicians used to recommend patients put heat on their back/neck if they’ve been diagnosed with a lumbar or cervical sprain/strain. The problem is, this only correctly treats the condition if it’s a lumbar/cervical strain (pulled muscle). Unfortunately patients have been misdiagnosed with muscular strains for years, while the cause of the problem is usually a herniated/bulged disc. Heat works best for muscular strains, however will make ligament (like a disc) worse.
At Solutions, we have been treating back pain for 30 years and rarely find patients whose disc/spinal joints weren’t either the main cause of the problem or closely related. This is why our recommendation is to ALWAYS use ice. Unless you’ve been diagnosed by a doctor, you won’t know if your back/neck pain is from a pulled muscle or bulged disc, you just know it hurts! So, just in case you don’t know this, it’s safest to use ice. Just remember… Ice (for 20-30 minute increments) can only help you and will not hurt you. Heat however, can cause your disc problem to get worse. Considering this, it really should never be used directly over any parts of the spine to avoid the chance of inflaming uncorrected disc issues. If you’re having any type of pain, unusual stiffness or reduced range of motion in your back or neck, please make an appointment immediately for an evaluation. CLICK HERE to make an appointment.