Heat therapy is a form of pain relief that has become increasingly popular amongst Pain Doctors. This is a direct result of the effectiveness that the treatment provides, coupled with the relative ease of application and possible cost benefits. While it can be used for a number of different injuries in the medical world, it has become well known for its effectiveness in dealing with back pain. For those that are living lives with pain in both their upper and lower back, heat therapy can work wonders in helping patients deal with the pain.
Thermotherapy can be applied in numerous ways, however perhaps the most popular is in the form of a heating pad or hot cloth. When the pad is applied to the back, the rehabilitation process begins. As the areas are heated, joints will become less stiff, and the collagen tissues will be able to extend more regularly. As a result, muscle spasms are reduced to a minimum, and ultimately the pain that the patient feels will be reduced. As the body feels the heat, blood will naturally flow at an increased rate to the area. This increased blood flow will lead to additional nutrients flowing into the affected area, as well as an increase in oxygen in the blood. Together, this result in a decrease in pain in the affected part of the back as the patient recovers from their injury.
Apart from direct application on the back, infrared radiation can also be used. The main advantage of radiation over direct contact is that the radiation can stimulate the areas where the capillaries and neuron terminals exist in the body. The radiation can penetrate the skin and apply heat throughout the inside of the body, whereas direct contact will in fact only heat up the skin cells on the back of the patient.
Back Pain is one of the most common issues in the United States. As a result, numerous studies have been conducted to try and determine the best ways to reduce the pain that is experienced by patients.
The Cochrane Collaboration has run tests that have proven that heat therapy can lessen the pain and the symptoms that patients have had in their lower back (http://journals.lww.com/spinejournal/pages/articleviewer.aspx?year=2006&issue=04200&article=00008&type=abstract).The collaboration also found that the combination of heat and moisture is especially effective in this area. This means that applying a hot, wet cloth to the body can be better than simply a heat pad.
Further recommendations include making use of a hot tub or warm bath to relax the muscles and increase the blood flow to the areas in which the patient is experiencing the pain. However, the traditional use of heat pads is sometimes believed to the most effective, as the wrap will stay warm for up to six hours. It is not recommended to stay in a hot tub for this long.
If you are experiencing pain in your lower or upper back, it is always best to talk with qualified pain doctors before beginning any form of treatment.