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Why must we use Ice for back and neck pain?

Posted 12/15/2015

Why must we use ICE for back pain instead of heat?


Most back pain is caused by a restriction of the spinal facets (Small spine joints) or sprains of the small inter-vertebral ligaments that cause swelling and inflammation to set in. Swelling puts pressure on the nerves and thus will cause pain

Heat will cause the blood vessels to open up and cause more fluid to leak into the tissues surrounding the area. Heat causes more swelling; this will cause more tissue damage which then will cause more pain.

Ice will cause the opening and closing of blood vessels, it will work like a pump. If you test it at home you will see your skin will change colours from white to red and will keep on alternating. The pumping effect will get rid of toxins and allows new nutrients into the area to allow the surrounding injured tissue to heal.

Use ice instead of heat because ice CAN’T do any harm but heat can cause extra tissue damage, thus heat will cause prolonged pain.


Why do other people tell me to use heat?


Muscles love heat, it allows them to relax and it makes it easier for therapists to work on. Unfortunately back pain is almost exclusively caused by the damaged joints and muscles act as body guards to protect the injured joints by pulling tight around those joints. Treating the muscles may be temporarily relief but they will tighten up again to protect those injured joints.