We get this question all of the time, Should I use heat therapy? Now, let us dive into this question a bit further.
Using heat has been an ordinary solution for treating injuries. The most effective heat treatment, however, will maintain heat during treatment. The appropriate temperature is warm. Although many think it needs to be hot. However, having heat therapy too hot can burn the skin. And also cause further damage to the muscles. Yikes. Let’s try to avoid another injury!
Types of Heat Therapy
There are two main types of heat treatments, these are moist and dry heat.
- Moist heat allows the heat to penetrate muscles. Therefore, treatments include baths and steamed towels.
- Dry heat can leave the skin dehydrated as it removes moisture. However, it is believed to relieve injury discomfort. Electric heating pads are the most common source of dry heat.
Heat therapy works differently for everyone. Therefore, one type might work for me and not you. You may need to try a few methods to find what works best for you. Although, this typically will depend on what is most comfortable. When it comes to treating lower back pain. However, the most commonly used heat methods are:
- Hot water bottle. This will stay warm for between 20 and 30 minutes.
- Electric heating pad. This method will maintain a constant temperature.
- Heated gel packs. These can stay warm for close to 30 minutes. They can be microwaved or heated in water.
- Heat wraps. Use these wraps wrapped around the lower back.
- Use a bath, hot tub, or sauna. These will provide heat therapy along with feelings of relaxation. A whirlpool jet can bring added relief to aching muscles too.
Above all, when using heat treatment therapy, remember to maintain insulation. The skin should never be exposed directly to high temperatures. However, there are circumstances when heat therapy should never be used.
When Not to Use Heat Treatment Methods
You should not use heat therapy if you have conditions such as:
- Bruised or swollen lower back
- Heart disease or hypertension
- Deep vein thrombosis
- An open wound
- Severe cognitive impairment
- Peripheral vascular disease
Heat treatment is a successful and inexpensive way to provide pain relief to your lower back. Furthermore, it is especially beneficial when used in conjunction with other therapies, such as physical therapy. Often, it’s overlooked as a simple option. However, when used correctly, heat therapy is a valuable healing resource!