Cold therapy — conservative treatment for neck or back pain

Cold therapy, often used in conjunction with hot therapy, is one of the most common forms of conservative treatment for neck or back pain. Most patients who suffer from chronic neck or back pain find temporary pain relief by applying an ice pack, or other forms of ice, to the painful area of the spine. Depending on the intensity of the pain, the cold therapy may be applied every 15 minutes to help reduce pain.

Most doctors advise that patients use cold therapy with other forms of conservative treatment for neck or back pain, such as physical therapy and chiropractic care. If you have been diagnosed with a spine condition and you are not applying cold and/or hot therapy to help your neck or back pain, you should consult your doctor about adding this treatment to your regimen. To learn more about the various types of cold therapy and the alternatives available to this treatment, read the following article.

Types of cold therapy

Cold therapy is an effective form of pain relief because it helps to constrict the veins along the spine, which slows circulation and reduces inflammation. Often, inflammation along the spinal walls is responsible for impacting a nerve in the spinal canal and causing chronic pain. An ice pack or another form of cold compress can help to reduce the swelling and pain in the neck or back.

Most cold therapies require 10 to 15 minutes of cold compress on the spine, two to three times a day. Consult your doctor about how many days a week you should undergo this therapy. You can use several things as a cold compress to help relieve pain in the neck or back. The most common forms of cold compress include an ice towel. You can wet a towel in cold water, squeeze out the extra water and then place it in the freezer for about 15 minutes or until frozen.

A homemade ice pack can also be effective in providing you with relief. To create an ice pack, mix about three cups of water and one cup of rubbing alcohol in a freezer bag and freeze it for about 10 to 15 minutes or until slush forms in the bag. You should never apply the cold compress directly to the skin. Always use a barrier between your skin and the compress, such as a towel or paper towels.

Alternatives to cold therapy

Cold therapy can often be used in conjunction with other methods of conservative treatment to help increase your pain relief. Consult your doctor before combining any treatment methods. If you have tried several forms of conservative treatment to heal your neck or back pain, and have found no lasting relief after several weeks or months, you may want to consult your doctor about a surgical treatment option for your neck or back pain.

At Laser Spine Institute, we offer minimally invasive spine surgery to help treat chronic neck or back pain. Our minimally invasive surgery is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^ We provide minimally invasive decompression surgery and minimally invasive stabilization surgery to treat most spine conditions. The type of surgery performed will be dependent on the location and severity of the spine condition. If you have any questions about our minimally invasive surgery, we encourage you to contact our dedicated team.

Our goal is to empower you with knowledge about your spine condition and the treatment options available to you, both conservative and surgical, so you can make an informed decision about your spine care needs. We’ve performed more than 75,000 patient procedures since 2005 and we are confident we can help you get back to your life before your spine condition. To find out if you are a potential candidate for our outpatient surgery, reach out to us today and ask for a free MRI review.*