Heat therapy and cold therapy for neck and back pain

Depending on the severity of the condition that is causing your neck pain, back pain, tingling, numbness, weakness or other problems, you may be recommended to attempt a number of different treatments. However, one of the easiest and earliest things you can do to manage your neck or back pain is heat therapy and/or cold therapy. Not only can this form of treatment be applied from the comfort of your home, but it can very often be an effective way to reduce pain before seeking out more involved therapies.

Cold therapy options

Cold therapy can reduce neck or back pain, limit inflammation and minimize muscle spasms. Here are some easy cold therapy treatments you can use:

  • Cold gel packs
  • Homemade ice packs
  • Cold towels
  • An ice bath

It is generally recommended to limit cold therapy sessions to 15 to 20 minutes at a time to avoid limited circulation to the area.

Heat therapy options

Heat therapy is an effective method to reduce muscle spasms, increase range of motion, relieve pain and relax tense muscles. Here are some simple ways to try out heat therapy at home:

  • A hot compress
  • A heating pad
  • Warm gel packs
  • Warm towels
  • Taking a hot shower or warm bath

If you are alternating with cold therapy options, take enough time between sessions for your skin to return to a normal temperature. Make sure any application is at a safe temperature and use a buffer, such as a towel, between the hot or cold source and your skin if necessary.

With any heat and/or cold therapy solution, a good rule of thumb is that if you feel better after applying the treatment, then it is working. While alternating hot and cold therapy can be a great way for many to ease neck or back pain, more involved treatments may be required in some cases.

If your symptoms are the result of a spine condition, such as a herniated disc or bone spurs, and you aren’t getting the relief you need from conservative treatments, contact Laser Spine Institute today. We can tell you more about the advantages of our minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery that is a safer and effective alternative^ to traditional open neck or back procedures.

A member of our dedicated team can help you receive your free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.