Ice, Heat, Repeat


Ice and heat can be an integral part of healing or alleviating back pain.

It is a time honored treatment which is readily available in most households; in case of emergency, or in instances of a flare up, many people reach for an ice pack or a heat pack.

Ice and Heat is tried and true, but do you know why? 

Because it relieves pain and instigates the healing process. When ice is applied to a region, a process known as vasoconstriction takes place in which the blood vessels narrow, inflammation goes down and muscles flex. An ice pack should be applied for no more than 15 minutes at one time. 

Follow this up with a dose of heat, which does just the opposite: vasodilation occurs in which the blood vessels open and nutrients and oxygen rush into the area. This provides for muscle relaxation and pain relief as the healing process begins. Moist heat is better than dry heat and you should also apply for no more than 15-20 minutes at a time. 

Ice and heat is usually associated with rest. 

And while rest is a useful tool for rehab, it can also hamper your efforts to get better quickly. In moments when the pain is most severe, rest, ice and heat are an advisable course of action. But if you can stand it, use movement as medicine to help fight inflammation and pain and preserve range of motion and strength of crucial muscles. To help identify and treat the root cause of your pain or stiffness, give our office in Sacramento a call to schedule an appointment today. 

Dr. Raymond Espinosa, D.C.