Where there’s heat, there is usually therapy associated with it. And where there is therapy, that usually means a heating pad., one of the best sources for sore muscles and backs. Applying heat will bring:
- Pain relief
- Healing benefits
- Restricts proper circulation
- Sends pain signals to the brain
- Use short amounts, 15-25 minutes.
- For intense injuries 30 minutes to 2 hours is good.
In addition, it goes a step further. It will provide both:
Its often we hear about how soaking in a tub or applying heat to your affected lower back pain can help ease your pain, but have you ever wondered how heat therapy treatments such originated? And when it exactly began
In my article I aim to help you understand why there are many benefits to using heat for your lower back pains and injuries, and I n the process, I will show and tell you what I’ve done over the years to help my myself.
Ready to jump right in?
Let’s do it.
As Early History Has It, A Brief Background
In my second year of college I really buckled down and learned more about heat, one of those subjects being thermochemistry.
It wasn’t until I learned the formation of heat, and combined that with my humanities course that I learned my way around it. As early history has it, the Ancient Greek and Egyptians really studies the natural light source of heat. Early physicians like used the suns rays for the sole purpose of heat therapy.
As my textbook has it, it dated back to 500B. C. When the famous Egyptian physicians constructed a rule for sun and heat therapy. One of these being:
Thermal baths and mud baths being linked to volcanic sources. Were common practices. But none other than Hippocrates was behind the true power. He recognized the power of heat as a source for healing. And he said this famous phrase:
“Give me the power to produce fever, and I will cure all disease”
Fast forward to today’s time, and its stated heat is the most effective treatments for swelling, and arthritis. However, it doesn’t limit it to that, there are more like joints, muscles, and chronic pain. People of all different ages, sizes, and shapes are all able to benefit.
How Heat Therapy Works, Like A Charm
I want to start off by speaking generically. Many of the episodes you feel to your lower back muscles, result from a strain, and overexertion. This leads to creating tension in the muscles and soft tissues around the lower spine. When this ha[happened to things take place when this happens:
There’s usually a cry for pain that follows. To the rescue comes heat therapy. When heat enters through your thick tissues, it will:
Dilate the blood vessels of the muscles surrounding the lumbar spine. But how you might ask? Through the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, thus helping heal damaged tissue.
And number two:
Heat will stimulate your sensory receptors in the skin, meaning that all these pain signals your brain receives, will decease. The most important thing that I found out was that it stretches the soft tissues around the spine, including muscles in:
- Connective tissue
Within a matter of minutes you will decrease stiffness as well as an injury, increasing flexibility and overall feeling of comfort. And if you didn’t know already, flexibility is a major component for a healthy back.
Where To Apply The Majority Of Heat
The best takeaway I have with using heat for my own lower back is 1. Its quite inexpensive and 2. Its easy to do. I can do it from the comfort of my home while relaxing.
How you should apply it:
So I’ve come across various heat forms. There is hot, warm, and warm. Which one would you think is not only better but safer? Its “warm”. You want to avoid using hot heat because it can actually burn the skin.
And think of it this way, to penetrate through your thick tissue and effectively reach your muscles, you need to give it at least 30 seconds to do so. Without heat, it will back off and will leave you with a burn. Now the question is, for how long?
I’ve learned that the longer the better. But you have to base it off of a couple inquiries:
For minor types of heat do this:
This is where it gets interesting. Most people I know never think about the form of heat and its impacts. You have two options, moist and dry. And I will explain both.
Heat Source #1: Moist heat. this includes hot baths, Hot tubs moist heating packs, steamed towel,. Use moist heat t o better penetrate through your skin.
Everyone experiences heat differently, so its important you get a feel for the two. The only thing I advise against using Moist Heat is to not rely on it for the long term…
If you have chronic inflammation, moist heat will not be 1.targeted enough and 2.will not penetrate deeply through your tissue. For this case, you should turn to Dry Heat.
Situation 1: If you have constant inflammation whether it be acute or “pre-mature” chronic inflammation, I would HIGHLY suggest taking a look at a heating pad.
Situation 2: If you have repetitive constant chronic inflammation, and its been lasting from 6 months to a year, an Infared Heating Pad would be a great source. The reason I say this is that you need more Oxygen, its’ as simple as that.
More Oxygen means a wider space of blood vessels, and the more soothing you’ll get. As opposed to a heating pad, you’ll get more of a short term release.
I use a lot of moist heat throughout the day, and for when you need heat quick and ready, you just would use a dry heat source.
How To Heat Through-out Your Day
Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could just figure out when its time to heat?
You see, our days are really busy with taking care of our responsibilities, having to exercise, eat better, and so forth. Where is there time to do the other 50%?
I know the feeling, it can be exhausting to fit everything all at once or in a given day or week. But what If I showed you how you can use your heating pad in congruent with the rest of your healing process? Would that help your schedule?
Remember that a heating pad is good for muscles, and promoting better blood flow so you can get more oxygen.
So immediately, I think about my activities…
If I’m going to my workout, and I know I can have my heat source right next to me, I’m taking it or having it in a place of easy access.
Action plan #1
After your workout, you might want to naturally go for a pill, or a pain relief cream. But if you don’t have either one, a Heating pad will go a greater ways.
Action plan #2
In the morning. Morning Back Pain is the worst, and no matter what you do the night before, somehow your back gets stiff in the morning. Here’s what you can do:
STEP 1: Make sure you can easily access your heating pad.
STEP 2: Apply it to your back while you lye down. Do so for about 10-15 minutes.
Do this immediately as you wake up, because what I suggest you do afterwards is stretch and if you want to add your favorite rub you can do so if you want to.
The heat will allow your back to loosen up and be more flexible.
Make sure to check out my article on how to treat your lower back pain in the morning here.
Action Plan #3
In the afternoon. If you have the time to use a heating pad when you’re likely the most productive with work and other things at this time, then go ahead and pack it up with you. And don’t remember to take a break.
On your ride to work or home, you can just place it right behind you. I like doing this, but I hardly ever do it. The reason so is because I’m driving, and I don’t want to get distracted by something therapeutic. So I caution against this.
A great time would be if your just waiting in your car, and traveling where you have to make pit stops.
I personally prefer to use a heating pad either in the morning or at night, which I will get to in a bit.
Action plan #4
Evening/night. There’s no better time than behind closed doors to use heat. If its in the evening or just before you head to sleep, make sure you find either a flat surface on the ground or you can lay your pad on your:
Before Bed, I have a ritual…
I’ll stretch, likely shower, apply a pill or rub and that’s it. I bring the heating pad into the mix when I want to substitute it for my pill or rub.
How To Make Your Own Heating Pad At Home:
Other than purchasing my very own electric heating pad, I found preparing my own heat source is phenomenal.
Here’s how I make the most out of the resources I already have to make a heating pad at home:
To make the most simplest heating pad, let’s start with the 3 items you’ll need…
- Two hand towels
- A Ziploc bag
- A microwave
Have you checked those off? Great! Now let’s move to what I would do step-by-step.
- With both towels in hand, wet both towels with water. You’ll want to squeeze the excess water until its damp.
- 2. Now place one of the towels in the Ziploc bag, making sure you leave the bag open. Place it in the microwave, and set it on high heat for 2 minutes.
- 3. Remove the bag from the microwave. Now with the other towel in hand, wrap it around the bag.
- 4. You’re ready to apply. It’ll take about 20 minutes until the heat goes away.
If option ones doesn’t suit you, or if you would like to see another method, take a close look next.
Here’s my method #2:
The Items you will need are:
- A sock
1. You’ll need a sock in your hand to start. With the rice right next to you, fill your sock up with rice. Leave enough room at the top so you can close it.
2. Now place it in the microwave on high heat for 2 minutes.
3. Remove the bag from the microwave, and apply it to your sore area.