Muscle spasms, joint pain, and stiffness in your back can limit mobility and interfere with physical activities. While medication can be effective at knocking out inflammation, heat therapy also works for back pain.
This type of therapy isn’t anything new. In fact, its history dates to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians who used the sun’s rays as therapy. The Chinese and Japanese would even use hot springs as therapy for pain.
Today, you don’t have to head outdoors for relief. Heating pads have made it easier and convenient to use heat therapy. Here’s a look at some benefits of heat therapy for back pain.
Benefits of heat therapy for back pain
Heat therapy is an effective remedy for back pain because it boosts circulation, which then allows nutrients and oxygen to travel to joints and muscles. This circulation helps repair damaged muscles, relieves inflammation, and improves back stiffness.
Any type of heat therapy can help relieve back pain. Yet, heating pads are ideal because they’re convenient and portable. They’re also electric, so you can use them anywhere in your home, such as lying in bed or sitting on the couch.
Hot or warm baths provide moist heat, which also promote circulation and reduce muscle pain and stiffness. A bath might work better if you have pain or stiffness in other parts of your body, too.
The problem with baths, though, is that it’s difficult to maintain the water temperature. That water will slowly cool down. On the other hand, heating pads have adjustable levels and provide a continuous flow of heat — for as long as the pad is turned on.
If you don’t have a heating pad, taking a warm shower or relaxing in a hot tub may also relieve back pain and stiffness. One benefit of a hot tub and shower over a bath is continuous heat similar to a heating pad.