Back Pain Treatments: Cold Therapy

Cold therapy is a conservative treatment for back pain and other joint injuries, which is designed to reduce pain and discomfort associated with inflammation. Inflammation is a healthy response of the body to blocks of cuts and open wounds, prevent infections to injured areas, and initiate the healing process. Inflammation is beneficial to the body in most cases. In most cases, the inflammatory process is necessary to increase the flow of blood to injured tissues, so that new healthy cells may be created at the site of injury, and to reabsorb the components of the damaged cells. Patients may find the effects associated with inflammation intolerable when the pain associated with it are too great, or when the affected joints are inflamed by a chronic injury. As said before, inflammation is designed to stimulate the healing process. Inflammation though is not as effective at restoring health to injured cartilage in joints and soft tissue, because these structures have a poor blood supply. In general, deterioration of joints are irreversible. Therefore, the inflammation associated with degenerated joints often produces few healing effects despite the symptoms associates with the inflammatory process, including redness, swelling, and pain.

Patients and doctors weight the strengths against weaknesses before applying cold therapy. Cold therapy may include cold packs, ice wrapped in towels, or anything else you have available. Patients who use ice therapy to treat injuries and increased joint pain should make sure not to leave the cold packs on too long, which may cause skin pain or even frostbite. Patients should make sure that they don't fall asleep while using a cold therapy. Cold packs and ice in general shouldn't be placed directly onto the skin, because it could cause skin pain or frostbite afterwards.

Benefits of Icing and cold therapy for joint pain, back pain, and muscle pain: For patients with pain and soreness due to a recent injury or flare-ups of chronic pain conditions, cold therapy may provide quick and immediate relief. Despite all the cutting edge machines, laser therapies, and medications on the market for joint related pain, icing is still considered a fast and effective treatment appropriate to acute pain.

Acute back pain is typically caused by muscle strain, which occurs from a pulling or overloading of the muscles. When the muscles are hurt, they go into a state of prolonged contraction to protect themselves and that part of the body from further injury. The erector spinae, which are a group of muscles with insertions throughout the neck, ribs, spine, and pelvis, are often the cause of acute back pain when their muscles spasm due to injury. When these muscles become stiff or spasm, the person may feel severe disability and pain. One or more of the muscles of the erector spinae may stiffen or spasm due to a sports injury, heavy lifting of large objects, an awkward movement or bending, and a fall.

Muscle pain may be so severe that you may feel like you have broken your back, and it is one of the most common reason for emergency room visits. Yet the spine and associated soft tissues are typically fine. Often, the only thing doctors can offer you is some temporary medications to treat the pain and the recommendation of rest and icing at home. The application of ice packs and cold therapy can slow the swelling and pain that occurs after an injury or fall.