Ice or Heat for Back Pain

As a chiropractor, I have seen many back injuries. Injuries can be acute or chronic. Many people ask me the same question, Which is better for back pain, Ice or Heat?  I want to put an end to this debate so you’ll know next time what to do for the painful area.

Ice or Heat for Back Pain – Which is better?

Both heat and ice have their advantages and are used for different purposes. Let’s start with the advantage of using a heat pack.

HEAT

Heat packs are great for promoting blood flow. This is because heat causes blood vessels to dilate. As a result, it allows more volume of blood to be pumped through. This has many advantages for the human body.

Firstly, due to the increase in blood flow, more oxygen, nutrients and minerals will be able to flow to the area of damage allowing more recovery and healing to occur.

Secondly, the increase in blood flow can help with muscle pain. This is because all the harmful toxins and lactic acids (which is often the cause of muscle pain) will be flushed away. Leading to healthier cells around the area of damage.

Finally, using a heat pack to promote vessel dilation can lead to the relaxation of muscles. This is because heat increases muscle elasticity. The muscles in our body are just like rubber where heat allows for the rubber to be more elastic and further stretched. This leads to tight muscles being able to stretch and relax more.

ICE

Ice or cold therapy does the opposite promoting blood flow, it decreases blood flow. This is because cold temperature and ice packs lead to vasoconstriction (constriction of the blood vessel). There are also benefits to constricting blood flow.

Firstly, it decreases inflammation. After a traumatic incident, the body naturally tries to heal instantly by increasing blood flow suddenly, to allow white blood cells. By constricting the blood flow, there will be a decrease in inflammatory reaction causing less swelling. It is this swelling that compresses nerves which will cause pain in the damaged area.

Secondly, ice can also soothe muscle pain temporarily after an intense workout. This is because it reduces inflammation caused by the workout. This leads to a decrease in lactic acid build-up thus minimising pain in the overworked muscles.

For a brief summary, there are many benefits to both heat and ice therapy. The main point of heat therapy is to promote blood flow allowing for quicker recovery. Whilst, ice/cold therapy helps minimise inflammation in the body by constricting blood flow. As a suggestion, if your pain is chronic I would suggest heat therapy would be the way to go. However, if you have just finished a workout or had a recent injury, ice would be the best way to go. This way you can stop the inflammatory response as quick as possible.

Hopefully, this clarifies the debate of which is better; heat or ice. Next time, you will be better informed about what to do!

When to visit a Chiropractor?

If you are applying therapy to an injury, your a most likely going to benefit from visiting your Chiropractor.

For treatment, advice and relief of acute or chronic pain, you can visit our chiropractic and wellness clinic in Auckland, North Shore. 

Contact Revolution Chiropractic – Leading  Chiropractor Auckland for acute and Chronic pain.

To Schedule your FREE CONSULTATION at Revolution Chiropractic E-mail or Call us on 09 418 3718.  

You can also book online here

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ice vs heat back pain - chiropractor

 

 

The Importance Of Sleep

It seems like everyone is so focused on their intense exercise regimens and nutritional plans to realize that they’ve forgotten about getting quality sleep!

Sleep is absolutely crucial to health and survival and the hard truth is that you’re not likely getting enough of it. Although most of us may feel like this is due to high work demands and our brains not being able to shut off, the real reason for lack of sleep is actually due to our own decision to delay our sleep over some other thing that we’re prioritizing. We go out with friends, we watch TV, we scroll through social media. This behavior is unique to modern society. The average duration of sleep 100 years ago was 9 hours.

Studies have shown that later bedtimes and shorter sleeping hours result in hormone release that triggers hunger and greater levels of body fat accumulation. This was even demonstrated in children as a study followed 9000 of them from birth and showed that those that slept the least at a younger age were more likely to be obese at a later age than the children who slept more. It’s not clear whether lack of sleep leads to obesity or vice versa, but one thing is for sure, staying up later means more opportunity for late night snacks and when you mix that with increased hunger hormones your caloric intake skyrockets.

It doesn’t just stop there. With that extra weight gain, you’re more susceptible to insulin resistance, glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes. One study even showed that young healthy men who slept 4 hours each night for 6 nights straight had the insulin sensitivity of a 70 year old pre-diabetic! On top of that, getting less than 7.5 hours of sleep each night means that your risk of heart attack, stroke and sudden cardiac death is higher than those who get adequate amounts of sleep. Drowsiness can also interfere with your daily functions including your mood, cognition, and memory.

If that doesn’t make you want to get your sleep together, then I don’t know what will! But there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that sleep debt is cumulative. Meaning, the more nights you have with less sleep, the greater your risk of negative effects. The good news is that you can catch up with just a few consistent nights of adequate sleep.

Optimal sleeping pattern factors:

  • Consistency: keep a similar bedtime and wake up time every day
  • Light: keep the bedroom extremely dark when it’s bedtime
  • Noise: keep it very quiet or use something for white noise, like a fan
  • Routine: develop a routine before bed that helps you wind down. This can include meditation, stretching, camomile tea or whatever helps you! Check out our bedtime stretches on YouTube by clicking here.
  • Temperature:Keep the room slightly cool, between 18-22 degrees.

For more tips on sleeping better or getting a more restfully, check out our blog on the first pillar of health: “Napping Well” by clicking here.

You can also check out our “7 Tips To Improve Your Sleep” YouTube video by clicking here.  

Your Trusted Auckland Chiropractor

Contact Revolution Chiropractic – Leading  Chiropractor Auckland

To Schedule your FREE CONSULTATION at Revolution Chiropractic E-mail or Call us on 09 418 3718.  

You can also book online here !


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Does sleep really keep you healthy? > Air Education and Training Command > News