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Should I Use Ice or Heat to Relieve My Back Pain?
When I have lower back pain, should I use heat or ice? The good news is there is no wrong answer: both ice and heat can help with your pain.
When back pain is acute, start with ice. The cold helps reduce swelling and decreases inflammation. Once the inflammation has subsided, heat therapy can provide many benefits. Heat improves the flexibility of soft tissues and helps with muscle movement.
Alternating between moist heat and ice at a time can even help long term back pain. Use moist heat or ice for no more than 20-minutes per use. I often recommend 20-minutes of ice, followed by 20 minutes of moist heat therapy, and finish with ice for the best pain relief.
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