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Relieving Back Pain: Heat Is Neat

The application of heat and cold are used by health care providers and patients alike as a means of treating various conditions, including inflammation and back pain. Hot and cold treatments can range from the simple (such as ice packs and hot towels) to the relatively complex (such as infrared heat lamps and ice massage).

In a recent study, researchers conducted a review of nine previously published studies that examined the effectiveness of heat or cold treatments for low back pain. A total of 1,117 patients participated in the trials, with various forms of heat and cold therapies used for different lengths of time.

Analysis of the trials showed that application of heat was effective in treating back pain. In two trials of people with acute and subacute low back pain, heat wrap therapy significantly reduced pain after five days compared to a placebo. In another trial, people with acute low back pain treated with a heated blanket reported a significant reduction in pain immediately after the blanket was applied.

Doctors of chiropractic are experts in the relief of low back pain. They rely on a variety of therapeutic approaches – the most successful and well-established of which is the chiropractic adjustment. If you suffer from back pain, contact your DC and make an appointment today. For more information on back pain and how chiropractic can help, visit


French SD, Cameron M, Walker BF, et al. Superficial heat or cold for low back pain. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2006, Issue 2. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004750.pub2.