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Heat & Back Pain Study

Category: Back Pain & Heat Therapy
Posted: 2008-05-06 07:21

With such a large number of our population suffering from lower back pain, this study has promising conclusions. I am very excited to share it with you!


Heat* Plus Exercise: Best Treatment for Acute LBP?

While chiropractic adjustments are considered one of the most effective forms of care for the treatment of low back pain (LBP), health care practitioners often employ other methods for back pain relief. Among the more common techniques are the application of heat and specific exercises that help strengthen the back and improve range of motion.

However, until now little is known about whether a combination of these treatments may be more effective than a single intervention.

In this randomized, controlled trial, 100 individuals with LBP lasting less than three months were allocated to one of four groups: a heat wrap therapy group (in which patients wore a disposable low-level heat wrap eight hours per day for five consecutive days); an exercise group (consisting of flexion and extension exercises performed one time every hour while the patient was awake for five consecutive days); a heat-plus-exercise group; and a control group that received an educational booklet on acute low back problems. At baseline, the participants were examined by a practitioner for assessments on functional ability, disability levels, pain intensity and pain relief. The same assessments were performed 2 days, 4 days and 7 days after randomization.

By day 7, patients in the heat-plus-exercise group experience significant improvements in function, disability and pain relief compared to the other groups. Functional improvement for heat-plus-exercise patients was 84%, 95% and 175% greater than patients in the heat wrap, exercise and control groups, respectively. Pain relief among the heat-plus-exercise patients was 70% greater than in the exercise patients, and 143% greater than the control patients.

The researchers stated that the combination of heat and exercise "provided superior functional improvement, disability reduction, and pain relief" compared to single interventions. They added that health care providers "should consider using continuous low-level heat wrap therapy in conjunction with exercise therapy during the early stages of care for acute low back pain in order to achieve optimal functional improvements during recovery."


Mayer JM, Ralph L, Look M, et al. Treating acute low back pain with continuous low-level heat wrap therapy and/or exercise: a randomized controlled trial. The Spine Journal 2005;5:395-403.



*The Insta'Heat heat wrap is ideal for this treatment. For details, contact: instaheat@innovimport.com or call 1-877-388-0792
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Heat or Ice for Back Pain?

Category: Back Pain & Heat Therapy
Posted: 2007-09-04 22:17

I enjoy finding research that will help you enjoy a better quality of life, beginning from the OutsideIN! The following is an excerpt from Healthwise Medical Reference.

Heat to Relieve Low Back Pain

You can apply heat to your sore back 72 hours after an injury occurs. Applying heat too soon after injury can make the swelling and inflammation worse.

* Apply heat for 20-minute periods. Moist heat (hot packs, baths, showers) works better than dry heat.

* Try an all-day heat wrap (such as Insta'Heat ), available in pharmacies. Research by the manufacturers of this new product suggests that during the first 2 days of heat treatment, 8 hours of heat wrap for acute low back pain is more effective than acetaminophen or ibuprofen at reducing pain and stiffness and increasing flexibility.

* If you are using an electric heating pad, avoid falling asleep while the pad is on. If you think you might fall asleep, set an alarm clock to go off in 20 minutes. Use heating pads set on low or medium, never on high.

After 72 hours of ice treatment, you may find that heat best relieves your pain. Or you may prefer to use ice only, or switch between heat and ice packs.


Author Shannon Erstad, MBA/MPH
Author Lila Havens
Editor Kathleen M. Ariss, MS
Editor Katy E. Magee, MA
Associate Editor Michele Cronen
Associate Editor Tracy Landauer
Primary Medical Reviewer William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kathie Hummel-Berry, PT, PhD - Physical Therapy
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
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