Applying a heating pad is one easy physiotherapy technique to ease muscle tension. Let's learn from physiotherapist of tips when using it for back pain.
What is a heating pad used for?
A warm pack helps to improve our body blood circulation. They help to reduce muscle tension by dilating the blood vessels surrounding the muscle tissue, which means a higher metabolic rate.
A common question: "when they should be using a heating or cold pad?"
My suggestion is depending on the stage of the problem.
If you have an acute injury ( a recent accident or sudden pain), go for the cold pack. Cold packs help to control swelling and reduce inflammation.
In other circumstances, if you wish to relieve muscle tension, go for the hot pack. It helps to improve circulation of the localized area and soften the tissue.
If you have an opened wound, apply wound dressing for protection and NEVER use an ice pack directly on the bleeding site.
Some people ask “How to use a heating pad if they have back pain? “
I will use a microwavable type of heating pad as an example.
Let us go through together to see use this form of physiotherapy at home.
First, prepare the place where you are going to lie down. To ease your breathing when you lie down you can use a long towel to make a donut pillow to breathe.
Second, prepare a timer, set it to 20min.
if it’s an electrical type of heating blanket, do not set it forever as you may burn yourself if you fall asleep. I will share more safety tips on using a heat pack in the next episode.
Now, you can try to heat your pack, following the brand’s instructions. Because it might be steamy hot when you take it out. If you find the pack is not as warm as your desire. Only try to add extra 10 seconds each time.
Next, wrap it in a cotton towel. Lie down and place it over your back.
It usually takes around 1 minute for the heat to come out. if the shape is too small to mold on your natural back curve. Try to cover an extra towel on top, placing horizontally, so that you can tuck both sides under your waist.
Start your timer and relax.
Along the way, take note if you have any itchy feelings as they can be symptoms before skin burns.
It should feel comfortable and warm, not steaming hot.