Did you ever think about why your mom told you to put ice on that nasty bump you got as a kid? How about why a hot whirlpool or heat application relieves pain? Despite the simplicity of heat and cold therapies, the two (in the correct combination) can help relieve low back pain, muscle strains, and even arthritis. But first you must learn how and when to use them properly.

Heat therapy is a common treatment for lower back pain relief and recovery. Heat therapy helps the back heal in well-known ways, such as increased blood flow, and in lesser-known ways, such as reduced risk of drug dependence.

Heat therapy products and services are best used within specific temperature ranges and durations. Learn how to apply 14 common forms of heat therapy safely and effectively.

Simple application of a cold pack or ice placed in a plastic bag and wrapped in a towel or other protective barrier (to protect the skin from ice burn) is one of the most effective pain relief treatments available.

Heat therapy may pose health risks when performed incorrectly, and when used by people with health conditions such as dermatitis or diabetes. It is important to know the risks and contraindications before applying heat therapy.

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