Can applying heat or cold help lower back pain?

Michael Parsons, FNP
Family Medicine
With an acute injury, cold is good. You want to decrease inflammation. But by the time I see the patient, we’re a week out. So I recommend heat. For people with chronic pain, I recommend alternating between hot and cold. The benefit is almost a way to confuse the nerves a little bit, so we’re distracted from pain. 
Peggy Brill
Physical Therapy

When your back hurts, it can be hard to figure out whether to use cold or heat for relief. In this video, physical therapist Peggy Brill gives her recommendation.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Applying hot and cold compresses can help to reduce pain and inflammation associated with lower back pain and make it easier to move and change position. Watch the video for more on use of heat and cold to help lower back pain.

Continue Learning about Back Pain

Back Pain

Back Pain

Just about everyone has experienced some level of back pain. It is one of the most common ailments brought on by disease, injury, or misalignment of the spine. It can be a dull muscle ache in the lower back or a severe, sharp pain ...

in that affects your ability to bend over or stand up straight. Most often back pain results from strained muscles and ligaments that surround the spine, but it can also be caused by structural problems with the bones of the spine. There are treatment options for back pain, and understanding the causes and symptoms is key to preventing it in the first place.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.