Heat Therapy

Chiropractor Rockville, MD

While ice therapy is most commonly used to reduce swelling and inflammation, heat therapy is most commonly used to relax muscles and increase circulation. Both kinds of therapy help reduce pain.  Back injuries can create tension and stiffness in the muscles and soft tissues in that area of the body. In many cases, circulation may be impeded, especially if the muscle tension progresses to muscle spasm.

Heat therapy is often utilized with patients who have chronic or long-lasting pain. Heat therapy can involve many kinds of methods, from simple heating pads, wraps, and warm gel packs, to sophisticated techniques, such as therapeutic ultrasound.

Heat therapy:

  • Dilates the blood vessels of the affected muscles, allowing them to relax and begin healing.
  • Helps lower discomfort by reducing the amount of pain signals sent to the brain.
  • Increases the ability of your muscles to easily flex and stretch, thereby decreasing stiffness.

Heat therapy, as well as ice therapy, is a part of many chiropractic treatment plans, but is usually performed at home rather than in the office.  It is important to ask your chiropractor what type of therapy is best for you and their suggestions regarding how long to apply the therapy.

When Not to Use Heat

Heat therapy is not used on swollen or bruised tissues, or in patients who have dermatitis, deep vein thrombosis, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, open wounds, and cardiovascular conditions such as hypertension.  Consult your doctor for before beginning  heat therapy, especially if you have concerns or feel you might have one of the above-mentioned conditions.