Heat therapy targets post-exercise low back pain

It is possible to avoid some of the muscle pain and muscle strain that typically follows strenuous exercise involving the lower back muscles.

Most individuals suffering from low back pain know the importance of staying active, whether that means engaging in low-impact aerobic exercise like walking, or pursuing a more aggressive program of aerobic, strength and conditioning activities.

The back and spine structures all benefit from activity that increases blood flow and maintains flexibility. However, one major obstacle to ongoing exercise is the muscle pain that many people experience in the day or two after a rigorous workout. In fact, post-exercise pain and stiffness derails many fitness programs.

People with low back pain face a conundrum: they need to engage in lower back exercise but to do so risks increasing their muscle pain, or having a sore back, at least in the short term. Luckily, there is good evidence to suggest an application of low level heat in the form a heat wrap will reduce the degree of post-exercise pain.

Heat wrap therapy potentially gives low back pain sufferers more hope of keeping their exercise program on track.

Many people who undertake a low back muscle exercise program are advised to stretch or loosen their muscles before vigorous exercise to prevent injury.

While those approaches may work to some extent, several studies with other muscle groups have reported that warming-up or stretching of muscle tissue prior to exercise is ineffective in preventing delayed-onset muscle soreness symptoms and related functional loss.

For some people, the low back muscle soreness that settles in after exercise is intense enough to cause them to skip an exercise session. Worse, it could lead some people to avoid exercise altogether. None of these is conducive to maintaining or improving low back health.

Finding a way to control – or better yet prevent – muscle soreness and related pain can significantly enhance both back and overall health. Low level heat wraps are readily available over the counter in drug stores or at many health care offices.

People seeking to minimize exercise-related low back muscle soreness can ask their chiropractor if this advice applies to them.

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