Relieve back pain with hot or cold
Acute pain may appear in the back for a few days or weeks. In this case, it is most often a benign tension of the back muscles. A hot bath, massages, certain herbal remedies, or physical activity can help ease the discomfort.
However, back pain can also be chronic and persist for months or even years. Faced with these persistent pains, it is recommended to consult a doctor.
The most common back problems and the specialists who can help you
Exercise for back pain
Lying down increases pain and slows healing. Also, be sure to get enough exercise, even if you have back pain. This will not only soothe the pain, but also prevent future problems. Go for a walk, try yoga and Pilates, or do specific exercises to combat back pain.
- Exercises to relieve back pain
- Tips for a successful introduction to yoga
- Pilates exercises for beginners
Do you need advice on how to relieve back pain?
Our health advisers explain how to soothe back pain. They will also give you tips for saving your back on a daily basis.
The following medicinal plants soothe inflammation and relieve tension in the back:
Capsaicin is the molecule responsible for the spicy sensation of the plant. This active ingredient promotes blood circulation and stimulates the secretion of endorphins, a hormone capable of relieving pain.
Application: There are special creams or patches for the back based on chilli extracts. Alternatively, you can also apply chilli essential oil. But watch out for burns! It is best to use disposable gloves to apply the oil.
The active ingredients of this ancestral miracle remedy act on muscle tension in the back and soothe inflammation.
Application: in medicine, the fresh or dried flowers of the plant are used. Arnica comes in the form of ointments, creams, gels, oils or tinctures. You can apply these preparations directly to the skin. Arnica granules act quickly when the pain is acute, in the event of stretching for example.
Stinging nettle notably soothes osteoarthritis and rheumatic pain. Its active ingredients promote blood circulation and thus relieve inflammation of the musculoskeletal system.
Application: against osteoarthritis, it is mainly its leaves that are used. Nettle preparations come in the form of juice, tea, dragees or capsules.
Hay flowers are a mixture of dried flowers, seeds, leaves and blades of grass. The active ingredients they contain can, for example, relieve sciatica.
Application: commercially, dried hay flowers are available in bulk for the bath and poultices, or in sachets. They are steamed and then applied to the painful area.
This plant antidepressant can also soothe back pain of psychic origin. When stressed, the body secretes less endorphin, the happiness hormone. St. John’s Wort rebalances this process.
Application: this medicinal plant exists in the form of red massage oil. This warms the muscles, relaxes them and calms the nerves. After a massage, avoid exposure to the sun (risk of skin reaction).
Already in antiquity, willow bark was used against chronic back pain. The substances contained in it have anti-inflammatory and antipyretic properties.
Application: willow bark is in the form of a tincture to be applied to the skin or dried to immerse in a hot bath. You can also drink several willow bark teas a day. In pharmacies, you will find the extract ready to mix with hot water.
Hot or cold ?
In case of muscle tension, the heat will relieve you. It promotes blood circulation in the muscles. This will help release tension. If it is a stuck nerve, which happens in the case of lumbago or herniated disc, it is the cold that will be better able to calm the acute pain. If you have a sports injury, such as a bruise, strain or sprain, cold should be applied first, then hot after 48 hours.
make quick back and forth movements with your fingertips or the flat of your hand to shake the muscles and thus relax them. This method should preferably be reserved for the end of the massage.
A self-massage relieves tension as well as local muscle contractures, also called trigger points. It can also have a preventive effect. The following supports are particularly suitable for self-massage:
- The massage ball
- Use it for circular pressure massages, lying down or standing against a wall.
- The massage roller
- Place the desired part of the muscle on the rigid foam roller, then roll the muscle over it.
- Acupuncture mat
- Place the mat on a soft support (mattress) then lie down on it with clothes (softer variant to start with).
Pain can restrict your mobility, but that’s exactly when you should get enough physical activity. Getting a massage or using herbal remedies can help release your pain.
Controlling the symptoms is not enough, however, it is also necessary to identify what is causing the pain. This can, among other things, be due to stress, lack of physical activity or poor posture. If you know the cause, you will be able to avoid problems in the future.