Heat or Cold For Back Pain?

If your back is hurting, you may find yourself getting conflicting advice when it comes to treatment.  Some people will say you should use heat, while others will insist that ice is the better option.

The reality is that both are effective treatments, but there are times when one offers superior benefits than the other. So how do you know?  In this piece, we’ll offer some good general guidelines you can use next time back pain slows you down.

Immediately After You Hurt Your Back

In the first 72 hours after you suffer a back injury, ice is your best friend because cold therapy helps to reduce swelling. This will reduce the amount of pain you’re in and for how long.

Having said that, there are a few tips to keep in mind where ice is concerned:

  • Don’t overdo it. If you’re going to use ice, be sure to apply it for no more than 15-20 minutes at a stretch, then give your body an hour or so without it.  Using ice for longer periods can actually work against you.
  • Be sure you’re not applying the ice directly to your skin. Use a towel, shirt, or some barrier between your skin and the ice so you don’t suffer from “ice burn,” which can be as painful as your back pain!

In The Long Term

Once you pass the 72-hour mark, your best bet will be to alternate between heat and ice treatments.  Here, the same basic principle applies.  Whichever you’re using (ice or heat) be sure not to apply it for more than 15-20 minutes at a time, and give your body about an hour break between treatments. Your treatment plan would look something like this:

  • Ice (15-20 mins)
  • Break for one hour
  • Heat (15-20 mins)
  • Another Break
  • Then back to ice

Do that, and you’ll minimize your pain, and the amount of time you suffer from it.

What To Do About A Crick In Your Neck

It has probably happened to you more often than you care to admit.  You wake up in the morning to a sharp, shooting pain in your neck and a curious stiffness that makes it feel as though you can’t move your neck in its usual range of motion without it “catching” and hurting like fire.

Congratulations.  You have the dubious honor of having a crick in your neck.

There are lots of different reasons these develop.  Too much activity, too little activity, you slept wrong on it, or you strained it the day before without even being aware of it.  Whatever the cause, you want it gone ASAP!

The good news is there are several things you can do to help make that happen:

  • Massage, Massage, Massage – Don’t try to force it, but a steady, gentle massage can go a long way toward loosening your neck up and restoring your full range of motion. If it starts hurting more intensely as you rub, stop immediately and call your chiropractor.
  • Apply Heat – Either break out the trusty heating pad or apply some Icy Hot or similar topical medication to the impacted area. That combined with some gentle stretching will often remedy the problem in short order.
  • Advil, Tylenol, etc. – Over the counter medications are surprisingly effective at knocking out minor aches and pains.  Some people have sensitive stomachs and have to steer clear of one brand or another, so just take whichever over the counter pain reliever works best for you, and give it some time.

The best solution is one that sees you incorporate all three of these approaches.  Again, if the pain gets steadily worse, or doesn’t seem to be responding to these home remedies, don’t waste any time before contacting your doctor or chiropractor.  There could be something more serious going on.

Watch Your Weight If You Suffer From Knee Pain

Your knees are basically your body’s shock absorbers, and they take a lot of punishment.  It’s probably no surprise then, that knee pain is one of the most common ailments chiropractors treat.

Part of the problem is that your knees were only designed to bend one way. However, a lot of what we do when we’re moving (whether for work or for play) requires that your knees at least flex slightly in the opposite direction while still supporting the weight of your body.  Long term, that’s a recipe for disaster and it makes it a virtual certainty that sooner or later, you too will suffer from knee pain and injury.

Unfortunately, it’s not just athleticism that can cause knee pain. In fact, these days there’s a larger culprit at work.  The sad truth is that we have an obesity epidemic in our country, and in addition to the impacts those added pounds have on your heart and liver, they also put added strain on your knees.

With those things in mind, here are a few simple tips to help you minimize your chances of suffering from knee strains and sprains:

  • Watch what you eat! Make losing weight a priority this year.  Every pound you shed is that much less pressure on your knees!
  • Be more mindful of how you move your body when you’re working or working out
  • Hand in hand with the above, pay close attention to the cues and signals your body is giving you. If you start feeling pain, especially in your knees, don’t try to just “walk it off” or work through it.  That’s likely to make matters worse.  Stop immediately, and if the pain persists, see your doctor or chiropractor
  • Wear shoes with good supports. It’s amazing how much difference a good pair of shoes can make. If you don’t own a pair with proper support, go get a pair today.  You’ll be amazed at the difference.

Nobody wants to be in pain and suffering, and knee injuries can keep you from living the life you want.  Don’t let that happen.  Start implementing the tips above today!



How Can I Tell If I Have Carpal Tunnel?

Carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis are both incredibly painful conditions, but they require very different forms of treatment. It’s important to know which is which if your hands suddenly start hurting, but how can you tell?


There are a number of symptoms that are unique to carpal tunnel.

People who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome will experience pain, numbness, and tingling that:

  • Often extends away from your hands and at least part way up your forearm
  • Is triggered by repetitive motions
  • Can often be triggered by something as simple as driving or holding your cellphone
  • Early on, symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can be temporarily eased by vigorously shaking your hands
  • Tends to wake you up in the middle of the night and is often worse in the mornings
  • Affects your thumb and your first two or three fingers, but doesn’t seem to impact your pinky

Obviously if you have mysterious pain in your hands, the first and best thing you can do is see your doctor or chiropractor for an examination and an assessment.  Too often, people proceed from the assumption that they have a certain condition and begin a course of at-home treatment.  Later, they discover that they were treating the wrong thing and may have made their condition worse by not getting it checked out by a professional.

In either case, whether your problem is arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome, there are viable treatments available. Again, it’s impossible to know with a high degree of certainty how to proceed until and unless you’ve been examined by a professional.

Don’t leave either of these conditions to chance, and don’t let them linger.  Any time you feel pain, your body is trying to tell you something.  Ignore it at your peril!