For chronic back pain, maybe it’s time to turn up the heat

Chronic back pain is a common complaint for so many people – and it’s anything but rare for older individuals. Decades of long days and hard work can take their toll. In addition to talking to a physician, there thankfully are plenty of methods to alleviate the pain involved. One of the easiest and most affordable is heat therapy. Something like a heating pad can go a long way when it comes to providing relief.

There are lots of different ways of applying heat to the lower back. According to the back experts at, many of those remedies can happen at home while relaxing. They even reminded readers that there are portable heat wraps that can do the job outside of the house, while at work or even in the car.
Here are some common options, courtesy of

  • Hot water bottle – tends to stay warm for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Electric heating pad – maintains a constant level of heat as long as it is plugged in.
  • Heated gel packs – may be microwaved, or sometimes heated in water, and tend to say warm for about 30 minutes. Certain types of gel packs provide moist heat, which some people prefer.
  • Heat wraps – wraps around the lower back and waist and may be worn against the skin under clothing, providing convenience and several hours of low level of heat application.
  • Hot bath, hot tub, sauna, steam bath – tend to stimulate general feelings of comfort and relaxation that may help reduce muscle spasm and pain. A whirlpool jet directed at the lower back may provide the added benefit of a light massage.

Just like the back experts at, we here at Freedom Home Care are big proponents of heat therapy. It’s important to remember, however, to place insulation between the heat source and the skin. It’s also recommended that an individual experiencing a swollen or bruised lower back consult with a doctor before applying heat. The same is true for individuals with heart disease, hypertension, dermatitis, deep vein thrombosis, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, open wounds and severe cognitive impairment.