Common Types of Chiropractic Techniques Used for Back and Neck Pain in a Personal Injury

Neck Pain Doctor in Gaithersburg, MD

Following an accident, you could be facing significant injuries as a result. Whether your accident was the result of a slip and fall, car accident or some other type of personal injury, it may be in your best interest to access treatment from a chiropractor. Injuries from an accident, in some cases, may be treated solely through chiropractic care, or in combination with other forms of treatment. Often a chiropractor will incorporate adjustments with other types of treatment that may include: acupuncture, massage, physical therapy, etc. When a chiropractor administers adjustments to patients, they may access a number of techniques for maximized results: 

Diversified Technique

The diversified technique is a technique widely used by chiropractors. This technique involves quick, high velocity thrusts to manipulate the spine and align the body. This technique usually results in the popping sounds that are commonly associated with care from a chiropractor.

The Activator Method

The activator is a tool used by some chiropractors to administer an adjustment to patients. An activator adjusting instrument is a small tool that can deliver an adjustment through the use of lighter force. In some cases, this method may be a desirable way for a patient who may be unsure of manual adjustments to receive the benefits of chiropractic care. 

Gonstead Technique

This form of spinal manipulation first involves a thorough assessment of the spine prior to administering an adjustment. Your chiropractor will review X Rays of the spine to pinpoint the specific area of the spine in need of adjustment. 

Applied Kinesiology

Applied kinesiology utilizes a variety of approaches to administer treatment to patients. Often, this method uses massage and adjustments to various points of the body to realign not only the spine but bones that may be out of alignment. 

For more information about techniques provided through chiropractic care and how you may benefit from chiropractic treatments following a personal injury, consult with a chiropractor today to learn if this may help you in the recovery process. 

Facing a Personal Injury Case

If you have been injured and are considering taking legal action against the person responsible, it’s important that you seek medical care from a provider immediately. This will ensure that you receive the treatment that you need, and link your injuries to the accident that you were in. Take these steps when pursuing a personal injury case:

  • Gather the appropriate evidence
  • Write down your account of what happened
  • Seek medical care from a professional
  • Contact a personal injury lawyer for the guidance and representation you need

Have you recently been injured? Are you considering whether a chiropractor will help treat your injuries? There are a number of techniques that a chiropractor may access in order to maximize treatments for patients. Contacting the services of a chiropractor or neck pain doctor in Gaithersburg, MD may not only strengthen your claim but also assist in injury recovery. If you have been injured at the hands of another, take the time to not only access a chiropractor, but a personal injury lawyer. 

Contact the Pain Arthritis Relief Center for their insight into chiropractic care for a neck or back injury.

Chiropractor FAQ: What kind of disorders do chiropractors treat?

Neck Pain Doctor in Rockville, MD

Are you experiencing some sort of acute or chronic pain and looking for a natural way to alleviate it? If so, chiropractic treatment may be the right choice. When you think about a chiropractor, you might first think about your neck and spine. After all, these images are often displayed on chiropractic advertisements. Although the neck and spine is a large part of the chiropractors’ focus, the actual treatment goes beyond pain in these areas.

A chiropractor can diagnose and treat a broad range of health conditions ranging from chronic neck pain to asthma, ear infections, and migraines. Similar to a medical doctor, a chiropractor will perform a neurological and physical exam in an effort to determine what the cause of your symptoms may be. Depending on the circumstances, a CT scan, MRI, or X-ray may be ordered. Once the chiropractor has an understanding of what may be the cause, a customized treatment plan can be developed for you and your needs. In general, you will require one to five sessions or more to experience the full results of chiropractic adjustments.

Disorders that Can Be Treated With Chiropractic Adjustments

Back Pain and Strain – Around three in four adult men and women will experience back pain or strains. These symptoms can occur when you have lifted something too heavy, play a strenuous sport, bend or twist the wrong way, or even while you sleep. The pain can include aches, burning, or tingling, and be sharp or dull.

Cervicogenic Headaches – These types of headaches are very disturbing and can be felt around the temples, neck, back of the head, or back of the eyes. Usually, the cause of them is a misalignment in the neck. However, it is common for these headaches to be misdiagnosed as a cluster headache; therefore could be mistreated.

Coccydynia – This is a type of pain that develops near the tailbone. Coccydynia is most common in bicyclists, truck drivers, or those who have fallen. The symptoms may get worse while you are seated and can be so debilitating that you are unable to perform your daily activities.

Degenerative Disc Disease – As people get older, their intervertebral discs may start to break down. This is a naturally occurring process and associated with misuse, strain, old injuries, or overuse. The discs can start to lose their elasticity, flexibility, and shock absorption. As a result, they may start to grind on one another and can cause painful symptoms. Although these discs cannot be regenerated, a chiropractor can help to alleviate the pain through special adjustments.

Whiplash – Whiplash is very common after a car accident, especially when the vehicle has been rear-ended. Whiplash can lead to severe neck strain or sprain which then results in extreme pain and need for a neck pain doctor in Rockville, MD. You may also experience pain in the jaw, headaches, loss of movement, and other symptoms.

Long ago, insurance companies did not usually cover chiropractic treatment. Thanks to ongoing research which can show, through ample amounts of evidence, the benefits of chiropractic adjustments, many insurance companies will cover the treatment.

Contact the Pain Arthritis Relief Center for their insight into chiropractic care and treatable disorders.

Client Review

“Doctor Tony did an amazing job and within my first week, I felt immensely better than the first day. The treatment took about 5-6 weeks and I am more than grateful to Doctor Tony and the Pain Arthritis Relief center staff.”
Adrian K.
Client Review

How to avoid back pain when shoveling snow

Chiropractic Doctor

White, fluff, cold snow, it can be so beautiful to look at, yet it can also be very dangerous. Snow and ice can be difficult to tackle on during the winter months. Walkways and driveways covered in ice are dangerous and can lead to various injuries if you are not careful. Clearing these icy areas can also pose potential threats. Little things such as forgetting to put on gloves, wearing improper footwear, and even forgetting to maintain proper posture when shoveling snow can all lead to injuries. Shoveling snow and ice can cause back pain and back injuries if the proper precautions are not taken. So apart from dressing appropriately, what is the best way to avoid back pain when shoveling snow? Proper tools, and posture go along way when it comes to preventing back pain from shoveling snow.

How to avoid back pain when shoveling snow

It is also good practice to make sure that you are wearing appropriate clothing, footwear, and have the proper equipment when shoveling snow. A sturdy, lightweight shovel is a key tool to have to make snow-shoveling safer and easier. Another important preventive measure of snow-shoveling is proper posture. Here are some posture tips to practice when shoveling snow:

  • Make sure you are stable- It is important to have a stable stance when shoveling snow. Stand with your feet hip-width apart for better balance. Footwear should be non-slip, which will protect you from sliding on slippery grounds.
  • Keep the shovel close to your body- Holding the shovel close to your body will prevent you from straining or pulling a muscle. The further the shovel is away from your body, the harder your muscles have to work to maintain balance.
  • Shovel smaller amounts- If snow level is high, shovel in smaller amounts. Shoveling 1-2 inches of snow at a time is recommended.
  • Secure your grip- When gripping the shovel, hands should be spaced apart on the handle to increase leverage when lifting the snow.
  • Use your legs- When lifting the snow, always bend with your knees, not your back. Using your legs will protect your back from injuries.
  • Use your abs- Utilize your core muscles when shoveling. Engaging your core also helps to protect your back when you lift.
  • Avoid twisting- Do not twist your body when you lift. If you have to change directions, move your feet instead of turning your body.
  • Avoid throwing the snow- When removing the snow, do not throw the snow to its new location. Walk and place the snow on the side of the path. Always turn your feet towards the direction you will be dumping the snow.

Snow shoveling can be a very strenuous activity. Using proper clothing, tools, and technique, will make shoveling safer for you and prevent any back injuries.

If you have a history of back pain or have recently incurred a back injury, consider a consult with a chiropractic doctor trusts who can help create a healing treatment plan for you. Chiropractors are trained in providing treatment plans to help manage pain and heal injuries in a holistic manner.

Treat Yourself to Good Health This New Year


Holiday travel can be brutal on your body. As a chiropractor, we’ve seen first-hand how long hours spent jammed into a small seat on an airplane has the potential to cause a flare up of pain in your low back or neck. Even if you are traveling by car, be careful when lifting suitcases that are stuffed with an entire closet worth of clothes and gifts. Proper spinal alignment can help your body function at its highest level and keep the back pain at bay!

Your spine performs at its best when it has a balance of strength and flexibility. Chiropractic adjustments help your spine move comfortably through its entire range of motion. What’s more, when your spine is in alignment and balanced, your muscles perform better. Lifting too much weight at awkward angles can put a tremendous amount of stress on your spine and cause injuries, and after a few hours of sitting still in a plane or a car, your body isn’t prepared to immediately start lifting 50 lb. suitcases. Be prepared and take a few moments during your travel to stretch, move your body, and warm up before doing any heavy lifting.

  • Stop in and get adjusted before you leave on vacation to improve how you feel and function.
  • If your flight is more than an hour, be sure to get up and stretch your legs.
  • Be cautious and lift with your legs when moving suitcases and gifts.

A lot of patients have told us that getting adjusted before leaving for their vacation helped them avoid having a relapse of pain. Give your back a gift and consider coming in to get an adjustment now that the dust has settled from all the holidays!

Spinal mobility plays a crucial role in your overall health and well-being, but proper nutrition is also important. Treat yourself to good health this new year by making good choices with your nutrition. The weeks around Christmas and new year can be a difficult time to eat healthy. The abundant leftovers, travel, and stress make it easy to compromise and stop by the drive-thru on the way home. But, did you know recent research indicates that the foods you eat can actually impact your likelihood of getting sick?

Why it Matters:

Inflammation can be triggered by the foods you eat, and chronic inflammation has been linked to everything from cancer to heart disease and even arthritis. However, by choosing the right foods, you can not only reduce your risk of illness but also reduce the prevalence of inflammation in your body.  

  • The foods you eat can either increase or decrease the inflammatory disease process.
  • Fried foods, refined carbohydrates, and sweet drinks cause inflammation and have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
  • Fruits and vegetables are high in natural antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties.

Next Steps:

Eating good, healthy food doesn’t need to be boring. Everyone on our team has a favorite tasty (and healthy) meal. So, if you are struggling to come up with ideas on how you can eat health, let us know! We would be happy to share some of our favorite meals to help inspire you this new year!

How Much Water Did You Drink Today?

Quick question:

How much water did you drink today? For most people, the answer would be “not enough”.

From everything we drink and swim in, to the ice that reduces swelling, water is all around us (and even in us), a matter of fact – it basically is us!

Water makes up around two thirds of who we are, and influences every single process in our body – which probably explains why we feel a lot better when we drink enough of it.

Now you might be aware of the many ‘tips and tricks’ that are out there on “how to avoid a bad back”, and “how to relieve the pain” – but have you ever heard of drinking more water to help with that?

My guess is you have not!

I get that it might sound ‘too simple’ to make a difference, but dehydration really can be one of the culprits of back pain, and one of the reasons why it stays around for longer than it needs to.

Let me explain…

I know you already know that water affects every organ and cell in your body, but it also plays an enormous role in the health of your back and spine.

In between each section of the spine (the vertebrae) lies a disc – which are mainly made up of water. During the day when we’re standing up, they slowly become dehydrated, then at night when we’re laying down, they rehydrate themselves again (so long as there is ENOUGH water in the body!).

If there’s not enough water in your body, then this isn’t good news for your discs, and eventually this lack of water can cause pain, swelling, and even more problems further down the line.

Just like a car engine needs to keep lubricated to run properly – your body needs water for your joints, organs and muscles to function.

See why your water intake is so important now?

We all know it is! Just not many of us knew that without enough of it back pain can creep up, and stay around for longer.

So next let’s take a look at a few things so you can start living a life with less back pain:

  1. Signs that you’re not drinking enough water – so you can start drinking more of it!
  2. What you can expect when you start drinking more water.


  1. Helpful tips to help you increase your intake!

Lets dive in:

Signs That You’re Not Drinking Enough Water

How do you really know?

Well the most obvious is feeling thirsty, but here’s some not so obvious signs:

  • Feeling tired
  • Dizziness
  • Dry skin and lips
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Mood swings
  • And… joint pain

The list goes on!… But one of the best and most reliable signs is to check your urine – if it’s dark and not a light yellow color, get more water in your system!

What You Can Expect When You Start Drinking More Water…

You already know that water is great for you, but after a few weeks of drinking more of it, what benefits can you expect to see?

Less soreness in your back for one

You’ll feel ‘healthier’, your eyes may not feel as tired, and you’ll feel more alert!

Additionally water can help you lose weight (if that’s something you’d like to achieve), your skin will look clearer and you’ll have a natural glow!

You’ll likely even find you don’t need to reach for the coffee 4 times a day because you feel much more alert.

How Can You Increase Your Water Intake?

Besides using a bigger glass to down your water with, here’s some other tips that might work better for you. I’ll start with my favorite – drinking a glass of water right after waking up.

Before I go to bed I make sure to place a glass of water on my bedside table, that way, when I wake up in the morning, the first thing I see is a glass of water right next to me.

It’s a great feeling knowing that I’ve already consumed almost 15% of my daily water intake before my day has even started. Give it a go, after a week or two it’ll be a new habit and you’ll feel more energetic for it.

Another way you can increase how much you drink is to switch it up.

I get it, water can get boring, but it doesn’t have to be.

Vary still and sparkling water, or add lemon, cucumber or other fruits to your water/ Experiment with it and try to find something that suits you. You could even make your own lemonade, or mix it with fruit juices.

So there you have it, why you need to drink more water to help ease aches and pains, did you have any idea that water played such a huge role in your joint health? Don’t let another day go by of being dehydrated – now you have simple tips to help you drink more water each day.

Exercise and Lower Back Pain

Lets talk about exercise and back pain…

Last week I had a question asked by one of our patients, Janet, 58, from Rockville…

And it’s one that we get asked often (especially since the January gym rush!):

“Is it ok to exercise when my back is hurting? I’ve just got into a good routine sticking to the gym and working out three times a week, and I really don’t want to stop…”

I get the frustration, and I also know that the thought of doing any movement at all when you’re going through some kind of pain might feel a little scary…

You don’t want to run the risk of aggravating it any more in case it turns into something more serious.

You don’t want to go ‘too hard’ in the gym in case you pull another muscle.

And you don’t want to wake up one day to find that you can no longer roll out of bed easily, walk down the road, or even drive because what you did made it worse.

But don’t let that worry you too much – that’s rarely ever the case!

An aching lower back doesn’t mean you’ve got to be housebound, with heat and ice packs until it magically disappears.

You CAN keep moving! In fact, not moving at all can make your back pain worse!

Here’s why…

If you suffer from lower back pain that comes and goes, gentle walking with exercises designed to improve lower back strength and movement added in, will make a big difference.

Walking is a completely natural movement that keeps your joints mobile and muscles working – even those in your feet, lets, hips and torso – which play an important role in keeping the muscles in your back that hold you up right, strong.

Stretching combined with walking will improve your backs strength, flexibility and posture, which in turn, can help stop back pain from creeping up on you when you least expect it. What’s more, it can also reduce how painful it feels and how much it gets in the way of day to day life.

So here’s the important question to answer now that you know it 100% is ok to exercise even if you’ve got a bad back…

What exercise can you actually be doing? Because of course, too much exercise, or exercise that’s strenuous could make it worse or keep it hanging around longer.

Introducing Yoga.

Even though there’s false beliefs around Yoga, like ‘you’ve got to be flexible’ etc., etc., etc… you can ditch those false beliefs behind because it’s for anyone!

Let me tell you why – Yoga helps build strength.

Yoga requires you to concentrate on specific muscles in the body when holding poses – many of which improve back strength. When these muscles are stronger your back pain can be greatly reduced and is less likely to affect you as bad as it once did.

As well as strengthening, Yoga relaxes the body and reduces any tension in stress-carrying muscles (a.k.a your back!)

For people with lower back pain, stretching is important. Stretching the muscles in your legs actually help to increase range of movement in your hips, taking the stress off your lower back – which in addition increases blood flow, allowing nutrients to flow in, taking care of the muscles in your back.

It’s also one of the best forms of exercise to maintain and improve a healthy posture. Great for your back, stopping back pain in its tracks, and add to that, it feels great when you can walk around confident and tall.

So there you have it, gentle walks and yoga.

Both of these will help you gain back your strength in your back, so you can return to doing the exercise you love the most.

Secrets To Keeping Active And Mobile Even If You’re Suffering With A Bad Back

Got this question asked in my clinic this week that I wanted to share with you (it’s a common question I get asked often on the topic of back pain)…

“Dr. Paris, I’m desperate to get back into shape after suffering with a bad back for long time. Can you continue to stay fit and active when long standing back pain still gets in the way? Your team is a great help, but I want to do more by myself while I’m receiving treatment, I’m just scared, a bit nervous and don’t know what type of exercise safe…”

– Sandy, 48, Germantown

I understand that the thought of doing ANY type of exercise at all when you’re in some form of pain might seem a little scary and worrisome…

You don’t want to run the risk of making it any worse in case it turns into an injury and puts you out even longer. But I’d like to put your mind at ease and let you know that just because your back is causing you issues right now, you don’t have to keep yourself stranded on the sofa until you wake up one day to find it has magically disappeared.

You see, even though therapy and chiropractic is great and really helps to ease your pain, it can never be a full blown cure alone. The real long-term success at overcoming things like back pain lies within what YOU do in-between and after your sessions.

Let me explain…

Most bad backs happen because they’re not strong in the first place, so in order to get your back strong your lifestyle and the types of activities you do play a huge part in your recovery.

A lot of us have jobs that involve sitting at a desk all day. I know Sandy works as a teacher and her back pain came on as a result of sitting for long periods of time without regular breaks to move around, and then going home at a night to sit yet again for a few MORE hours before going to bed!

And seeing as your back isn’t made to sit, sitting puts a lot of pressure on the spine.

So the long-term solution?

Regular posture style exercises to increase muscle control and strength (i.e. yoga)

(And not only does yoga help to ease back pain, it also makes you more flexible and toned too! Win-win ;-))

Yoga style exercises are great for people like ‘Sandy’ who feel frightened and nervous about returning to exercise after a bad back, because it involves exercises designed to strengthen and control the muscles in your back – allowing you to return to other types of exercises like running, cycling and gym classes, much quicker!

But let me just point out that there’s a huge difference between “exercising” (running, golf, cycling…), and doing exercises like Pilates or yoga.

Things like running are great to improve your cardio and the length of time you can maintain being active without feeling tired, but without strengthening exercises, there’s a greater risk of injury. So we must build a strong foundation first, and then add in other activities.

So the answer to Sandy’s question is – yes, you certainly can continue to remain fit and active even if you’re suffering with back pain.

The solution lies within the long-term commitment you make to the other things you do outside of your treatment and in-between sessions. Be consistent with doing posture style exercises for 3 months, and then when you notice a difference you can start adding in other gentle exercises as an addition to make sure your bad back doesn’t creep up on you again!

Back Pain: How To Live With Less Of It When Working In An Office

Here’s a blog post written for you by our PTA, Jimmy, on ways to manage aches and pains if you’re an office worker…


Do you work in an office based job?

Do you find yourself struggling with neck, shoulder or back pain after sitting for long periods of time?

Wish there was something you could do to reduce the pain?

Well there is a solution to create a safer, healthy and comfortable working environment for you, so you don’t have to put up with annoying aches and pains.

Let’s start at the bottom with your ankles…

Research suggests your ankles should be supported via a foot rest keeping the ankle joints at just over a 90 degree angle.

The same rule applies to your knees, keep them at slightly over 90 degree angle with at least 80-90% of your thighs supported on your seat parallel to the floor.

So basically, at all times your feet are planted firmly on the floor and you’re not sitting in a twisted position – which I know can be easy to do after sitting for hours without regular breaks!

Moving on to those troublesome lower backs…

A lot of us are guilty of having poor sitting posture – slouching in our chairs at work creating extra un-necessary stresses though our spine and the soft tissues (muscles, tendons and ligaments) that support our spine and body!

To avoid this extra stress it’s important to ensure that your bum is touching the back of the chair. So get your wiggle on and shuffle right to the back of your chair, don’t be worried if your feet come off the floor this is where the foot support will be ideal and come in handy.

To reduce lower back pain the use of a lumbar support which can be purchased very cheaply or done by simply rolling up a towel and placing it on your lower back, will straighten up your posture and help say goodbye to aches in your lower back.

Now we have a good back posture let’s take care of those painful necks and shoulders…

Do you spend most of your day on the phone at work?

Here’s a tip – use a head set to avoid your typical hunched over neck and shoulder phone position, keeping your neck free and loose.

What about if you’re spending long hours on the computer, or using a laptop?

Just like your legs it is also important to support your arms with arm rest which should be just higher than the level of your desk keeping the elbows at just over 90 degrees and the elbows level with your keyboard.

The use of a simple wrist support should also be applied as you are typing away to keep your elbows level with your keyboard.

Most importantly for your neck is the height and positioning of your computer screen. The top of your monitor should be directly at eye level and straight ahead of you so you are not twisting your neck and leaning it forward.

If you work from a laptop, you can get yourself a support to raise the screen up to your eye level. The use of an external keyboard and mouse can also avoid any issues caused by raising your screen, but also (and more importantly) keeps your elbows and wrists in the correct position.

If you are still struggling and find hard to relieve your pain take a hot water bottle, or a microwaveable wheat bag to work with you and apply for 20 minute periods throughout the day.

I hope you have found this information beneficial and that it helps you in your daily working life but, do remember movement is a must so whether it’s neck movements, and stretches while you are sitting or getting up to warm your wheat bag up in the microwave, do take regular periods to get moving or stretching to avoid seizing up!


For more tips like this on ways to ease back pain, click here where you can download your FREE copy of our back pain tips guide:

Back Pain: Unusual Ways To Ease it Without Taking Painkillers!

Back pain…

It’s something you never think will happen to you (not until later on in life anyway…)

Though sometimes you’re going about your day nicely. You feel well and think that any health problems you ‘might get’ are a lonnnnng way off in the future!

But then suddenly, you feel a twinge in your back, and something’s not quite right.

Maybe your first thought is that it’s nothing, and it’ll just go away on its own.

Maybe you pass it off as just having slept awkwardly, or because you were doing the housework all day.

But the truth is, when back pain ‘just happens’, most of us have no clue, no real explanation, and when it strikes it leaves you suffering with back pain for a lot longer than you should have to!

And what do you do when the pain suddenly comes on?!

Most people do one of two things:

– Ignore it, hoping to wake up one morning as if they never had back pain in the first place.


– Reach into the cupboard and dose up on painkillers every few hours… for days!

And I don’t blame them, after all when you take a visit to the GP they’ll either tell you to rest, or rest and take some strong painkillers…

But painkillers only mask the pain for a few hours until you need to take another dose! – Which will never get to the root cause of back pain.

Here’s the thing, there’s so many different ways of finding relief from back pain that don’t include the standard painkillers and rest option, and I want to share them with you, so you can find relief naturally (WITHOUT relying upon pills)…

The first, simplest way of easing a bad back is to avoid sitting with your legs crossed.

We all do it, but because your spine isn’t designed to twist and turn, sitting with your legs crossed places a lot of strain on your lower back – which will contribute to more back pain.

Sit straight with your legs placed on the floor with your knees slightly bent, and this will take away any pressure on the spine.

Another easy one to fix – how do you sleep at night? There isn’t a faster way to self-inflict a bad back on yourself or make it worse.

Avoid this position at all costs, and you’ll have a better night’s sleep and wake up with less back pain.

On the topic of sleep, give sleeping with a pillow between your knees a shot. This might be a little difficult to get used to at first, but if you can persist, it lowers the amount of twisting happening in your spine.

And if you sleep on your side, try placing a pillow between your legs to keep your spine in a good position and reduce the tension in your lower back.

Your back holds your core – one of the most important parts of your body! And if we don’t look after and protect it, we’re likely to experience some type of aches and pains at some point in our life.

In the same way that you brush your teeth twice a day to look after them and keep them clean, you need to look at taking care of your back in the same way, and incorporate daily habits and rituals to help ease, AND live with less back pain.

I can’t promise you that ALL of these things will work for you, but what I do know is that these tips have been proven to help my patients, and even myself, to reduce the risk of back pain coming out of nowhere… And if someone is suffering from it, these tips help ease it too!

For even MORE natural tips like this, visit here where you can download your free copy of my back pain tips report

Back Pain: When Do I Use Ice?… And When Do I Use Heat?

Confused about whether you should use ice or heat to help ease your back pain?… Our Physical Therapist, Ronaldo Montecer is here to answer your question, read on!…


Easily one of the most common questions I get asked on a daily basis, and it’s something that confuses many people too…

“Should I use ice or heat to ease my back pain?”

Rightly or wrongly,  9 out of 10 of my clients tend to favor heat – a nice hot soak in the bath or one of those lavender scented bean bags to try and ease their back pain.

I think one of the key reasons is the simple fact  that during the winter, it’s just plain cold here in the Mid-atlantic and they don’t like the thought of the cold ice on their back!

As you can appreciate every health concern and injury is different. Sometimes it’s ice to cool it down, or heat to help relax it… It can be very confusing!

So when to use ice:  There’s one time in particular we say to use ice and that’s when something just happened and it’s very painful, likely hot and maybe swollen.

This is an ‘acute’ injury.  Acute meaning it just happened. For example a sprained ankle or pulled muscle.

When it comes to your back pain, the time to use ice is if your back has suddenly ‘gone’ and you’re in a lot a pain, or you’ve overdone it and your back becomes very painful towards the end of the day.

You see, your body is actually very clever. Let’s use an ankle sprain as an example… When you sprain your ankle your body will immediately try and protect itself. This is why you get swelling and it becomes very hot and painful.

The swelling is just your body’s natural cushion to protect the sprain. The pain and heat comes from the inflammation. Again this is you body’s way of trying to protect and heal itself, if something’s painful – you’re not going to want to move it or touch it are you?

The exact same thing is happening in your back too, you just can’t see it.

So your ankle, back, or whatever you’ve hurt can start to heal without any more damage. So that’s WHY it happens.  But this pain can be awfully worse than the actual injury itself, so cooling it down with ice is a simple method to help ease the intensity of the pain as soon as possible.

And by using the cool ice little and often on the injury (20 mins every hour or so), the cooling and warming of the injury will help the blood keep flowing around the area to help it heal even quicker.

Make sense?

Ok, so now we’ve got and idea of when’s the best time to use ice…

When Do We Use Heat?

Try thinking of it like this… When something is warm it’s softer, and when something is cold, it’s harder (think of that yummy chocolate bar you snuck in this weekend! Like most things, when chocolate is warm its softer)… It’s exactly the same with our bodies.

With that in mind I always explain to my clients it’s time to apply heat when you feel more stiff, achy and need to get things moving – that’s the perfect time to use heat.

So first thing on a morning if your back’s feeling really stiff and tight, a hot shower to loosen the muscles also works wonders. Follow that with some gentle stretches too and you’ll feel a huge difference!

Typically if it’s something that’s been nagging you for some time (chronic), and it’s more stiff and achy rather than painful then heat is the way to go. The reason it’s stiff and aching is because the muscles and joints are so tight.

Like anything, you warm it up and it’s more supple. It’s exactly the same with your joints and muscles… Muscles should be able to move, if they’re are stiff and tight you are more likely to have an injury by over stretching them as they simply can stretch as far as needed.

It’s for this same exact reason athletes ‘warm up’ before doing their sport – so they don’t pull a muscle!  When we’re asleep at night our muscles cool down because they aren’t being used (our blood is going directly to our brain for our dreams and to our stomach to digest our dinner)… So why don’t we ‘warm up’ first thing on a morning to get us ready for the day?

Don’t worry I’m not talking about 10 laps jogging around your neighborhood. Just a warm shower followed by a few minutes of simple stretching.

Not sure what stretches to do? I always recommend the perfect combination of Yoga and Pilates style stretches to keep your back healthy and pain free.

So key things to remember –  If it’s just happened and very painful – Ice it!

If it’s stiff and tight – warm it up! 

For more tips like this on how to ease back pain, click here, where you can download your completely free guide with 9 easy ways to ease back pain.