If you find yourself spending a lot of time dreaming about having freedom from back pain, know that these wistful days won’t have to last forever.
According to the American Chiropractic Association, Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain. Back pain is one of the most common reasons for missed work.
But just because more than one in 10 people worldwide suffer from lower back pain (that’s about 540 million people), it doesn’t mean you have to join that party any longer.
Back pain may be crippling and debilitating, but the fantastic news is that there are plenty of ways to improve and manage it. Of these methods, applying ice packs to your back is probably the most popular.
The conundrum that you may now face is choosing which type of ice pack to apply for your back pain.
We can’t blame you for being overwhelmed, as there’s a multitude of choices of back pain ice packs in the market. Not all back pains are the same for everyone, and not all ice packs are created for all kinds of back pains. That’s what this article is here for — we’re here to help you find your best back pain ice pack match.
Upper back and lower back pain
First of all, backs are a rather broad territory, so for the purpose of finding the best ice pack for different back pains, let’s divide it in two areas: Upper back pain and lower back pain.
Upper back pain is often caused by a muscle or soft tissue problem. The usual cause for this is having bad posture while working, often when sitting hunched over. It can also be caused by carrying a heavy load. People who regularly have upper back pain may also have neck pain.
Lower back pain is quite common. According to a report from the Global Burden of Disease, it is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. Muscle strain is the most common cause for lower back pain, and strengthening your core muscles, back and hip muscles can help prevent it.
What’s the best kind of ice pack for your back pain?
Whether it is lower or upper back pain, you should look for these qualities in an ice pack for effective back pain management:
Flexible while frozen
When you’re hunched over and bogged down from back pain, you will need ice pack relief immediately. There’s nothing worse than taking out an ice pack from the freezer and having to wait for it to defrost before being able to apply it.
Back ice packs should be flexible while frozen, meaning that they are already pliable and will contour around your affected area in the back perfectly when taken straight out from the freezer.
Many back pain ice packs contain a thick viscous gel inside that allows them to always be ready and flexible right when you need it.
A pack that can be used hot or cold
A dual gel pack that can be used as a hot or cold compress will be one of your best investments to managing back pain. There are times when heat remedy is more effective for your type of back pain because it boosts circulation, allowing oxygen and nutrients to travel to your joints and muscles. The circulation then relieves inflammation, repairs damaged muscle and improves back stiffness.
Putting a cold compress or an ice pack on your back, on the other hand, reduces nerve activity, pain and swelling.
It’s likely that, in your lifetime, you will experience different kinds and types of back pain, so it’s important to keep a pack that can be both a hot and a cold compress.
An ice pack that is for targeted spot pain relief
Sometimes, back pains are located in an awkward angle. For this type of back pain, we suggest getting an ice gel pack that is small enough for “spot treatment”, so that wherever the pain may be, be it upper or lower back, you have something that can reach the sore spot.
An ice pack that can cover the length and scope of your entire back
Perhaps your back pain is quite intense and you can feel it running through your entire back. You can’t even determine whether it’s upper or lower back — all you know is that you need back pain relief and you need it now. For this kind of back pain, bigger is better. Find an ice pack large enough for your entire back, hips, neck and spine.
For upper back pain, the following types of ice packs are for you:
An ice pack that can be draped around the neck and shoulders
Most upper back pains are associated with neck and shoulder pain as well. In fact, there are times when one has neck and shoulder pains, and the upper back pain is just an offshoot effect of it.
It will be helpful to have an ice pack that is shaped like a small shawl or one that perfectly sits on the neck and shoulders. Also, when you have a “draped” kind of ice pack, this will leave both of your hands free to do other tasks as you receive pain therapy.
A shoulder or upper back and neck ice pack that can be used on you left or right sides
Some upper back pains begin in the middle, just below the neck, with the pain radiating through one of your shoulders. Sometimes, it’s actually shoulder pain that has become neck pain over time.
For this kind of upper back pain, an ambidextrous shoulder ice pack is perfect for you.
For lower back pain, you may want to find these types of ice packs:
An ice pack that can spot-treat targeted pain
For lower back pain, using a medium-sized flexible ice pack will be handy. Not only are they portable, but they can also sit comfortably in the small of your back while you lie down and relax.
An ice pack that can be worn around your waist and lower back
Having lower back pain is uncomfortable, and you’ll want to lie down, but you don’t want to feel paralysed! An ice pack that can be worn around your waist and lower back is perfect if you are suffering from lower back pain but you still want to maintain your mobility. Find an ice pack that is flexible yet comfortably fits around the lower back and waist so you can maintain your active lifestyle.
We hope we were able to help you determine which type of ice pack is best for your back pain!
If you have any questions, please feel free to send us a message. We’d love to help you manage your pain more effectively.