Ice Packs for Back Pain

Any kind of physical pain is disagreeable, but back pain holds a special place in the list of discomforts we would really rather live without. Given that our backs are so vital for our structure, how we move and function, hurting your back pain can be debilitating.

It’s also true that as the back is made from a complex architecture of muscles, tendons and bones, covering such a large surface area, it can be easy to injure it in some way.

Sit with bad posture for a length of time…

Pick up something too heavy with poor lifting technique…

Sleep in a funny position…

…and hey presto – back pain!

Of course, this isn’t something to joke about, as back pain can be a very uncomfortable problem that varies in its intensity.

What Can Be Done About Back Pain?

There are many methods you can use to help alleviate your back pain.

When it comes to caring for your back pain, it’s important to consider the many lifestyle factors that have contributed to it. If your back is sore at the end of a day working from home, for instance, you may find investing in an ergonomic chair, or a standing desk, or staying active and moving at regular intervals can help you.

Standing up straight with your shoulders back is a good way to give you neutral posture, provided you have a healthy spine alignment (chiropractors can help with this).

Positive lifestyle efforts such as exercising, losing weight, stretching, getting enough sleep and quitting smoking can also be worthwhile. Manual therapies like chiropractic also commonly help with lower back pain.

However, there is another helpful solution – the use of ice packs.

Ice Packs For Back Pain

Ice packs can help you resolve a range of issues regarding your back pain. They are easy to apply, cheap, and available year-round.

Ice packs are most effective if carefully utilized within the first 24-48 hours after an injury. This can immediately help you address swelling, inflammation, and sore tissues. This provides pain relief and while the coldness can feel sharp at first, it will ultimately offset the pain you are feeling, as the coldness will take precedence over the dull pain.

This form of ice pack application also helps the gentle care for the soft tissues that make up your back muscles, allowing them to become gently pliable. This helps you massage and attend to the soreness or pain.

How Do I Apply Ice Packs?

Ice packs must be applied with great care.

Gently apply the ice pack to the sore or injured area. If it’s hard to reach, ask a friend or relative.

Massage slowly in a circular motion. This can be performed up to five times daily.

Be sure to take regular breaks after 3-5 minutes to prevent ice burns.

A good ice pack will come with a covering thin but protective enough to keep the ice cold, but also to prevent direct contact of the ice onto the skin. Think of wrapping a pack of ice-cold peas in a towel before application. The same logic applies. However, ice packs have the added benefits of being easier to handle, staying hygienic, and proving easier to handle.

Should you use ice or heat immediately after an injury?

This is dependent on the presenting problem.  If the inflammation is from a joint (facet) in the spine or disc, ice would be the way to go. Think of a sudden injury, like a sprained ankle. It is probably going to be hot, swollen and painful. This is also true for sudden injuries or sprains to your lower back. Ice helps soothe the pain and reduce inflammation.

If injury or pain is from muscle spasm, heat would be beneficial. Heat would not be recommended directly after a massage or deep tissue work though.

Heat is good for muscular pain, such as when you wake up in the morning with tight muscle. Heat increases blood flow and promotes movement.

Find Out More

With this advice, we hope you can more easily deal with your back pain. Get in touch with New World Chiro today to find out more about back pain and how we may help.

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Dr. Rosemarie Jabbour (Chiropractor) is the owner and chiropractor at New World Chiro, Parramatta. Rosemarie is an experienced and highly professional healthcare practitioner with over 25+ years experience in caring for the local community. Rosemarie was also one of the chiropractors for the Sydney 2000 Olympic games. With a keen interest in spinal health, neuroscience and sports fitness, Rosemarie is a natural health champion and advocate.

In addition to running New World Chiro, Rosemarie runs corporate health and wellness training programs, chiropractic assistant training, and networks within a variety of local business networks.


- B.Sc.(Biol.Sc.)
- B.App Sc (Clin.Sc)
- B.C.Sc.
- The International Chiropractic Sports Science Diploma 1997
- Graduate Certificate in Sports Chiropractic in 1998