Heat therapy application can help provide pain relief through several mechanisms. Heat therapy dilates the blood vessels of the muscles surrounding the spine. This process increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, helping to heal the damaged tissue. Heat stimulates the sensory receptors in the skin, which means that applying heat to the lower back will decrease transmissions of pain signals to the brain and partially relieve the discomfort. Heat application facilitates stretching the soft tissues around the spine, including muscles, connective tissue, and adhesions. Consequently, with heat therapy, there will be a decrease in stiffness as well as injury, with an increase in flexibility and overall feeling of comfort. Flexibility is very important for a healthy back. All of this together leads to a more successful chiropractic adjustment.
Q: What is Superficial Heat?
A: Hot packs and warm moist towels are used to help raise the temperature of soft tissues directly below the surface of the skin.
Q: How does it work and why is it used?
A: Heat applied to the surface of the skin enlarges blood vessels below the surface, relaxing muscles and tissue, and increasing circulation. Superficial heat is used to relax muscle tension before and/or after the chiropractic adjustment.
Patient Benefits: Increases circulation, relaxes muscle tension, reduces joint stiffness and prepares tissues for rehabilitation.