Back strain, sometimes also called a pulled back muscle, is both painful and inconvenient. It can be caused by a number of factors, including a fall, improper lifting, twisting unexpectedly, or repeatedly bending over. If left untreated, it can lead to inability to perform certain movements, which can impact your daily life. Fortunately, in most cases, back strain is fully treatable.
One critical component to successful back strain treatment is cold and compression therapy.
Why to Use Cold and Compression for Back Strain
The first step to understanding back strain treatment is to learn more about the injury itself. Back strain is caused by tiny tears in the muscle fibers near the spinal cord. These small tears lead to muscle weakness, instability of the spine, and consequently, pain. Torn muscles also lead to inflammation because your body wants to protect itself from further injury.
One of the best ways to treat the pain and inflammation associated with back strain is with cold and compression:
Cold therapy - Therapeutic cold has been effectively used for decades to reduce the pain and swelling associated with many types of injuries, and back strain is no exception. When cold is applied to the injured area of the back, the blood vessels in the area reflexively constrict, reducing blood flow, which helps reduce swelling and inflammation. The application of cold also impacts nerve endings and makes them less sensitive to pain, resulting in a temporary relief from the discomfort associated with back strain.
Active compression - The body naturally pumps blood and other fluids to bring oxygen and nutrients to all of your tissues. When muscles and ligaments become damaged, the associated swelling reduces the ability to pump freshly oxygenated blood to the area and cellular debris away. The result is edema, or the buildup of excess fluid around an injury. This contributes to additional swelling, pain, and can also impact range of motion. Active compression mimics the body's natural pumping mechanism to maintain the flow of fluids and draw edema away from the injury.
The combination of cold therapy with active compression creates an even greater therapeutic effect because the cold is allowed to penetrate deeper and provide longer lasting benefits.
Game Ready's patented technology provides exactly this combination. A dual-chamber system allows cold water and air to simultaneously flow through wraps that cover the entire back area. The water flows through an ice reservoir to maintain a consistent temperature, while the active compression improves the flow of blood and other fluids.
If you'd like to learn more about Game Ready and how it can help you recover from back strain, ask your doctor about renting a system for home use or find a provider in your area.