A pulled muscle in the back is a common injury and a major contributor to the 80% of the population that experiences back pain. You can pull a back muscle during athletic activity, while shoveling, bending over to pick up an object, or even sneezing.
You can help avoid a pulled muscle in the back by warming up before exercising, performing light stretches every day and before strenuous activity, and avoiding long periods of inactivity. However, even when you do everything you can to prevent a back injury, they still sometimes happen. When a back injury does occur, cryotherapy (or cold therapy) is one of the best treatment options to help you recover as quickly as possible.
Cryotherapy and a Pulled Back Muscle
The application of therapeutic cold can improve recovery from a pulled back muscle in multiple ways:
There is no doubt about it: a pulled back muscle can be very painful. Applying cold to the affected area helps relieve back pain by slowing down the nerve impulses that send pain messages to the brain. The longer you apply cold, the longer the pain-relieving effect works. You can also maximize pain relief by making sure your ice pack stays cold. When you apply an ice pack, the heat from your body warms it up, making it less effective over time. You can avoid this by regularly switching to a fresh ice pack, or even better, using a cold therapy machine that maintains a constant therapeutic temperature.
Reduce muscle spasms
Nothing is more uncomfortable than a muscle spasm after you have already pulled a muscle in your back. Muscle spasms can occur as a response to pain, so by using cryotherapy to relieve pain, you are also reducing the risk of muscle spasms at the same time.
When you pull a back muscle, the body reacts with a natural inflammatory response. The damaged tissues in your back release chemicals that cause the blood vessels to dilate and secrete fluids into the surrounding tissues, which causes swelling. Cryotherapy causes the blood vessels to constrict, which limits blood flow to the area and helps control swelling.
Another effect of cryotherapy is the reduction of the metabolic rate in cells. This means that they require less oxygen and therefore have a better chance of surviving after injury. Without cryotherapy, more cells will die and produce byproducts that contribute to the cycle of cell death, impeding their ability to regenerate and thrive. Applying therapeutic cold helps you heal faster by slowing down these natural processes.
If you have pulled a back muscle and want to heal as quickly as possible, think about renting a cold therapy machine to deliver cryotherapy at a consistent temperature. An adjustable wrap covers the entire back area so you can get the benefits of deep-penetrating cold and active compression without having to hold an ice pack in place. Ask your doctor about Game Ready or contact us today to learn more.