Many cases of back pain come from lower back muscle strain, which results from straining your back and over-exerting yourself. This can cause tension in the muscles and soft tissues around the lower spine, restricting proper circulation and causing you to feel pain. You may also experience muscle spasms in the lower back, which can cause some mild discomfort up to excruciating back pain. Heat therapy is one method to relieve pain and loosen muscles in the lower back.
How does it work? Heat therapy dilates the blood vessels of the muscles surrounding the lumbar spine, which increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and helps heal damaged tissue. Heat also stimulates the sensory receptors in the skin. This means that the transmission of pain signals is decreased and will relieve some of the pain by itself. Additionally, heat encourages the soft tissues around the spine to stretch—including muscles, connective tissue, and adhesions. So, with heat therapy, you’ll notice a decrease in a stiffness and even injury, while also feeling more flexible and overall more comfortable. Flexibility is important for a healthy back, after all.
The combination of using heat with a back stretcher is best, as you can see from the above details about how heat therapy works. Your muscles will relax and stretch and become much more flexible than if you were to use only a back stretcher or only a heating pad.