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Low back pain: “heat therapy” to reduce pain

January 1, 2018

A sudden movement can cause low back pain, which is technically a muscular contracture that affects the lumbar area and immediately leads to immobility: ‘The pain is very acute and can sometimes expand and reach the buttocks and radiate along the lower limbs’, recalls Dr. Cristiano Sconza, specialist in orthopedic rehabilitation at Humanitas.



The causes

Bending over to pick something from the ground is one of the main actions that are immediately associated with low back pain: ‘the movements that most often can cause this muscle contracture are the bending of the spinal column, the extension from the bending position or rotations, especially if the movement is sudden”, explains the specialist.


Therefore, the risk of getting a back spasm is greater while doing common daily actions, whilst it is more remote when physical activities take place: ‘You are more protected when exercising, as this engages the muscles of the back and therefore warms them up. However, incorrect movements of the spine can still cause contracture even during physical activities’.

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The consequences

The initial pain is very intense but it is even more extensive in one case: ‘When the subject has a hernia or a disc protrusion. In this case, the pain radiates along the leg and can even reach the foot. These individuals have a greater risk because in most cases they have a problem of biomechanical nature, so their column is more unstable’, underlines Dr. Sconza.




After a few days, it will be passed to a clinical evaluation, ‘especially if the pain is irradiated. For full recovery, you can resort to some physical therapies such as hyperthermia and TENS. It is also useful to combine massages (decontracting massage therapy) and physiotherapy is very important at the end of the therapeutic program to try to restore the muscles to their natural elasticity and strengthen the muscular stability of the column. Furthermore, if the movement that caused the contracture was not accidental but associated with the work activity, it is important to set up an adequate rehabilitation program in order to find useful and preventive motor strategies for a new incorrect movement and therefore a second episode of low back pain’.


Finally, it will be possible to go back to do physical activity after a few weeks, ‘depending on the type of muscle contracture and only after completing the rehabilitation phase in the absence of pain’, concludes Dr. Sconza.

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