For those suffering with a sore back or neck, an ice massage is one of the most effective methods to alleviate pain. An ice massage is effectual when either done alone or in combination with other treatments and provides significant relief for many types of back pain; however, it is particularly useful for a sore back caused by lower back muscle strain. Ice massage therapy is most effective when it is applied as soon as possible when an injury occurs, typically within 24 to 48 hours following the injury.
An ice massage provides relief from pain in a number of ways. The application of ice to the injured area slows the inflammation and swelling that will likely occur after an injury, and addressing the inflammation helps reduce the pain. In addition, the ice numbs the sore tissues, which provides pain relief similar to a local anesthetic, as well as decreases tissue damage. An ice massage also slows the nerve impulses in the effected area, which interrupts the pain-spasm reaction between the nerves.
To perform a no-cost, effective ice massage, apply the ice gently to the injured or sore area and massage in a circular motion. It is recommended to limit the ice massage therapy to around 5 minutes at a time in order to avoid an ice burn, and the massage can be repeated 2 to 5 times per day as needed. A patient can give themselves an ice massage by lying on their side and reaching around to apply the ice and perform the massage.
Another person may also give the ice massage, and the patient should lie down on their stomach with a pillow or towel placed under the hips to keep stress off the lower back. The cold from the ice massage promotes blood rushing to the effected area, and the infusion of blood brings with it the nutrients needed to help the injured back muscles, tendons, and ligaments to heal.