Heat Wrap Safely Reduces Low Back Pain

Warming up your back against
pain; © ABDA

"With recent concerns around the safety of oral pain medications, both patients and physicians are considering alternative treatment options for acute low back pain," said Edward J. Bernacki, M.D., M.P.H., associate professor of medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

In the study, 43 patients (age 20 to 62) who visited an occupational injury clinic for low back pain were randomised into one of two intervention arms: 18 patients received education regarding back therapy and pain management alone, while 25 received the same combined with three consecutive days of CLHT for eight hours continuously.

The heat wrap is a wrap worn over the lower back, under the clothing. It uses an exothermic chemical reaction to deliver a low level of topical heat for at least eight continuous hours. All groups were assessed for measures of pain intensity and pain relief levels four times a day during the three treatment days, followed by measures for pain intensity and pain relief levels obtained in three follow-up visits on days 4, 7, and 14 from the beginning of the treatment.

Patients who received CLHT for low back pain over a three-day period in conjunction with pain management education experienced rapid and significant reduction in pain intensity and greater pain relief when compared to patients who only received pain education. Patients on CLHT showed a 52 percent reduction in pain intensity and a 43 percent improvement in pain relief within one day of treatment as compared to the reference group. Both pain intensity reduction and pain relief were maintained for the three days of treatment with CLHT at 60 percent and 41 percent, respectively.

Additionally, the benefits of pain relief and pain intensity reduction were maintained at a significant level in the CLHT patients in a follow-up period on day 4 and day 14 after treatment was discontinued.

MEDICA.de; Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine