Back Pain and Infrared Heat: Does It Help?

Living with chronic back pain due to an injury, herniated disc, sciatica, or other issue is not exactly a bed of roses. While medication does help, you like to keep the number of pills you pop every day to a minimum. That’s one of the reasons why you like the idea of trying infrared heat therapy.

Before you make any decisions, it pays to learn a little more about this type of approach and figure out if it’s right for you.

Understanding the Basics

Infrared heat is different from the radiant heat generated by your run of the mill heating pad. Think of infrared as the type of heat generated when you spend some time out in the sun. The sun’s rays have the effect of delivering heat deep into the muscles and other tissues. Even after you come indoors, the warmth in your muscles will continue for a time. This is why infrared heating pads are the best… the heat goes much deeper.


This type of heat has the effect of relaxing muscles and nerves that are carrying a lot of tension. When that tension is eased, the strain on your back is also reduced. Instead of finding it hard to walk or even sit in a comfortable position, you’ll enjoy a broader range of motion without the stiffness and sensation of knives being stuck in your back.

If Infrared Heating Safe?

While the application of heat is ideal for many types of back pain, it pays to talk with your doctor before trying any new method. The key is what is causing the pain in the first place. While the chance that applying some type of cold to your back would be best is small, your doctor can determine what will work best.

For example, maybe your pain is caused by inflammation immediately after an accident. While it’s true that cold tends to make muscles contract, it can also help reduce trauma and swelling to the area. Once the swelling is gone, heat can be used to help speed up the healing process.

Using infrared heat is just as safe as using a heating pad for chronic back pain. You do need to follow your physician’s instructions in terms of how long the heat should be applied per session. Remember that you can use this approach several times during the day if necessary.

How About Treatments in a Doctor’s Office?

You may not know it, but many chiropractors use infrared heating as part of their treatment strategy. Along with massage, alignments, and muscle manipulation, the medical professional can use equipment that delivers the right amount of heat and monitor the effects.

If you feel a little concerned about investing in equipment to use at home, it never hurts to talk with a chiropractor about your condition and find out if this type of heat is right for you. It will only take a couple of sessions to find out if it’s worth the effort.

How About Home Treatments?

Assuming you find that infrared heat treatments under the chiropractor provide relief, you can purchase your own far infrared heating pad to use at home. It helps to read the instructions carefully and also get input from your doctor about the proper usage. Since the heat delivery does reach deep into muscle tissue, you won’t feel as if you have to keep the pad on your back all the time.

Infrared heat is great for treating back spasms, buttock pain from sitting too long, a pinched nerve in your shoulder, and a variety of other issues where inflammation plays a big role.

If you’ve never tried infrared heat before, today is a good time to get started. Try a session under the care of a professional and see what happens. If it works, you have a new weapon in your arsenal against back pain.


The following two tabs change content below.


(Editor at Back Pained) – Adam is a former longtime back pain sufferer who is now pain-free. He has created this site to help others get back pain relief at home as an alternative to expensive specialist appointments or physical therapy that may or may not work. A research junkie, he's spent considerable time determining which of the countless back pain products actually work and which ones are a waste of money. He now enjoys spending time on the basketball court re-learning that jump shot from when he last played in high school.
Categories Therapy

Leave a Comment