Infrared Therapy for Neck & Back
Many massage chairs and hand-held massagers come with infrared heat sources. The purpose of these are to provide heat and increase the circulation in the area being massaged, such as the back and neck. A study published in Pain Research and Management in 2006 concluded that patients experienced a significant reduction in back pain through infrared therapies without any adverse side effects. Consult your doctor about the benefits of using infrared therapies to alleviate back pain.
Infrared therapy will heat your back and neck muscles deep into the core of your spine. This brings circulation to help heal minor injuries and neuropathy. This mode of therapy works best when you are using it with other modes of physical therapy or massage, which is why infrared lamps are frequently a feature on home massage machines.
You should use these machines for up to twenty minutes at a time, allowing the heat to penetrate into the location of your back or neck pain. As the area warms, the massage component will help loosen the region up providing more flexibility, mobility and circulation which is needed for healing. Once you are done with the infrared mode, you should take 10 minutes to stretch your back, taking it through several ranges of motion to further improve your condition.
In the physical therapy environment, therapists are using infrared therapy in the treatment of chronic pain resulting from arthritis, diabetes and injuries. The Anodyne Therapy system is recognized as a leader in infrared therapy to reduce stiffness and muscle spasm while increasing the release of nitric oxide, a vital transporter of nutrients. Treatments typically consist of 30-minute durations three times per week for a four-week span. Infrared treatment is done in conjunction with other physical therapy treatments such as spine flexibility exercises, core muscle strengthening and postural correction.
Insurance companies such as Aetna recognize infrared therapy as being a useful component for many physical therapy regimens. While acknowledging the need for infrared in physical therapy, there is still much research that companies such as Aetna require to move infrared therapy from experimental to effective when it comes to peripheral neuropathy and neck pain.