For sudden back pain, a practitioner may advocate applying alternate hot and cold compresses to the painful area - three minutes for the hot compress, one minute for the cold, repeated every 20 minutes. The hot compress will increase blood flow to the area and relax the muscles, while the cold compress helps reduce inflammation.
Those with or prone to chronic backaches may benefit from alternating hot and cold showers. Begin with a hot jet or strong spray aimed at the back for one to four minutes. Follow this by a cold jet or strong spray for 5 to 30 seconds. You can repeat this treatment as often as once every hour if necessary.
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