Effects of Whole-Body Heating on Chronic Low Back Pain

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Rebecca Gates (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: https://library.appstate.edu/
Caroline Smith

Abstract: Low Back Pain (LBP) is a condition that may originate from an injury, disease, or stresses on different parts of the body that transfer as a feeling of pain in the bones, nerves, or muscles of the lower back. The prevalence of LBP at some point in one’s lifespan is estimated at 85%, and 2-10% of these individuals will live with chronic LBP (CLBP). The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of 7 consecutive days of whole body heating on chronic low back pain in individuals between 30-65 years of age. A water-perfused suit, through which 50°C water was passed, was utilized to increase core body temperature (Tc) by 0.8°C for 7 consecutive days. Pain questionnaires were used to assess changes in CLBP during the 7 days of heating, and at 2-days and 2-week post-heating. The average McGill Pain Scores from heating day 1 (H1) to day 7 (H7) decreased 20.2%. The functional limitation scale decreased 12.5% from H1 to H7 and the symptom scale of frequency and intensity of pain symptoms both decreased 2.8% from baseline to 2-weeks post-heating. Varied results acutely following heating were observed between subjects, suggesting heating may provide relief for acute pain in some subjects. All three pain scales utilized in the present study (McGill Pain Questionnaire, the functional limitation scale, and the symptom scales) suggested improvements in CLBP with repeated whole body heating to a 0.8°C increase in Tc. Additionally, these therapeutic effects were still evident 2 weeks following the last day of heat therapy. These results suggest promising potential for whole body heating as a non-invasive, non-pharmacologic method of treating chronic low back with benefits lasting for days or weeks post-therapy.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Gates, R.(2015). Effects of Whole-Body Heating on Chronic Low Back Pain. Unpublished honors thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2015
chronic low back pain, whole body warming, heat therapy, human

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