Hot Tub Therapy for Neck and Back Pain

Hot Tub Therapy for Neck and Back Pain

Hot Tub Therapy for Neck and Back Pain

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Among the many modalities that can be used to manage neck and back pain, the use of a hot tub is usually one of the pleasurable indulgences that many have taken advantage of or have at least thought of. Patients will often ask if there is benefit to using a hot tub.

Historically, the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians used mineral spas as a form of therapy and relaxation.  As technology has advanced, all types and sizes of whirlpool spas and hot tubs that supposedly offer the same health benefits and more, are readily available today.  While there are very few scientific studies that have been published on this subject, anecdotally some claim multiple health benefits from the regular use of a hot tub.

Using a hot tub or hydrotherapy refers to the use of water to maintain general health or treat a specific condition. Marketing efforts focus on three principles that include heat, massage, and buoyancy.  Moist heat causes blood vessels to dilate thereby allowing for muscle relaxation and decreased blood pressure. This can bring about a temporary relief of muscle soreness and joint pains especially in those who suffer from arthritis and for those who suffer from back spasms. Added benefit can come from spray nozzles or jets that offer a concentrated stream of water to massage specific areas of the back and neck. It has been theorized that this also contributes to improved circulation which is powerful in the healing process. Another positive aspect of hot tub use comes from the principle of buoyancy.  When we are immersed in a hot tub or spa, most of our bodyweight is supported by the water. This can alleviate pressure off the weight bearing joints.  For some, this can allow them to try and obtain greater gains in joint range of motion for stiff and painful joints.

Beyond the positive benefits aforementioned, are there any downsides or reasons one should not use a hot tub or spa? There are a few things that one must consider when considering to use a hot tub. First, you should not go into a hot tub with any open wounds or sores. Secondly, even though it may sound overly relaxing, drinking and soaking in a hot tub is a bad combination!  The use of alcohol can cause dehydration and heat exhaustion leading to confusion and fainting.  If you have a heart condition, you should always check with your physician before using a hot tub.

While I am not advocating everyone to run out and buy a hot tub, the use of one can be beneficial at reducing stress, improved circulation, total relaxation, and improved sleep.

Citations

  • Kamioka H, Tsutani K, Okuizumi H, Mutoh Y, Ohta M, Handa S, Okada S, Kitayuguchi J, Kamada M, Shiozawa N, Honda T. Effectiveness of aquatic exercise and balneotherapy: a summary of systematic reviews based on randomized controlled trials of water immersion therapies. J Epidemiol. 2010;20(1):2-12. PubMed PMID: 19881230

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www.Spine-Health.com/author/john-h-shim-md-facs

Chief of Surgery, Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin Hospitals, Safety Harbor and Dunedin, Florida. 2014-2016.

Orthopaedic Section Chief Mease Countryside Hospital; Safety Harbor, Florida Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.2008-2013

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The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.
Outpatient Spine Surgery Considerations. www.Spine-Health.com. January 2016.

What is Spinal Stenosis? www.Spine-Health.com. October 2015.

Surgeon insights on the Changing Landscape of Orthopedic Care. OrthopedicToday. June 2014

Chapter 33: Interspinous Spacers. Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

Chapter 35: Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Lumbar Fusion Technique.Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

March 2010 Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana February 2010

February 2010 A Review of Dynamic Stabilization in the Lumbar Spine Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

November 2009 Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Community Based Lecture; Tampa, Florida

September 2009 Instructor/Proctor Minimally Invasive Lumbar Cadaver Lab; Tampa, Florida

February 2009 New Spinal Technology: Cervical Disc Replacement and Interspinous Spacers. Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

February 2008 The Degenerative Spine: The Role of Dynamic Lumbar Stablization and Interspinous Spacers Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

October 2008 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

September 2007 Emerging Technology in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

October 2006 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

May 2005 The Role of Kyphoplasty in the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures Mease Neurosciences Symposium; Clearwater, Florida
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