What are the Best Ice Packs for Your Back in 2023?

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Man in a striped shirt suffering from lower back pain and wishing he had one of the best ice packs for back.

Backache can be one of the most nagging pains you’ll ever suffer from. Whether it’s a sporting injury, from overuse at work, lower back sciatic pain or simply stiffness from incorrect posture, it’s something you’ll want to get rid of as quickly as possible. Back pain or injury is one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor, with almost 80 percent of Americans experiencing back pain at some point in their lifetime.

Want to know more about how an ice pack could help?

Cold therapy, or for the more scientific among you, cryotherapy has been used as a simple but effective treatment of acute pain for many years. Simply placing an ice pack on the affected area of pain can give instant relief and attack the inflammation causing the discomfort. And best of all, it’s drug free, no more need for popping ibuprofen or other over the counter pain relief pills.

Although you could just place a bag of frozen peas on your back for some relief, there are many specialized ice packs available that use advanced gels or clays which stay colder for longer for more effective treatment. Some of the best ice packs for back pain can even be worn under your clothes as you perform everyday tasks. Used safely and correctly ice treatment can be a useful way of eliminating that pain and speeding up recovery.

So let’s jump in and get this thing wrapped up (excuse the pun!).

How to Use an Ice Pack for Back Pain

For fresh injuries or acute pain where there’s swelling and inflammation the last thing you want to do is apply heat which may boost the circulation and cause the inflammation to get worse. Application of an ice pack for back pain will reduce the swelling, alleviate pain or tension and reduce that inflammation at the root of the pain. The following video looks at how a chiropractor recommends using cold therapy to treat back pain:

You should apply ice after a physical activity rather than before as it will numb the affected area and may cause you not to notice any further damage. Ice should be applied to the affected area two to three times a day in periods of 20 to 30 minutes, although can be applied for longer, leaving an hour between applications. Avoid a lengthy exposure, and stop icing after the skin has become numb.

To avoid frostbite you should never apply ice directly to the skin. Nearly all gel packs now come with fabric covers that can provide more comfort to the application and act as a buffer between the skin and the ice pack. Try to avoid ice packs that use latex which may irritate sensitive skins.

As with all treatments, if the pain doesn’t seem to get any better seek medical advice before continuing. Ice won’t cure the injury but it will, in some cases, reduce inflammation and pain and speed up the recovery. Don’t use ice on muscle knots as the cold may cause these tender spots to be more painful.

What to Look for in the Best ice Packs for Back Pain

Perhaps the most important consideration when looking for an ice pack to apply cold therapy to the back, is size. You’ll need a larger pack that covers more area of the back for an effective treatment. Smaller ice packs are also available and feature a strap style mechanism that enables you to target more specific areas of the back like the shoulders or upper spine and neck area.

Flexibility of the pack can be very important in how well the ice molds to your body. Most gels nowadays claim to be fully flexible even when frozen but you should always check what temperature it can be frozen to (often gels recommend going no lower than zero degrees Fahrenheit.). If you intend to wear the ice pack you should consider one that allows for the maximum movement, and maybe even look at a wearing a brace with an ice pack underneath.

Consider how portable and easy to carry around an ice pack is, especially if you’re prone to sporting injuries, you’ll want one that fits in your first aid kit bag. Some of the heavy duty ice packs are almost like blankets and only really suited for home or clinic use.

Best Ice Packs for Your Back

Choosing an ice pack can be a confusing decision with so many different options available. Some packs can be used both hot or cold, and some can be worn around the waist whereas others are more like a large blanket. We’ve looked at many of the top selling ice packs suitable for back pain to bring you five of, in our opinion, the best ice packs for back pain you can buy today.

Our Choice

We have looked at a variety of the best ice packs for back pain, any one of which could be the perfect fit for different people. It’s always recommended when looking for the best ice pack to find one that covers the whole back and will remain cold for at least 30 minutes. Flexibility and ability to mold to the contours of your body will mean a more effective therapy and faster recovery time, something we all yearn for.

For the extra coldness, greater flexibility and heavy duty construction that will stand up to repeated use without messy leakage, the Chattanooga ColPac Reusable Gel Ice Pack range is, in our opinion, the best ice pack for back use.

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