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Float Therapy for Back Pain: Treating Pain with Floatation Therapy

Millions of people in the US struggle with chronic back pain each year. In fact, eight out of ten adults will experience some form of back pain during their lives.

Whether acute or chronic, back pain can be debilitating.  It’s one of the most common kinds of pain that causes people to miss work or seek medical attention.

Conventional treatments for back pain include prescription drugs, chiropractic care or invasive surgery. But these time-consuming pain interventions often don’t bring complete relief. Because of this, more people are searching for alternative options to help alleviate their pain.

Float therapy is a holistic, drug-free option for managing a variety of health conditions, including back pain. Used in conjunction with other treatment methods, float therapy can provide the relief your aching back desperately needs.

Check out this guide to learn how floatation can get your pain back in check so you can live a fuller life.

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Can floating help with back pain?

Float therapy, which is also called REST (restricted environmental stimulation therapy), is incredibly beneficial for easing different types of back pain. During a float, patients float in water saturated with Epsom salt.

The highly concentrated salt water, which Krysus heats to skin temperature, enables the patient to effortlessly float with gravity-defying sensations that helps alleviate pain.

Back pain is particularly responsive to floating because the salt water allows you to feel fully supported — there’s no weight or pressure on your back.

Floating gives your back a break from gravity and pain, allowing your spine to decompress naturally and your muscles to fully relax. Relaxing your muscles improves blood circulation, which can reduce inflammation and encourage healing throughout the body. Plus, the minerals in Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) are known for their therapeutic benefits, which can help reduce muscle inflammation even more.

During your float, you’ll relax in a uniquely peaceful, stimulus-free environment. The float pod is also known as an isolation cabin or sensory deprivation tank because the air and water are heated to skin temperature, so you can’t easily distinguish your body from your surroundings. As you settle into your float, sound and light gradually diminish, allowing you to fall into a state of deep relaxation.

Thanks in part to the tranquil environment, float therapy sessions can calm the nervous system and decrease the production of the stress hormone cortisol. By reducing excess cortisol, the body becomes less stressed and more able to focus on the healing process.

In our fast-paced world, there are few places where you can get a restorative, healing experience like the kind offered through floating.

This study suggests that float therapy has a direct and positive effect on reducing chronic back pain. While patients shouldn’t view float therapy as a panacea, a float can relieve a variety of back pain symptoms.

What types of chronic pain can float therapy manage?

Chronic pain can be debilitating, and many people feel discouraged by their lack of treatment options. But in addition to alleviating upper and lower back pain, float therapy can help manage the symptoms of several other sources of chronic pain. People with arthritis, fibromyalgia, and sciatica benefit from float therapy, too.

Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints and causes pain, stiffness, and swelling. Float therapy can help people suffering from several types of arthritis, including rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.

The float tank creates the sensation of a zero-gravity environment, which can relieve the strain and stress on aching, arthritic joints. Plus, the highly concentrated Epsom salt water can boost magnesium levels in the body, which helps protect muscles, bones, and connective tissue. Relaxing and floating in the tranquil environment of a flotation tank can also alleviate the stress that makes arthritis symptoms worse.

Fibromyalgia 

Fibromyalgia is a disorder that affects muscles and connective tissues. Symptoms vary from person to person, but it can cause widespread pain, chronic fatigue, insomnia, and cognitive issues. Fibromyalgia goes beyond typical pain disorders; it’s a complex disease that affects every aspect of your life.

People who suffer from chronic fibromyalgia pain are more likely to experience high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Some people also experience “fibro fog,” which impairs cognitive function.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of effective fibromyalgia treatments. Most medical treatment plans include painkillers, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants. The lack of compelling treatments is leading more people to try float therapy for fibromyalgia. 

Float therapy supports both physical and mental relief, reducing your stress and pain levels for better fibro management. It won’t cure fibromyalgia, but float therapy works in tandem with your medical treatment plan to support relaxation and healing.

While researchers don’t fully understand the root of fibromyalgia pain, flotation therapy can help mitigate symptoms. Some of the potential benefits of float therapy for fibromyalgia include:

  • Promoting sleep to alleviate fatigue and insomnia
  • Lowering stress response, which can decrease pain sensitivity
  • Increasing the brain’s production of the feel-good chemical dopamine
  • Relaxing muscles that can tense up as a pain response

Float therapy can’t cure fibromyalgia, but many patients embrace float therapy as a sanctuary from daily pain. The low-sensory environment gives you a break from the overwhelming stimuli and stress of the world, which can make your symptoms worse. If you have an overactive flight-or-fight response, floating will lower the levels of stress hormones in your body and could even dull the pain.

Regular float therapy sessions are a great addition to managing fibromyalgia symptoms. Even a once-weekly float can offer a fantastic reprieve for someone struggling with daily pain and stress.

Herniated Discs 

Herniated discs happen when the soft, gel-like center of a spinal disc pushes through its casing. Not everyone experiences symptoms, but if you do, a disc herniation can be debilitating. Herniated discs irritate nearby nerves, which can cause numbness, pain, or weakness in your arms or legs. 

Discs can slip in nearly any direction, but they happen most often in the lumbar spine (lower back) and cervical spine (neck). You’ll likely feel pain near the herniated disc, but depending on the herniation, you could feel pain in your arms, legs, hands, or feet.

It’s tough healing disc herniations, which is why more people are trying float tanks for herniated discs. Float therapy tanks have a high concentration of Epsom salt that makes you completely buoyant. It’s the closest thing to experiencing zero gravity, which significantly reduces the strain on herniated discs.

Float therapy for herniated discs gives you a much-needed break from gravity’s pressure on your spine. Your back muscles relax, and the spine decompresses. Floating also reduces pain by relieving pressure on herniated discs and nerves, which can improve blood circulation and reduce inflammation in your back.

But that’s just one side of the equation. Herniated discs can seriously affect your quality of life. Being in constant pain has a detrimental effect on your mental health, too. It isn’t unusual for people with herniated discs to feel anxious or depressed. Trying float therapy for herniated discs also encourages a deep state of relaxation, which can lead to the release of endorphins. These natural painkillers provide physical and mental relief from disc herniations.

Neck Pain 

You’ve probably experienced neck pain at some point in your life. Whether you have an injury or have a lot of tension in your neck from working at a keyboard, this type of back pain is pervasive and distracting.

The neck is a complex structure with bones, joints, nerves, and muscles that support your head and facilitate motion. Neck pain can have a surprisingly significant impact on your daily life. You might not be able to sit, exercise, or drive if the pain is bad enough.

Neck pain can manifest as a sharp pain when you turn your head, as a dull background ache, or as a radiating pain that shoots down your shoulders, arms, and fingers. You might unconsciously adjust how you sit or stand to deal with the pain, which can create a cycle of pain and dysfunction that goes beyond the neck.

That’s why more people are trying float tanks for neck pain. Floats offer an escape from the chronic pain cycle by creating a feeling of weightlessness. They take the burden off of your neck and allow the muscles to relax fully. This relaxation response can reduce muscle spasms and ease tension in your neck and shoulders.

Float therapy for neck pain also reduces external stimuli. Without light, sound, and touch, you can achieve a meditative state that supports your body’s natural healing process. Float therapy can even support proper posture, which could help alleviate chronic neck pain with regular sessions.

Sciatica 

Sciatica is pain from an injury or irritation to the sciatic nerve, which is the longest and largest nerve in the body. The term “sciatica” commonly describes any pain that originates in the lower back or buttocks and radiates down the leg. The pain can range from mild to severe and cause temporary muscle weakness, numbness, or an uncomfortable pins and needle type of sensation.

For many people, sciatic pain gets worse when they sit or drive. While the exact cause of sciatic pain varies, floatation therapy helps relieve pain, whether you feel pain lower in your legs or you feel pain upper in your back.

Some of the potential benefits of floatation therapy for sciatica include:

  • Releasing pressure from the irritated or injured nerve
  • Temporarily correcting the body’s alignment
  • Relaxing the muscles surrounding the sciatic nerve.

Minimize back pain: Book a floating session online now

Even though back pain is exceedingly common in American adults, you don’t have to suffer. Float therapy can help you achieve the rest and relaxation your body craves.

While flotation won’t cure back pain by itself, it can be an essential ingredient to a holistic approach to healing. At Krysus HP, patients with acute injury or persistent back pain experience the soothing benefits of float therapy in our private, state-of-the-art floatation pods.

Book a session today and float your way toward the healthy lifestyle you deserve.