Can an Infrared Sauna Help Whiplash and Neck Pain?
What we call “whiplash” is actually a collection of injuries caused by a sudden neck distortion that is often caused by swift movement and overextension of the neck’s functional design. While the term “cervical acceleration-deceleration” (CAD) and “whiplash associated disorders” (WAD) attempt to describe the causes and results of whiplash, it remains a phenomenon that is under study by the medical community.
While most instances of whiplash are associated with automobile accidents, the first incidents of whiplash were known as “railway spine” since they most commonly seen in train collisions. While the condition known as whiplash may not be completely understood, research and anecdotal evidence do show that regular use of an infrared sauna benefits whiplash and neck pain sufferers. And, like the story we’re about to share, the healing effects of infrared saunas can impact their users in some fairly profound ways.
One Whiplash Victim’s Story
Recently a user of infrared saunas shared her experience of dealing with neck pain after a car crash during her high school years. Before she discovered infrared saunas, she simply lived with the chronic pain that accompanied her each and every day. After discovering the amazing ability of infrared saunas to reduce pain, inflammation — even in chronic pain cases — she tried it out for herself. To her amazement, by using an infrared sauna each day, the pain caused by whiplash was greatly diminished. Pain no longer became an obstacle in achieving the things she wanted to do. In effect, infrared saunas were able to restore a sense of normalcy to her life.
Easing the Pain with Deep, Penetrating Heat
Heat has long been known for its ability to lessen the stiffness, tenderness, and pain of injuries. So, naturally, medical researchers wanted to know if a deep-penetrating heat source such as infrared saunas could be used to treat those with chronically painful conditions.
Two Chronic Pain Studies Try Infrared Saunas
Researchers at Saxion University of Applied Science in the Netherlands found that infrared sauna treatments did indeed reverse chronically painful conditions, such as neck pain and back pain. Not only did infrared sauna treatments help bring relief to study participants, but a number of unexpected benefits also appeared while conducting the study, most noticeably reduced stress and tension. Today, infrared sauna therapies are recommended to not only individuals suffering from chronic pain, but also those with elevated stress, nervous tension, and depression.
The results of a study conducted by researchers at Nishi Kyushi University in Japan mirrored those reported by Saxion University of Applied Science in the Netherlands. In this clinical study, researchers selected participants who were unable to work due to chronic pain. To gauge the effectiveness of infrared saunas, study participants were split into two groups. While both groups received mixed modality therapies, which included cognitive, behavioral, and exercise components as part of their treatment, only one group received daily infrared sauna treatments.
At the close of the four-week study, participants were asked to rate their level of pain, anger, and depression. While both groups improved, the group that received infrared sauna therapy had noticeably better results. Two years later, the researchers followed up with the study participants to learn about the long-term effects of each course of treatment. After the two years, 77% of participants in the group receiving infrared sauna therapy were able to return to work. Yet, only 50% of participants in the group that did not receive infrared therapy were able to return to work.
Like the study in the Netherlands, the infrared sauna group also reported marked improvements in terms of mood and general wellbeing compared to the control group. Of course, anyone suffering from a chronically painful condition would be overjoyed to find a treatment that worked to relieve their symptoms, but other research studies have shown the effects of the far-infrared rays within infrared saunas also increases levels of circulating endorphins and norepinephrine in the brain.
Infrared Saunas Really Work at Reducing Pain
Infrared sauna technology uses radiant heat from either a super-heated carbon or ceramic source. This produces light waves that fall between the visible light spectrum and microwaves. Traditional saunas heat the air around the user, which is a fairly ineffective way to relieve muscle soreness. Far-infrared rays produce radiant heat that goes several inches below the skin’s surface, which is the exact place whiplash victims and those with chronic pain need relief — in the muscles, ligaments, and soft tissues! Of course, the more you use an infrared sauna the more you will reduce inflammation and regenerate tissue through cellular stimulation.
Bring Home the Relief
Because infrared saunas work best when used on a regular basis, most with chronic pain choose to purchase a unit to use in their own homes. Good Health Saunas® manufactures a lineup featuring some of the best technologies found in residential models of infrared saunas, ensuring long-term relief for those with chronic pain and looking for relief from whiplash-related pain.