What are the Best Ice Packs for Your Back in 2019?

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!).

Product
Details
Our Rating
Our #1 Rated
ColPac

Chattanooga

ColPac

5 out of 5

In the Ice Pack for Back category

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  • Designed especially for heavy clinic use in cold therapy, choose from seven blue vinyl sizes and four black polyurethane...
  • ColPac provides effective relief of pain from cold therapy
  • ColPacs filled with non-toxic silica gel that will remain pliable throughout treatment
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #1 Rated

5 out of 5

In the Ice Pack for Back category


Our #2 Rated
Gel Ice Pack

FlexiKold

Gel Ice Pack

4 out of 5

In the Ice Pack for Back category

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  • 4 SIZES: Standard Large, Oversize, Half size, and Neck Contour gel ice pack
  • COLDER FOR LONGER: Proprietary gel cold pack stays colder for Longer than competing products that use inferior bentonite...
  • MORE FLEXIBLE: The Most Flexible Cold Pack available due to the best professional-grade gel interior that remains pliable...
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #2 Rated

4 out of 5

In the Ice Pack for Back category


Our #3 Rated
Reusable Gel Ice Pack

The Coldest Water

Reusable Gel Ice Pack

4 out of 5

In the Ice Pack for Back category

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  • COLD THERAPY- Specially built for faster recovery, soreness, injuries, sprains
  • INJURIES - Aids in recovery in back aches, pains, soreness
  • PERFECT - For back, ankles, calf, thigh, chest, head injuries
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #3 Rated

4 out of 5

In the Ice Pack for Back category


Our #4 Rated
Gel Ice Pack & Wrap

Koo-Care

Gel Ice Pack & Wrap

4 out of 5

In the Ice Pack for Back category

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  • Includes a nylon non-toxic gel ice pack(11" x 14", 2.2 lbs), a matching wrap and an extension band. Available for both heat...
  • The gel ice pack is large and heavy enough, it can keep cold or hot longer than other smaller packs. The unique design makes...
  • The fabric wrap is very soft, the attached 2 elastic bands and straps make it easy to keep the cold pack in place. The long...
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #4 Rated

4 out of 5

In the Ice Pack for Back category


Our #5 Rated
Pain Relief Wrap

Thermi Paq

Pain Relief Wrap

4 out of 5

In the Ice Pack for Back category

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  • THERMAL CLAY FOR DEEP RELIEF ... Filled with an all-natural Thermal Ceramic compound made from flexible clay. Feel the...
  • DURABLE & REUSABLE FOR LIFE ... Flexible & resilient clay can be used & reused forever, & unlike gel packs, can't spring a...
  • TARGETED PAIN RELIEF ... Mold the clay for a perfect custom fit, adjust the strap to secure. This ice pack for knee works on...
HealthAmbition Stamp

Our #5 Rated

4 out of 5

In the Ice Pack for Back category

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 #1 Rated
Our pick our #1 rated

Chattanooga

ColPac

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

These large flexible ice packs from Chattanooga are especially designed for heavy clinic use and come in a choice of seven blue vinyl or four black polyurethane sizes to fit any part of the body or body shape. ColPacs are filled with a non-toxic silica gel which will remain pliable throughout treatment even when frozen. Up to 30 minutes of cold therapy soothing relief from pain, inflammation and swelling are offered by these latex-free pads, ideal for use on sensitive skins.

The black polyurethane oversize Chattanooga ice pack is one of the largest easily available at 18.5 x 12.5 inches and is ideal for full coverage of most backs. This is one gel pack you will often see in your physiotherapist’s clinic or office. This pack is flexible and gets very, very cold with the manufacturers recommending you put a towel between your skin and the gel pack.

Pros
Pro Wide choice of sizes and materials to suit almost any use—black polyurethane tends to be more durable than the blue vinyl and holds up to more repeated uses.
Pro Non-toxic silica gel offers optimal flexibility to mold to contours of your body.
Pro Large enough to cover the whole back, although smaller sizes are available for easier portability.
Pro Gel is thick enough not to all move to one part of pack, yet malleable enough to give flexibility.
Pro Excellent value for money for clinic grade ice pack—medical professionals sometimes pay much more through official medical supplies companies for same product.
Pro Cold, VERY cold and great for instant relief from acute pain, bruising, swelling and fever.
Pro Full 1-year warranty.
Cons
Con Only a cold therapy pad, can't be used for hot treatment at all.
Con This pack will only stay cold for 30 minutes.
Con No straps for attaching in place.
 
 
 
 

Our #2 Rated
Our pick our #2 rated

FlexiKold

Gel Ice Pack

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

FlexiKold uses a proprietary gel that stays colder for longer than many inferior bentonite formulas, as claims the manufacturer. This product is the preferred choice of many physical therapists and other healthcare specialists as it remains pliable when cold and conforms to your back. An extra thick nylon exterior, with double seams to prevent leaking, make it feel like a thick ice blanket that stays really cold for a long time.

The FlexiKold gel cold packs are designed to last for hundreds of quality cold therapy treatments with the heavy-duty nylon exterior. The special gel remains flexible even at the coldest of freezer temperatures which conforms easily for a more targeted and effective treatment. The pack is available in four different sizes including a contour cold pack and oversize.

Pros
Pro Proprietary gel does stay really cold for much longer—some customers have even recommended putting a towel between you and the ice pack as it does get extremely cold.
Pro Very flexible—it’s the chosen ice pack of many sports therapists for the way it molds to your body, especially the back.
Pro Tough nylon exterior with double seamed edges rather than just bonded like cheaper products.
Pro Non-toxic gel.
Pro Choice of four sizes.
Cons
Con Some reports of leaking, which is just plain disappointing from a product that makes so much about being the ‘professional’s choice’ and designed for hundreds of treatments—the company is very quick to respond to such cases though.
Con Only for cold treatment.
Con Large size means gel can freeze in clumps unless spread out evenly in freezer and requires a large empty freezer space.
Con Can be very rigid when first removed from freezer—may take approximately 10 minutes until you can flex it enough to mold to your injury or pain affected area.
 

Our #3 Rated
Our pick our #3 rated

The Coldest Water

Reusable Gel Ice Pack

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
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  • Quality
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This Coldest Water ice pack was originally designed for professional athletes in more demanding, high performance sports. It’s FDA registered and recommended to all athletes for pain relief and injury in both adults and kids. The super flexible technology molds to your body allowing for a faster recovery by applying coldness throughout.

Coldest Water recommends you use this ice pack for 20 minutes at a time reapplying every couple of hours for the first 48 hours following an injury. It promises faster recovery from sprains, back pain, muscle pains, stiff necks, sciatic pain and can be used for calves, quads or sports injuries too. The gel pack is made of a non-toxic gel filled in a leak-proof flexible plastic pouch and is more durable than most other large packs.

Pros
Pro Large 15.2 x 11.7 inches pad is ideal for use on larger areas of pain like back or shoulders and neck.
Pro Flexibility allows freedom to fold pack for use on other areas like the legs or ankles.
Pro Molds to your body for quicker recovery and more effective icing of the affected area.
Pro Specially designed for athletes—best ice pack for active individuals or sports enthusiasts.
Pro FDA approved and CE certified.
Pro Non-toxic gel.
Pro Durable construction.
Cons
Con Could stay cold for longer—2 hours in the freezer only allows for 20 minutes application time before it starts getting warm again.
Con Can ‘sweat’ when first out of freezer dropping frost particles on to skin and maybe even furniture.
Con Three chambers to the pack stop it conforming to some bodies as much as stated.
Con Definitely won’t wrap around smaller joints—one user even said it was as flexible as cardboard!
 
 
 

Our #4 Rated
Our pick our #4 rated

Koo-Care

Gel Ice Pack & Wrap

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
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    Our rating

The unique design of this gel ice pack distributes the gel evenly and ensures it doesn’t clump like many other large cold packs. The pack includes a non-toxic gel ice pack, matching wrap and extension band which extends from 29.5 to 43.3 inches to fit people of many different shapes. The gel pack is reusable and can be used either hot or cold, from the microwave or the freezer.

A soft fabric wrap is made of polyester with two elastic bands and straps to keep the cold pack in place. The gel is soft and flexible at zero degrees Celsius for a comfortable contoured fit and optimal cold treatment of pains or injuries. The pack also comes with CE and FDA approvals and is a recommended product for instant pain relief that can last up to 30 minutes for a soothing experience.

Pros
Pro Soft fabric strap is comfortable on skin.
Pro Velcro fastenings for hands-free operation and comes with extra large extension strap to fit most figures.
Pro Flexible even when frozen.
Pro Gets incredibly cold.
Pro Won’t clump.
Pro Can be used both hot and cold.
Cons
Con Won’t cover the whole back.
Con Many users report it doesn’t stay as cold for as long as stated—some reported it only lasting 20 minutes on average.
Con Very large but also very heavy, often moves out of place when being worn.
Con Velcro strips wear out very quickly due to extra weight.
Con Can be stiff when first taken out of freezer.
 

Our #5 Rated
Our pick our #5 rated

Thermi Paq

Pain Relief Wrap

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
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  • Quality
    Our rating

This ice pack from Thermipaq is a clay ice pack and has the advantages of generally retaining the cold for longer with none of the harmful chemicals found in some gel-based packs. If you want an ice pack that’s going to last longer, this pack can stay frozen for 1 to 2 hours but may not offer the flexibility of other packs. Designed by a former NASA engineer, the Thermipaq uses radiant energy that gives a more even cold therapy over a longer period of time without the short-term intensity of other cold packs.

A latex-free, 100 percent cotton covers the large ice pack and feels softer on your skin. It’s reusable with the cover being machine washable and you can even take the cover off for colder temperatures if needed. If you haven’t used a clay ice pack before it can take some getting used to. The clay takes a couple of minutes to loosen up when first removed from the freezer and won’t contour your body as well as many gel-based or liquid-filled packs.

Pros
Pro 100 percent cotton is comfortable to skin and latex free to avoid allergies.
Pro Reusable, easy to clean cover.
Pro Clay can stay cold for longer—ideal for extended treatment of back pain.
Pro Large enough to cover most painful areas—twin packs are available if you need more coverage.
Pro No risk of harmful chemicals if pack should split (it does happen unfortunately!).
Pro Hook and loop straps so you can wear it as you walk round.
Cons
Con Can only be used cold—Thermipaq does make hot/cold packs but the effects don’t tend to last as long.
Con Clay doesn’t get as cold as some gel based packs, and some users argue although it stays cold, after a while it’s not that icy at all.
Con Won’t conform to your body as well as gel and may be uncomfortable to wear for longer periods.
 
 
 

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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