Warmth helps against back pain

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Radon heat therapy also uses low-dose radon

A look at the thermometer shows that winter is just around the corner. When the days get shorter, the wind blows outside and the temperatures are below freezing, many people feel increasing pulling or stinging pain in the cross. For younger, otherwise healthy people, this is mostly due to a lack of exercise in the winter months - who wants to go for a jog when it is muddy and cold outside. But people who suffer from the consequences of herniated discs, lumbago, sciatica or nerve constrictions all year round usually increase their pain medication dose considerably in winter. Many of them are entitled to a cure that can bring pain relief, especially in winter. Tunnel therapy is an option. The so-called radon heat therapy in the Gasteiner Heilstollen in Austria works well due to its heat component, especially for back pain patients.

Cures underground begin with a tunnel train in which the patient, depending on the illness, is taken to different therapy stations in the mountain, lying down or sitting, and spending the approximately one-hour session lying down. "Temperatures in the gallery are over 37.5 degrees and high humidity up to 100 percent," comments Univ.-Doz. Dr. Bertram HölzI, medical director of the Gastein Heilstollen. "Because the body cannot sweat enough due to the high humidity, the tropical climate leads to the so-called hyperthermia effect - a kind of desired therapeutic fever." Under these conditions, aching muscles relax. In addition, the noble gas radon escapes from the mountain rock in small quantities, which spa guests absorb via the air and skin. Due to its high therapeutic effectiveness in various clinical pictures, radon has been used as a remedy in low doses for many 100 years. “Radon releases mild alpha rays in the body. These stimulate the body's own cell repair mechanisms and reduce the activity of inflammatory cells and pain relievers, ”explains Dr. Hölzl. During the two- to three-week course, patients usually visit the healing tunnel six to twelve times for an hour. The noticeable pain relief does not always start immediately, but sometimes with a delay of a few weeks. It lasts for about 9 months. Many patients go to the cure once or twice a year and often no longer need tablets in the meantime - and freedom from pain is not only a blessing in winter.

The cure is recognized by health insurance companies and there are many direct billing contracts. Those who take the course as self-payers must expect around EUR 60 per unit. (pm)

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