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Is Heat Or Cold Better For Nerve Pain

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How To Relieve A Pinched Nerve

Should I use Ice, Heat or Both for Sciatica Pain? | Hot vs Cold Therapy for Sciatica Pain

If you think your pain is due to a pinched nerve, there are some things you can do right away to relieve pressure and reduce pain.

While self-treatment can temporarily relieve pinched nerve pain, it does not get at the underlying cause. To eliminate pain at its source, you should seek professional help. A chiropractor or physical therapist can help identify the source of your pinched nerve pain and provide treatment to eliminate it for good.

Risks Of Heat Therapy

Heat therapy should utilize warm temperatures instead of hot ones. If you use heat thats too hot, you can burn the skin. If you have an infection and use heat therapy, there is a chance that the heat therapy could increase the risk of the infection spreading. Heat applied directly to a local area, like with heating packs, should not be used for more than 20 minutes at a time.

If you experience increased swelling, stop the treatment immediately.

If heat therapy hasnt helped lessen any pain or discomfort after a week, or the pain increases within a few days, make an appointment to see your doctor.

When To Use Ice And When To Use Heat For Aches And Pains

No matter what your fitness level, everyone deals with aches and pains from time to time. From the rec-league warriors and high school athletes to fitness newbies, being active can come with aches, pains and sometimes injuries.

When you find yourself in pain, or groaning a little more than normal when you stand up, it can be a tough to know whether to use ice or to apply heat to get some relief. Heres some advice on what to do the next time you find yourself feeling a twinge.

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Which Is Better: Heat Or Ice For A Pinched Nerve

By Dr. Brent Wells, DC

Youve probably used heat or ice before on a sprain or a sore muscle. But, if you have a pinched nerve, you know its a different feeling than a sprain or strain. So, you may be wondering which is better for a pinched nerve, heat or ice?

The answer is both. Using heat and ice for a pinched nerve is a good way to reduce swelling, promote fresh blood flow to the area, and relax the surrounding muscles that may be contributing to the pinched nerve. The trick is knowing when to use ice and when to use heat.

Heading to the chiropractor can help a pinched nerve, but many people like to use home remedies if the pain isnt too bad. And the simplest home remedies are all about heat and ice. So, read on to discover how to use heat and ice for a pinched nerve.

Briefly What Is Neuropathy

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Neuropathy is a condition where there is some kind of damage to your peripheral nervous system. This involves an intricate network of nerves that leads from your brain, through your central nervous system in your spinal cord, and throughout all parts of your body.

When the nerve fibers in your body, arms and legs are stimulated, the nerves send a signal back to your brain. If there is damage to any of the nervous in your body, these nerves will misfire and send unpleasant signals to your brain. People with neuropathy report abnormal sensations like burning, tingling, numbness, and even paralysis. In order to alleviate these sensations, people try all kinds of treatments, including heat.

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How To Apply Ice

Most of the time, the easiest way to apply ice to an affected area is to wrap an ice pack in a towel and hold it on the place where youre experiencing pain. Unlike heat therapy, you wont want to leave ice on your skin over any prolonged period. It can really hurt your skin if you do that which isnt going to help ease your pain and discomfort! The general rule of thumb is that you should only apply ice for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. To get the maximum impact from it, you can repeat the application;anywhere from eight to 10 times in a day.

If youre suffering from lower back pain,;one effective way to get some relief;from your pain is to give yourself an ice massage. To do this, youll need water, a paper cup and a freezer. Then, follow these simple steps:

1. Fill the cup with water, then freeze until solid.

2. Peel away the top of the cup about an inch so that the ice is sticking out above whats left of the cup.

3. Lay down on your side. Put a pillow under your head and neck to keep yourself comfortable.

4. Gently massage the painful area with the cup. Move the ice in a circular motion, making sure to focus on one small part of the painful area at a time around six inches and being careful not to massage directly on your spinal column.

5. Repeat this motion for five minutes, then stop.

How Do You Put Ice On A Pinched Nerve

Many people learn as kids that an ice pack is great for reducing pain and swelling. But, if ice is left on the skin for too long, it can cause damage. So, here are some things you can do to safely use ice on your pinched nerve.

  • Keep the ice pack on for no longer than 15 minutes at a time.
  • Take an hour break between ice pack sessions.
  • Place a cloth or towel between the ice pack and the skin.
  • Try an ice massage applying ice directly to the skin of the affected area for 5 minutes at a time in circular, massaging motions.

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What You Should Know

Use an ice pack, a frozen towel, or, even a bag of frozen vegetables – peas and corn work great. Keep the ice on up to 20 minutes at a time, using a towel to avoid direct contact between the ice pack and your skin. Let the area get numb, wait and hour and then you can reapply the cold pack, if necessary. Ice should only be used up to three days following injury. After that, you might want to check-in with your doctor.

Ice application to an acute injury is generally safe. To avoid the risks, limit your usage to 20 minutes at a time and avoid using super cold products. Don’t let yourself fall prey to frostbite due to prolonged application to fingers, toes, ears, nose. And avoid nerve injury, particularly the ulnar nerve on the inside of your elbow and the peroneal nerve on the outside of your knee.

When Your Sciatica Warrants A Visit To Your Doctor

BACK PAIN RELIEF ð¡ï¸? Heat or Cold? (Back Pain Remedies)

Its important to recognize when at-home therapies arent easing your sciatica. If these treatments dont help you, it may be time to see your personal doctor or spine specialist.

People avoid the doctor for a variety of reasons. Maybe youre unsure about how to use your health insurance or you dont have any. Or perhaps you simply dont like visiting the doctor and prefer an ignorance-is-bliss approach.

Whatever the reason, some sciatica symptoms truly warrant medical attention. In rare cases, delaying medical care could lead to or cause permanent nerve damage.

If you experience any of the following, please see your doctor as soon as possible:

  • You have severe pain in your low back and legs
  • You experience nerve-related symptoms, such as weakness, numbness, tingling, or electric shock-like pain
  • Your pain doesnt improve after 2 weeks
  • Your pain gets worse, even when using at-home therapies
  • You have loss of bowel and/or bladder control

Easing the extreme pain of sciatica doesnt always require an extreme treatment approach. Relieving sciatic nerve pain at home with gentle exercise, ice and heat therapy, proper posture, and medication may go along way to speed your recovery. But the most important thing you can do for your low back and leg pain is to take it seriouslyalways call your doctor if you arent experiencing relief.

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How Long Does Sciatica Last

With proper treatment, most sciatica cases resolve within 4 to 8 weeks. However, some symptoms, such as tingling, may take slightly longer to subside. If your sciatica pain lasts longer than 8 weeks, it is considered chronicit may require lifestyle changes or the attention of a specialist to appropriately manage recurring episodes.

Types Of Warm Packs Or Pads

Warm towel

  • Dampen a towel with warm water.

  • Put on the affected area to ease muscle spasm.

  • Heating pad

    Be sure to protect any type of heating pad device from coming in directcontact with the skin. Precautions should be taken to avoid burns,especially if you have nerve damage, such as from diabetes or other healthproblems.

    When muscles work, chemical byproducts are made that need to be eliminated.When exercise is very intense, there may not be enough blood flow toeliminate all the chemicals. It is the buildup of chemicals that cause muscle ache. Because the blood supply helpseliminate these chemicals, use heat to help sore muscles after exercise.

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    Heat Or Cold For Chronic Muscle Pain

    If you’ve got throbbing, aching chronic muscle pain, is heat or ice the best solution for your pain management problem? Find out which therapy is most effective for what type of pain.

    There are many different pain management options for most every kind of pain from arthritis to chronic muscle pain. You can try treatments like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation , or medications to ease pain and inflammation. But for two extremely simple pain management methods that you can do on your own, try heat and cold therapy.

    Pain Management: About Heat Therapy

    Heat therapy can be effective at managing chronic muscle pain or the stiff, sore joints affected by arthritis. Heat works by helping your muscles relax, which can alleviate both pain and stiffness. Applying heat to your muscles or joints also encourages circulation and blood flow to the area, which can reduce pain. Boosting blood flow to a painful area can also help to get rid of lactic acid waste buildup, which contributes to pain.

    Here are some different ways to use heat therapy:

    • Apply a heating pad to the sore area; some come with inserts you wet to create a moist heat.
    • Try a heated paraffin wax treatment for sore joints in the hands and feet.
    • Soak in a hot bath or stand under the spray in a hot shower.
    • Apply a heat wrap to your sore area; some are shaped to contour exactly to body parts, such as the knee, back, neck, and even elbows.

    Pain Management: About Cold Therapy

    Here are some ways to use cold therapy:

    Alternating Heat And Cold

    Back Pain Home Remedy: Hot or Cold?

    In some cases, alternating hot and cold therapy has the best outcome. Some neuralgia patients have reported that alternating hot and cold packs work best, so you should experiment to determine what works best for you. If several treatments with one type of therapy do not work, try using the opposite therapy.

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    Can I Use Heat Therapy

    Heat therapy can be very beneficial, especially in cases where people are suffering from chronic pain. It is relatively easy and inexpensive to use and typically provides quick, noticeable results. However, it is important to note that heat therapy can be dangerous if you have a preexisting health condition, such as dermatitis, diabetes, vascular disease, multiple sclerosis or deep vein thrombosis. Individuals with heart disease or hypertension also should avoid it. If you are pregnant, youll want to talk with your doctor before using a sauna or hot tub for heat therapy.

    While we briefly mentioned it before, its also important to note you should avoid using heat therapy if your pain is coming from an open wound or an area of your body thats swollen or bruised. Its just not the right treatment for these issues and could potentially cause problems because there are certain conditions;;such as swelling;;where it may not be good to increase circulation to the affected area.

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    Heat Or Ice For Sciatica Management At Home

    by Cianci Chiropractic Center Staff | Jun 23, 2021 | Sciatica |

    Whether you are suffering from a sudden and recent onset of sciatica as manifested by pain in the lower back and pain radiating down the back of your legs or have chronic sciatica, at-home management of your sciatica can help in reducing your pain and providing much-needed relief.

    Conservative management of sciatica through heat and ice therapy is a common way of relieving your sciatica pain at home. Application of heat or cold for pain relief from sciatica is more effective once you understand how these therapies work to relieve your sciatica pain.

    Heat Or Ice For Lower Back Pain Which Is Best

    Should You Use Ice Or Heat For Back Pain? Hot Or Cold For Pain

    If youve got lower back pain, friends and family have probably given you plenty of advice. Some people will tell you to ice it, while others will say to apply heat. The answer to the question of which is best often depends on the type of pain you are experiencing and who you ask.

    A survey of physical therapists in 2015 found that among 327 physical therapists participating in the study, the percentage of those using heat or ice for pain ranged from 47.7 percent to 66.8 percent. The range varied, depending on whether the PTs were treating the patients musculoskeletal pain in an inpatient or outpatient setting. Even so, there is only limited research evaluating the effectiveness of these treatments.

    The therapists were also asked about which treatment to recommend for acute back pain that occurs after an injury, muscle strain, or overexertion. While there is no consensus, in general, experts say to apply cold therapy in the first day or so after the injury. After the swelling and inflammation have diminished, switching to heat therapy may be helpful.

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    When To Chill And When To Heat

    Many of these conditions are treatable with medication as prescribed by your health care provider. And, for other situations, over-the-counter pain relievers may be enough to help. But you still may need further relief so here are a few tips to keep in mind when deciding between ice or heat for aching muscles and joints.;

    Reminder: if any of these conditions are new or dont resolve quickly, be sure to contact your health care provider for more treatment options.

    Acute injuries

    First of all, do not use heat on acute injuries because that extra heat can increase inflammation and delay proper healing.;

    When dealing with injuries, its best to predominantly choose ice if the injury is acute . The chill constricts blood vessels which numbs pain, relieves inflammation and limits bruising.

    If youre sensitive to cold then ice may initially seem uncomfortable or even painful to apply. Heat can feel warm, cozy and be tempting to toss on an injury, says primary care sports medicine physician Anne Rex, DO. But dont be fooled! Ice wins to shut down swelling, inflammation and pain early on where heat may actually make an injury worse.

    If youre dealing with lingering injuries then its okay to use heat. The increased blood flow relaxes tight muscles and relieves aching joints. This is especially helpful to improve range of motion on a joint that maybe isnt moving as well.;


    Gout flare-ups


    Muscle strains and sprains



    Ice Your Back Immediately After Exercise To Reduce Muscle Soreness

    Muscle soreness and back pain can occur from extensive workouts, trying a new type of work out, or even from excessive walking. Soreness from these activities may start on the first day but typically continues to peak until the third day.4 This phenomenon is called delayed onset muscle soreness and can cause significant inflammation and pain in your back.

    When you have back pain from exercise or exertion, use cold therapy immediately after the activity to reduce tissue damage, inflammation, and pain. After a 24-hour period, use heat therapy to encourage tissue healing.4

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    How To Apply Cold Therapy

    Cold treatments are most effective when applied to the back of the pelvis where your sciatic nerve is located. Cold therapy can be practiced using ice packs, frozen gel packs, or even frozen vegetable bags. These treatments should be used three times a day for 15 to 20 minutes.

    Patients with wide areas of pain, such as the back, find ice massage to be especially beneficial. Ice massage can be done at home. Simply freeze water in a paper cup, then cut off the top half of the cup to uncover the ice. Next, have a partner rub the ice in circular motions on painful areas for a few minutes or until it becomes numb.

    After a few days, a majority of your pain and inflammation should subside and you can begin heat treatment.

    What Should You Do If You Develop An Ankle Or Foot Injury

    Is ice or heat better for a pinched nerve?

    Fortunately, most cases of ankle and foot injuries are mild to moderate and do not require heroic measures or extensive medical management. Warm or/ and cold therapy is often the best and the only solution needed to manage the discomfort along with rest and relaxation.;But is it really a good idea to use cold or heat therapy to manage pain and discomfort instead of over-the-counter analgesics? Most importantly; when to use heat and what are some situations when you should avoid cold therapy?

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