Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Is Heat Or Ice Better For Nerve Pain

Don't Miss

Tips To Combine Heat And Cold Therapy In Your Daily Routine

Do You Put Ice Or Heat On a Pinched Nerve? – Chiropractor Hickory, NC

Here are a few tips to help you incorporate the use of heat and/or cold therapy in your everyday activities:

  • Keep a heat patch near your beduse it first thing in the morning to warm up your muscles if you wake up with an achy or stiff back
  • Apply a cold patch before bed if you have exercised or exerted your back
  • Use heat therapy before sleeping and after waking up if you have chronic back pain
  • Carry a couple of self-activating heat patches and ice packs in your bag or car to use while driving or at work

You are more likely to benefit from heat and cold therapy when you make these treatments a part of your daily routine.

Does A Heating Pad Help With Nerve Pain

The combination of hot and cold increases the circulation of fresh blood to the area, which may help relieve pain. Hold an ice pack over the affected area for about 15 minutes at a time, three times a day to help reduce inflammation. Heat pads can be applied for a longer period, up to 1 hour, three times a day.

Heat Or Ice Therapies Are Convenient Economic Ways To Manage At

Heat and ice therapy both can provide significant relief from sciatica pain and help improve mobility and range of motion. Both therapies are free from side-effect and can be used conveniently at home to manage your sciatica.

Have questions about how to at-home manage your sciatica pain? Reach out to Cianci Chiropractic for your consultation today!

You May Like: Ways To Sprain Your Wrist

If You Answered With Stiffness In The Back

Heat, heat and more heat. Honestly, the best results Ive seen come when someone has applied heat to the back to allow better movement and less of that horrible rod-up-your-back sensation.

For best effects, use this method:

  • Start sitting up in a chair
  • Take a hot water bottle
  • Slip it behind your back and apply it to the stiffest area
  • Keep it there for 15 minutes, then remove
  • Allow the skin to cool to a natural temperature, then repeat the process
  • Always look out for any signs of heat burn on your skin and remove immediately if you see or feel anything.

Benefits Of Using Both Cold And Heat Therapy

Is ice or heat better for a pinched nerve?

With conservative treatment, sciatica typically resolves on its own. If severe sciatica pain persists, we suggest visiting your physical therapist who will more than likely supply you with stretches and low-impact exercises to maintain proper posture, build muscle strength, and increase flexibility. When used in tandem, cold and heat therapy can optimize this treatment.

Many medical professionals recommend using heat before a stretching routine or lightweight exercise during nerve, muscle, or joint injuries. This will loosen and prepare your muscles to strengthen as well as improve flexibility. After your workout,;we recommend switching to cold therapy to treat any residual pain or swelling.

Recommended Reading: How To Know If Your Wrist Is Sprained

Where To Apply Heat Or Ice Packs

Place your ice or cold pack in the lower back area over the pelvic region to help relieve your sciatica. This is the region where your sciatic nerve and nerve roots originate. Application of heat or ice therapy in this region can help reduce inflammation and compression to the sciatic nerve providing much-needed pain relief from your sciatica

Pain From Sciatica Can Range From Mild To Intense

Dear Mayo Clinic:

I’ve had sciatica on-and-off for weeks, but for the past few days it has been so bad that I’m uncomfortable all of the time. It feels best when walking, but when I stop or sit down the pain is almost unbearable. My doctor says physical therapy is the only way to treat it. Are there no other options?

Answer:Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back to the buttock and down the back of each leg. The lower lumbosacral nerve roots make up the sciatic nerve which is the longest nerve in the body.

Although many people think of sciatica as a condition, it is actually a collection of symptoms. Most people with sciatica will experience pain more in their lower extremity than in their back. The pain will often extend below the knee and into the foot and, in many cases, it is accompanied by numbness or tingling. On occasion, patients will experience muscle weakness in the affected leg.

For some, sciatica pain may be just a mild ache; for others, it can be quite intense. Some people experience a sharp burning sensation and may feel a jolt like an electric shock. Often, the pain intensifies when sitting for long periods. Some patients lose bladder or bowel control, a sign of cauda equina syndrome, which is rare but serious and requires immediate medical care. See your doctor immediately if your sciatica is accompanied by these symptoms.

Don’t Miss: How To Relief From Wrist Joint Pain

Extended Use Of Heat Or Ice

For ongoing sciatica pain conditions, heat and ice can be used in combination for maximum effectiveness.

Ice should be used first and left applied for 15 to 20 minutes. It is best to wait for 30 to 60 minutes, then apply heat for 30 to 45 minutes. This double dose of ice and heat will reduce pain and increase circulation, providing lasting relief for many patients.

This treatment can be repeated as necessary and can be used in the comfort of your own home, without cost or risk.

Efficacy of Heat or Ice for Sciatica

Ice can be applied using simple ice cubes in a bag, then wrapped in a towel. Never apply ice directly to the skin. Ice can also be applied utilizing a commercial cold pack which can be stored in the freezer until it is needed. These soft gel packs are much more comfortable and versatile than traditional ice. There are also chemical cold packs for travel use, which do not need to be frozen and can be stored anywhere.

Heat is most effective when applied with moisture. Wet heat, such as hot towels or hot water bags, is more efficient than a heating pad or other source of dry heat. Even better is a hot bath or shower to really allow the temperature to have the maximum effect. Hot tubs can be an ideal back pain treatment if you have one available for regular use.

Always be sure that heat is not too hot to use. You want to cure your pain, not create burns. Please, use common sense.

Tips on Using Heat or Ice Therapy at Home

Heat Or Ice For Lower Back Pain Which Is Best

What’s Better For Pain? Heat or Ice? – Dr Mandell

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.

Recommended Reading: Does Alcohol Poisoning Cause Stomach Pain

Does Carpal Tunnel Go Away On Its Own

Can carpal tunnel go away on its own? Once carpal tunnel pain becomes apparent, it is unlikely to resolve on its own without taking any action. However, this does not necessarily mean surgery is the only option at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta. In early or mild cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, Dr.

Neck Pain From Sleeping Is Manageable

Neck pain from sleeping can be your worst nightmare in the morning. This can be caused by sleeping on your stomach, sleeping with your hand placed on the forehead, or having pillow problems like stiff or thick pillows cramping your comfort level during sleep.

Luckily, sleep posture matters. Try sleeping on your back or side, or sleep without a pillow. Sleeping without a pillow is known to benefit the neck, spine, and face. At the same time, it might also improve the quality of your sleep.

Other ways to relieve neck pain include neck exercises, showers or baths, applying heat or cold, acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic care, and an anti-inflammatory diet.

Also Read :

You May Like: Does Sciatica Cause Hip Pain

Recommended Reading: How To Treat Leg Pain Caused By Sciatica

When To Use Ice For Lower Back Pain

In most instances, you should use ice on your back for the first 24 to 72 hours following an injury. Cold therapy helps minimize swelling and inflammation. This, in turn, eases your pain. Cold therapy may also decrease tissue damage.

Whether you use an ice pack, a frozen towel or even a bag of frozen vegetables, place a cloth between your skin and the source of cold to prevent ice burn. Cold therapy should be applied for no more than 20 minutes at a time, but it can safely be applied up to 10 times in a 24-hour period.

Heat Vs Cold For Chronic Pain

Pin on fibro shtuuuuff

If you suffer from chronic lower back pain, the decision between when you use heat vs. when to use cold isnt quite as clear cut. For most people, obtaining effective relief requires finding a balance between using both heat and cold. If you do exercises to strengthen your back, you may find that applying heat first helps warm up your muscles and get through your workout with ease. Cold works to ease inflammation and pain following a workout.

Chronic lower back pain should be assessed by a medical professional. If you suffer from lower back pain, your Denver physical therapist can help you determine the best course of treatment. To learn more, contact Denver Physical Medicine today.

  • Tuesday – Friday

Recommended Reading: Does Melatonin Cause Stomach Pain

Treating Pain With Heat And Cold

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Heres our process.


We treat everything from arthritis to pulled muscles to inflammation with ice packs or heating pads. Treating pain with hot and cold can be extremely effective for a number of different conditions and injuries, and easily affordable. The tricky part is knowing what situations calls for hot, and which calls for cold. Sometimes a single treatment will even include both.

As a general rule of thumb, use ice for acute injuries or pain, along with inflammation and swelling. Use heat for muscle pain or stiffness.

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.

Read Also: How To Relieve Sciatic Pain In Hip And Leg

How Does Ice Work

First, we need to understand how each of these treatment modalities work. Lets begin with ice.

Ice has long been thought of as natures natural pain killer. It has powerful effects on the human body when applied to the skin, some of which we have only recently begun to understand.

Ice has been used for many years as a form of pain relief, and there are accounts of ice being used to treat injuries in the earliest days of mankind.

Ice works through a couple of mechanisms:

  • Ice, when applied to the skin, produces an effect called vasoconstriction in the blood vessels which basically means the small vessels narrow and shut down blood flow to that area. Thats one of the reasons ice is so useful for swelling, such as after an ankle sprain.
  • Ice also has an effect on the nerves around the area, dampening their signals which means we feel naturally less pain with an injury.
  • Ice also encourages a flushing out of the potentially harmful chemicals around an injury site and reduces inflammation.

How Is It Diagnosed

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

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and medical history and examine you. Tests may include:

  • X-rays
  • Blood tests
  • Nerve conduction studies, which use small wires that are taped to your skin to send mild electric signals and check how well your nerves work to carry signals to your muscles

Your healthcare provider may refer you to a specialist for some tests.

Don’t Miss: How To Tell If Your Wrist Is Broken Or Sprained

What Is Better For Sciatica Heat Or Cold Therapy

September 11, 2020//;;by;Terry Cralle//;;

Most people experience back pain at least once in their lifetime, but sciatica is literally a pain in the buttocks. Sciatica is a condition where due to a slipped or herniated disc, the sciatic nerve is pinched or irritated, which results in radiating pain. The pain appears in the lower back, moves to the buttocks, down the legs towards the feet. This condition can be truly disruptive and affect ones normal daily life.

Luckily, sciatica goes away quite quickly. Even if it doesnt go away, it can be treated with medicine or specialized massage therapy and exercises. It seems that also heat or cold therapies work as well with sciatica pain. But, which is better? Lets find out!

Is It Okay To Put Heat On A Pinched Nerve

Overall, its okay to put heat on a pinched nerve. However, there are times when ice is best, and other times when heat is most beneficial.

The general rule of thumb for a pinched nerve is to use heat only after youve managed to get the pain to subside a little bit. When the pain first flares up, use ice or cold packs before you use heat. And dont apply heat to the area directly after applying ice. Youll want to wait 30 minutes to an hour at least.

For the best results, keep the heat on the affected area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Take a minimum 30-minute break between sessions. If you find that its helping, you can apply moderate heat to an area for up to an hour or more. Extended heat therapy is most beneficial for more severe pain from a pinched nerve. Its almost like spending time in a hot tub you can do it safely if its not too hot.

Don’t Miss: What Helps Relieve Knee Pain

The Competition: Common Pain Meds

Over-the-counter pain medications19 are probably the only self-prescribed treatment for pain and fresh injury more common than ice/heat, but their risks and benefits could not be more different. They are quite safe in moderation, but there are serious concerns most people are unaware of,20 and the best argument in favour of ice may be the relatively unknown problems with these drugs.

All types of these medications are roughly equally effective for acute injury pain,21 but their benefits may vary for other problems .

Dont take any pain killer chronically risks go up with exposure. acetaminophen is good for fever and pain, and is one of the safest of all drugs at recommended dosages, but its surprisingly easy to take too much, which can badly hurt livers22 and it doesnt work well for musculoskeletal pain. The NSAIDs might be a better bet: they reduce inflammation as well as pain and fever, but at any dose they can cause heart attacks and strokes and they are gut burners . Aspirin is usually best for joint and muscle pain, but its the most gut-burning of them all. Voltaren Gel: Does It Work? is an ointment NSAID, much safer for treating superficial pain.

When Not To Use Heat Therapy

Should You Use Ice or Heat for Pain

In some cases, heat therapy is not the best option. Muscle strain usually occurs when sensitive muscle tissue tears, so internal bleeding or inflammation is a real possibility with a neck injury. When swelling or pain accompanies a neck injury, ice treatments may prove helpful. Directly after the damage occurs, however, it is still important to seek medical advice first.

When there is a possibility, you could be at risk of internal bleeding or swelling. In this instance, heat treatments can make the problem worse, so avoid at all costs . At least, wait until an MD or Physical Therapist has examined you. Also, prolonged neck injuries or neck injuries that feel swollen, badly strained, or painful may involve internal bleeding. It is always best to check with a medical professional before using heat treatments at home.

If you have already put pain-relieving gel or cream on the problem area, do not apply heat treatment over the top. Pain relief gels like Voltarol or Biofreeze ease soreness by numbing the discomfort. You wont be able to feel how hot your heat treatment is until it is too late. If in doubt, always consult your doctor or physical therapist first before applying any form of heat or cold therapy.

Yet, as an experienced PT, I know how varied the effects can be due to how you use heat therapy.

Home / Blog / Health & Wellness Tips / How to Relieve Shoulder and Neck Pain Without Medication

Read Also: What Passes Through The Carpal Tunnel

More articles

Popular Articles