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Doctor insights on: Sciatica Heat Or Ice

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Should I use ice or heat for sciatica, after a week?

Should I use ice or heat for sciatica, after a week?

Either: You can try ice and heat or either. It depends on how each one makes you feel. Some people like doing heat applications for 10 minutes and then putting ice for about 10 minutes. While others like just heat or ice.

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Dr. Gregory Moneta
2,077 Doctors shared insights

Low Back Pain (Definition)

Low back pain is pain that occurs in the back above the buttock area and below the ribs. Low back pain can be sharp, dull, intermittent or constant. Pain can be at rest or associated with activity. Back pain can also be accompanied with pain that shoots or radiates down into the lower extremities or legs which is frequently ...Read more


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What are the best stretches for sciatica? Pain goes from tailbone through left buttocks down leg into left ankle. Is heat or ice better?

What are the best stretches for sciatica? Pain goes from tailbone through left buttocks down leg into left ankle. Is heat or ice better?

Core Exercises: Typically core strengthening exercises are the best to help relieve pressure and forces in the spine. I would try and google some or look them up on youtube to see descriptions. If you can do them yourself, wonderful otherwise ask your doctor to get a referral to a good physical therapist for further assistance. Ice recommended for 1st 48 hrs, then ice or heat is fine.

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Is heat or ice better for low back pain? Especially if there is a lumbar disk herniated? What are the symptoms of having a lumbar disk herniated?

Is heat or ice better for low back pain? Especially if there is a lumbar disk herniated? What are the symptoms of having a lumbar disk herniated?

Both: Both can help but it may differ from pt to pt sometimes it helps to go back and forth between heat and cold / if you feel one is much more helpful for you then stick with that / use apiece of swim noodle behind the small of your back while sitting as a "lumbar roll" I have found this to help many people including me over the years hope you feel better.

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Can I use moist heating pad to manage sciatica?

Can I use moist heating pad to manage sciatica?

Yes: The sciatic nerve can be irritated because of a herniated disc, arthritis that results in tightening of the spinal canal, falls, injuries, or other rare reasons (tumors, infections). Anti-inflammatory medications, alternating heat/cold therapy, physical therapy (especially with traction) can be helpful to relieve sciatic pain.

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I have sciatica and have been literally sitting on a heating pad for hours at a time. Could this be making the pain worse?

I have sciatica and have been literally sitting on a heating pad for hours at a time. Could this be making the pain worse?

No, but watch burns: Sciatica can be treated. If your heat pad doesn't resolve this (likely) see a pain or PMR doc for, work up of cause. Then treatments including home stretching. Prolonged use of high heat can burn tissues, causing them to discolor. This should be avoided. I n reality the sciatic nerve is over 5 inches deep, and the heat just doesn't get down that far

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I have lower back pain just pressing on my back brings pain is this sciatica? Heat and cold therapy doesn't always work.

I have lower back pain just pressing on my back brings pain is this sciatica? Heat and cold therapy doesn't always work.

Muscle Spasm: Trigger points are bands of taut muscle areas that hurt when pressed upon and radiate to other areas than just the painful spot that is pressed upon. Most times stretching and massage of that area relieves these spots, however sometime they continue and need to be addressed by your doctor.

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Calf is achey. History of sciatica. The arch of foot seems to be collapsing with weigh. A little tender to touch. No swelling, heat, or redness. Cause?

Calf is achey. History of sciatica. The arch of foot seems to be collapsing with weigh. A little tender to touch. No swelling, heat, or redness. Cause?

Its All Related: Back is related to how the arch fell in your foot resulting in knee joints changing position that results in hip issues then translating to stress in your spine resulting in pieced nerves causing your sciatica. That's said, likely improving your arch with support/orthotic will help reduce the back pain. Remember this will not happen overnight but will take time and your feet will hurt initially.

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Mild low back pain felt from fall/ will heating pad help?

Mild low back pain felt from fall/ will heating pad help?

Maybe: Heat is good for muscle tightness and spasm. Ice best for soreness and tenderness from inflammation. If it hurts to touch, ice it first, then put the heat on. Each one for only 15-20 min. Both can cause burns if used too long per session. Can repeat process several times/day. If the symptoms don't improve within a week, seek medical evaluation.

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I'm having neck and low back pain what do I do my pain meds are not helping I tried heating pads my pain meds relaxing bed rest

I'm having neck and low back pain what do I do my pain meds are not helping I tried heating pads my pain meds relaxing bed rest

Reevaluation: You may need to be reevaluated to discuss options for treating the cause of your pain rather than "just" taking pain medications, using a heating pad and resting. Based upon the specific diagnosis of the cause of your pain, there may be more powerful treatment options available.

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Can ice help to reduce sciatica pain?

Can ice help to reduce sciatica pain?

Possibly: However, it will be temporary as it takes a lot to get down into the spine which might not work. Sounds like you have a pinched nerve in your back. I would suggest seeing a pain/spine specialist to evaluate you further to evaluate what level and what can be done to treat you. There are interventional treatments besides medications and surgeries that might reduce or eliminate the pain altogether

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Is it normal to have an ice cold foot with low back pain and sciatica?

Is it normal to have an ice cold foot with low back pain and sciatica?

Common, Not Normal: Patients often share altered sensations such cold extremities with low back pain and sciatica. It would also be a good idea to be evaluated for vascular issues in the leg.

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Heat or ice on injury?

Heat or ice on injury?

Cold then heat: Most sports medicine experts recommend cold first, because it decreases swelling and pain. Then later, heat frequently provides more relief. However, you are the ultimate judge: use the one that works best for you.

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Ice or heat for a stiff neck?

Ice or heat for a stiff neck?

Ice or heat: Both work well, some people will try one then find the other works better or alternate. Try biofreeze too [wash hands well or can burn the eyes if touch eyes after on fingertips] try excedrin or tylenol/aleve or advil for pain too. If worse see your dr. Or not better

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What are some stiff neck remedies? Ice or heat?

What are some stiff neck remedies? Ice or heat?

Stiff neck.: Massage, tens unit, pt, sphenopalatine ganglion block, etc... With regard to heat or ice -i usually ask which one makes you feel better?

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Horrible back pain that won't go away--ice or heat?

Find the reason?: Using heat or cold may help your pain but the only thing realy help solve the problem to find out thre reason for that back pain. Thank you.

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Dr. Qamar Khan
1,069 Doctors shared insights

Sciatica (Definition)

A condition that results in pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg. It results from injury to or pressure on the sciatic nerve, which starts in the lower spine and runs down the ...Read more