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How-To Guide: Heat or Cold for Sciatica

Looking for immediate relief from sciatica pain? Check out this guide on how to apply heat or cold for sciatica.

Looking for immediate relief from sciatica pain?

Even if you know how to massage sciatica trigger points or if you got an injection for sciatica nerve pain, it may flare up from time to time.

In those cases, applying heat or cold for sciatica may provide you with some immediate relief.

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Here’s what to do.

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Heat or Cold for Sciatica

Here’s how to apply cold and heat therapy for sciatica:

Cold Therapy. Medical professionals recommend using cold therapy for the first 48 to 72 hours of experiencing sciatica since it reduces the intense pain and inflammation associated with the onset of nerve-related injuries.

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  • Cold therapy decreases nerve conduction, which helps alleviate sharp pain and sensitivity.
  • Cold therapy decreases blood flow to numb painful areas.
  • Cold therapy slows tissue metabolism which can help reduce harmful inflammation.

Where to put ice pack for sciatica? 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.

Heat Therapy. Once most of the swelling and sharp pain have subsided, you can start applying heat. Heat therapy primarily promotes healing.

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  • Heat therapy increases circulation which can speed up the healing process.
  • Heat therapy activates heat receptors that can help alleviate minor pain.
  • Heat therapy increases tissue metabolism that can help soothe stiff muscles and reduce painful muscle spasms.

Heat therapy can be applied using dry or moist methods. Dry heat includes heat patches, hot water bottles, heat wraps, heating pads, or saunas.

On the other hand, moist heat consists of steamed towels, warm baths, or moist heat packs. You can also apply heat locally, regionally, or fully.

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Disclaimer: The information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All information contained on this website is for general information purposes only.

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