If you have sciatica, your primary concern is doing something productive to find relief. Many innovative treatments are available, although some simple remedies can be just as effective. One of these treatment options is cold therapy, which is based on the concept that cold soothes sore muscles that may be contributing to inflammation. It’s this swelling that can irritate the sciatic nerve running from the lower back downward to the legs. The staff at The Spine Institute in Los Angeles discusses cold therapy and how it can relieve sciatica symptoms.
When to Start Cold Therapy
When you start cold therapy will depend on the extent of your discomfort. Typically, you should start shortly after sciatica symptoms appear rather than later to minimize possible nerve damage that may occur from lingering pain and become ingrained in your nerves.
How Cold Therapy Works
The application of cold can be in the form of an ice or gel pack or even a bag of frozen peas. If you use ice wrapped in a washcloth or towel, avoid placing it directly on your skin. Apply the cold in 15 to 20 minute intervals off and on throughout the day. Do not sleep with the cold applied to your skin.
Where to Apply It
Sciatic nerve pain often radiates to the thighs, hips, buttocks, and legs. However, you’ll want to apply the cold to the area where the nerve is actually being compressed, which is likely your lower back.
Combining Cold Therapy with Heat Therapy
Cold therapy can help ease inflammation, while heat therapy may ease muscle soreness. Because everyone responds to the application of cold and heat differently, you may experience more relief by using both techniques at regular intervals or gravitate toward one or the other based on the results you’re getting.
Cold therapy is meant for use shortly after sciatica symptoms become problematic. If you’re experiencing chronic pain, seek a more definite diagnosis of the source of your discomfort from a board-certified back doctor in Los Angeles. Even when cold therapy works for you, it will still be necessary to determine the true source of nerve compression to further fine-tune your treatment recommendations.
In severe cases, sciatica may need minimally invasive surgery. If your sciatica pain has become difficult to manage and you are looking for an effective treatment option, get in touch with The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. We specialize in spinal fusion as well as alternatives to spinal fusion surgery. Call our office at 310-828-7757 today to schedule an in-person evaluation.