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Ice or Heat

pepper09ppepper09 Posts: 138
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I am 24 days post op lumbar fusion 1 level and I am still icing my back about 5 times a day. I still have a sore back and still have the right buttock and right leg nerve pain. Should I still be icing my back? Is it ok to use heat now?


  • Hi there,

    My advice is not medical but personal.

    At 24 days pos operation you are still in the throws of an inflammatory response (can last up to 3 weeks) so logically icing quickly to help reduce swelling and inflammation makes sense. From my own experience it never helped and gave me cramps so be careful. Also, ice quickly because you can damage the tissue if you leave it too long.

    Heat at this cruical time, although may feel soothing may incrase inflammation and so longer term increase your discomfort.
    Do you still have pain killers? If so try taking some. I know most docs want us off the medication as quick as they can but if you are suffering it is a trade off cos being comfortable will help your end healing as you won't be in spasm and therefore reducing blood and oxygen supply.

    6-8 weeks is defo a turning point in recovery times. Also, don't try and do too much!

    Take care!

  • I questioned my surgeon when he told me to try heat, 10 minutes every hour, as I thought you used ice to tamp down inflammation. But he said that after the first several days, heat will help to draw blood away from the surgical site and is good for that reason.

    Since you are three weeks out, you might try heat and see if you get any better relief. It isn't going to hurt anything at this point.
  • I don't know if it is right or wrong but after about the first week I alternated ice and heat.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,839
    is Ice for the first 48 hours and then after that its heat.
    But you know what, you can throw convention out the window.
    You do what feels best for you. That is the bottom line
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • my doc said ice if you inactive heat if your going to be active. My best relief came from a large gel pack about 12inches x24 inches covered the whole lower back but i do use heat when im going to be walking. Heat seems to increase my pain though so i dont use it top much. Everyone is different though. Gett well
  • said use ice and less than a month from surgery ..give your self a brake .it will take at least 8 week for the surgical scar to heal the around 12 months for recovery .after 12 months .that's normaly as good as it gets .good luck
  • I guess it's your doctor's preference. My doc still wants me to use ice for pain. I was advised to use ice after each walk. I am 2 weeks PostOp microdisectomy.
  • Another ice fan here. My surgeon too.
    Protect the skin.
    I accidentally "burned" myself with a gel pack.
    On the sunny and mild Central Coast of California

    L4-L5 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy June, 2007
    L5-S1 endoscopic transforaminal microdiscectomy May, 2008
  • My doc said whichever feels best, my P.T. says ice first, then heat. I don't know...they both feel good to me!
  • One week post op alternate ice/heat!
    I found putting a heat sock on my legs and feet helped the pins and needles thing.
    Relaxed the sore hips and legs!
  • My advice is that you should ask your doctor, it's more safer. Good luck
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