Heat or Cold for back pain

Heat or Cold for back pain

Welcome to Spine-health’s Back Surgery and Neck Surgery patient community. You can also read doctor approved Back Surgery and Neck Surgery Articles and watch Surgery Videos.
9 posts / 0 new
Last post
Kris-NY
Offline
Last seen: 11 months 4 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 08/05/2009 - 6:23pm
Heat or Cold for back pain

64,000 dollar question - 4 days after surgery I am feeling the ache and pull in my back. I have a 5 inch incision starting at the base of my neck and going down between shoulder blades.

So Ice or Heat? Don't think I would hurt anything - just wondering if anyone has a good answer for this one.

lsteller
lsteller's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 09/19/2008 - 10:12pm
Generally

BOTH. You'd probably want to rely on the ice more to keep the inflammation down, but a little stint of heat helps the body to "pump" excess fluids out of the area. Heat allows expansion of the tissues, ice causes the tissues to contract. If you alternate the heat and ice, you set up a nice little pumping system. No sleeping on a heating pad -- you can burn yourself badly.

Linda

3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.

gwennie17
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 2 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 12/30/2008 - 12:07am
Hi Kris --

I was told to just use ice so soon after surgery or any procedure such as an ESI or nerve block. But what Linda says about alternating between ice and heat is true. If you are in pain ice usually makes the area feel better. Heat draws the blood to the surface and can cause the incision to throb. Also, you are trying to minimize all inflammation, both around the incision and inside as well.

How are you feeling? The first week is the worst....It does get better.

Gwennie

dilauro
dilauro's picture
Offline
Last seen: 14 hours 9 min ago
Title: Moderator
Joined: 06/16/2008 - 9:41pm
A general rule

is ICE for the first 24-48 hours. Then after that it is heat.
But that is just a guideline. I have used both within the same day. Manytimes I use heat to soothe some of the discomfort and then use Ice to numb the area.

Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Moderator
Dont laugh at me

Christina69
Christina69's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 4 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 06/20/2008 - 4:55pm
Ice

I was told the same thing as Ron.
Good luck on your healing Hug

Christina

DNice
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Title: Member
Joined: 10/03/2009 - 6:56pm
I was told ice within first few days

only b/c they want incision inflammation to go down. I was also told no soaking in a tub for 2 weeks but that heat was ok b/c it helps circulation.

It's small intervals of each. I found heat helped with aches of the surgery (so overall fatigue) but ice really helped with incision pain.

Kris-NY
Offline
Last seen: 11 months 4 weeks ago
Title: Member
Joined: 08/05/2009 - 6:23pm
Thanks guys

Well I took off the bandage and the incision looks great! Not swollen at all. I do look like Frakenstein's monster with all the staples.

I am going to try heat tonite for a little relief. Probably did to much today and no naps. Yeah!

sleeprgirl
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 7 months ago
Title: Member
Joined: 10/23/2009 - 6:12pm
Hi

I have had a great deal of pain/burning/numbness this week. My PT has me doing heat in the morning, and ice at night, since I really struggle with getting control of the pain in the evenings.

Lisa

jellyhall
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Title: Moderator
Joined: 10/16/2009 - 5:38am
Lisa

So sorry that you have had a bad week with lots of pain. Hopefully, it is just a blip along the way, and next week you'll improve again.

Take care.