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Can a Heating Pad Provide Relief from Herniated Disc Pain?


4.7 - Is-a-Heating-Pad-Good-for-a-Herniated-Disc

Pain from a herniated spinal disc sometimes appears quickly, as may be the case if you injure yourself while playing with your kids or exercising. The good news is it is often possible to relieve pain caused by pressure on an affected nerve by using a heating pad. This article explains what you should keep in mind when it comes to using a heating pad to relieve symptoms of a herniated disc.

What Heat Does for Spinal Discs

A heating pad can be good for a herniated spinal disc, since the applied heat speeds up the healing process by increasing circulation. When blood flows to the affected spinal disc in a more productive way, more nutrients and other beneficial materials bathe the disc. The result is often a reduction in nerve-based pain.

Combining Heat with Cold for a More Well-Rounded Approach to Relief

The one thing a heating pad cannot do is reduce inflammation, which is often associated with herniated spinal discs. Fortunately, using an ice pack or cooling gel is another simple home remedy you can use for a more well-rounded approach to relief.

With the relief you get from heat and cooling applications, you can benefit from other methods of relief as well. For instance, you might be able to safely do exercises such as
sciatica stretches that you were not able to do during your pain spikes. Make sure to be careful with the forms of relief you choose and err on the side of caution while also consulting with your doctor.

Safely Using a Heating Pad

Start by double-checking the heating pad’s settings, especially if other people in your home use the same pad. Do not apply too much heat to the affected area, and keep the following safety tips in mind:

• Limit your applications of heat to 15 minutes at a time
• Make sure the heating pad is covered so you do not burn your skin
• Do not lie down on the heating pad, since you need to avoid applying too much heat

Other Ways to Benefit from Heat Relief

If you have concerns about using a heating pad, there are other ways to benefit from heat applications for a herniated spinal disc. For example, you can take warm baths or use a gel heat pack. You can even alternate using a heating pad, taking a warm bath, and using a gel pack. 

You can use a combination of these methods of heat application as needed to get the relief you seek from herniated disc pain. However, if your pain flare-ups continue to be an issue, check with your doctor for further treatment options.

If you have a herniated disc that is not responding to conservative treatment, a discectomy may be discussed and potentially recommended. Although this is generally a very successful procedure, having a large hole in the outer ring of the disc more than doubles the risk of needing another operation. A new treatment, Barricaid, is a bone-anchored device that closes this hole, and 95 percent of Barricaid patients did not undergo a reoperation due to reherniation in a 2-year study timeframe. This treatment is performed immediately following the discectomy—during the same operation—and does not require any additional incisions or time in the hospital. 

If you have any questions about the Barricaid treatment, ask your doctor or contact us at 844-288-7474.

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