Can heat be used to promote slipped disc pain relief?

If you’ve been diagnosed with a slipped disc and are seeking pain relief, you might try heat therapy. Many people find this simple self-care measure to be very helpful when mild-to-moderate back pain strikes. However, while heat therapy can be a good way to alleviate symptoms, it’s important to understand that it will have no effect on the underlying condition that is actually causing your pain (only surgery can do that).

How to use heat therapy for slipped disc pain relief

If you’d like to try heat therapy, here are some suggestions from Laser Spine Institute:

  • Apply a heat source to a painful area of your neck or back as often as needed for 15-20 minutes at a time.
  • Use an electric heating pad on a low or medium setting (never high), and avoid falling asleep while the device is on. If necessary, you can set a timer to go off after 15 minutes.
  • Consider using moist heat, such as a warm bath or shower, which can deeply penetrate sore muscles and inflamed tissues.
  • For continual relief, wear an all-day heat wrap (available over the counter at many pharmacies).
  • Alternate heat applications with ice applications for further effectiveness. Heat can promote healing and relaxation, while cold can reduce swelling and inflammation.

Sometimes, a slipped disc compresses a spinal nerve, and neither heat nor ice can reduce the resulting neurological effects. Even so, hot/cold therapy can still provide temporary pain relief in these situations. Usually, the relief is due to the effects of the treatment on the muscles and other tissues surrounding a compressed nerve.

Surgery for a slipped disc

If heat therapy and other conservative treatments have not provided the slipped disc pain relief you need, contact Laser Spine Institute to ask about our minimally invasive spine surgery and request a free MRI review.* We can help you determine if you are a candidate for a minimally invasive outpatient procedure.