heating pad or ice packs?

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anice
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 536
   Posted 5/29/2009 5:31 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi friends, I have been hurting bad for the past couple days-still severe hip and buttock pain. I forced myself to walk twice today. And I will get in one more before the night is over. I am still trying to deal with this pain. The lortab and flexiril does help,just not for long periods of time. I am also taking mobic(anti-inflamatory). I have been doing the heating pad alot for the past couple days.
 
I know each one of us is different. And I know what works for some doesn't work for others. I do prefer the heating pad. I have read many of you use ice packs. I want to know how you all feel about which one you use. I have used ice packs before,but it seems to hurt-a deep,cold hurt. It seems I have read that it is better to use ice packs. And I think I remember that it said heat can increase the pain. I would like to hear your input on this. And could I still be hurting so much b/c I am using the heating pad alot.
 
Thanks in advance for your help.
Anice

edt
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 773
   Posted 5/29/2009 5:40 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Anice,

I have found that alternating Heat and Ice works for me!  Most times I prefer heat but if that doesn't help then I start alternating with Ice!  It varies from day to day honestly!  Kind of like our Meds what works for one situation or person doesn't always work for the other.

I hope you feel better soon!

XXOO
Patti


straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13471
   Posted 5/29/2009 7:13 PM (GMT -7)   
I am heat only-cold makes my pain worse, never have been able to use the cold method. I know cold can help with inflammation as well as, many do well alternating. Maybe try that and see if it makes any difference. Susie


PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/29/2009 8:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Anice,
Mostly I use heat, but sometimes I find ice works great. But with ice you have to suffer through the time when you feel the cold until it gets kind of numb!

Too much heat can be bad, though. Guess too much of anything is! But for an acute injury, ice is good for the first 24 hrs,; heat after that. For our chronic problems I think it really depends on what helps you the most.

I really think a PT is going to be able to help you with a lot of this. I wonder if you're not overdoing the activity. When my body is hurting too much, sometimes I know I just have to lay low a bit.

PaLady

White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3611
   Posted 5/29/2009 9:56 PM (GMT -7)   
anice
I think I would follow edt suggestion, and alternate,  at least try that for a while and see what it does for you.  You know it really all depends on what is causing your pain as to how to treat it. If it is muscular pain you might even want to try some Ben Gay or something, but if it is nerve pain  what you describe just about sounds like Sciatica, this pain isn't caused by your back is it? Because if it is, heat and ice isn't going to be much help! I thought your surgery was suppose to take care of that? Is this pain something new?  Or is this the pain you had before your surgery?
I sure hope you are feeling better!
all the best to you anice
 
White Beard
  I'm Retired USAF, went back to school and became an RN, and now am on full disalbility!--Degenerative Disc (affecting mostly the thorasic disc but all levels involved), C6/7 laminectomy/diskectomy& fusion, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!) Medications: Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV


flower123
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 856
   Posted 5/30/2009 2:02 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Anice,

I use heat mostly. My heating pad is a ceramic heating pad so it is considered to be moist heat. I used to use just a regular one, but it ended up making me sore. So, the one that I have now is more expensive but well worth it.

I do use ice when I'm a 9 in pain levels. Then, I rotate ice and heat. I have gel ice packs for my back. They are extremely soft so they don't irritate me. But I understand what you're saying about the ice. Most of the time, I prefer heat.

I have been told that for me it is best to rotate when levels are extreme.

Flower

anice
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 536
   Posted 5/30/2009 11:04 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you all for your replies. I do appreciate it so much. Like I said before, I have been only using the heating pad. But I am willing to try the ice packs, it is just so bone chilling cold!!!

My back pain is much better. My major pain is in both buttocks and hips. And it hurts sooo bad.I noticed it the first week home from surgery. And it hasn't changed much since then. I am really not sure why my hips and buttocks hurt. The left side does seem to be worse. And that was the side I had the problems with before-the nerve pain. I am not sure if all of this is nerve pain or if it is from the surgery itself-not healed all the way. I am getting concerned though. It hasn't changed or gotten any better since the surgery.I told my Dr. this and that is when he mentioned me going to PT.

I will do the PT and hope I do see results with it. I will be off work for 4 more weeks. What is bothering me is,what if I have to stay living like this? What if this pain never goes away? I know there is no way that I can work as a peds nurse in pain like this. When I was working with the herniated disc and could barely walk most days, it was my left buttock,left hip, and down my left leg. And that was indeed horrible. But this is both sides now. I can't even sit for long periods of time due to my hips mainly, and ofcourse the buttocks. I may not be able to go back to work at all... I may have to resign and try to get on disability.And ofcourse, we'll lose my insurance and have to get on Medicaid...I don't know. I may be jumping the gun. But I am just thinking of the possibilities.I'll just have to do the PT first and see where I am with that.

I was on the heating pad most of the day yesterday. It did seem to help somewhat. I am about to get on it now. I had to make myself walk yesterday. I knew I needed to but I sure didn't feel like it. The pain is still bad... And it has been 5 1/2 weeks since surgery. I would think I would be feeling better. I am not.

I don't think I am doing too much. I will fold clothes. Husband or son will put them away. I will clean the kitchen some. I will not bend over. So if it is something that goes in the bottom cabinets, I either open the door and toss it in(haha)or will have son or husband to the bending.I just haven't done alot around the house... So I don't think I am overdoing it.
Anice

PAlady
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 5/30/2009 12:48 PM (GMT -7)   
Anice,
I know it's hard, and I know we've all told you this, but 5 1/2 weeks is nothing when it comes to overall healing time. Read straydog's post. And the thing is - what no one told me even after leaving the hospital - is that the thingsd we "think" should be ok like sitting, for example, are some of the worst things we can do for our back. So it's not just bending and lifting.

I have really wondered about your doctor having you walk so much so soon, but then I'm not your doctor! I know walking is good for us, but 3X a day seemed a little much to me so quickly. If it was me - and please, take your doctor's advice plus what you feel is right for you, not my advice - I think I would back off some if I was hurting that much. Not stop, just ease up.

But nerve pain is not going to go away quickly. I was told it can take up to two years. The fact you're having it on both sides, thoiugh, is something to pay attention to. Your PT might be able to help you see if it's due to muscle spasm (could well be) or nerve compression somewhere. Nerves can be compressed by tight muslces, and of course being in surgery is traumatic to the body so our muscles will tighten up. Let alone the pain before and after. So ask your PT what he/she thinks; and they may not know until they try some things.

I also found out my SI joint can be a huge culprit and that's right around your buttocks/hips. Again, a good PT evaluation may help. But I think you're jumping the gun about the long term future. Sure, it's not bad to have a "Plan B", but you're not done with Plan A yet. You've also had sooooo much other stress in your life, that's not going to help. I just wish your mother could come stay with you and give you some TLC.

PaLady

anice
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2009
Total Posts : 536
   Posted 5/30/2009 1:45 PM (GMT -7)   
PALady, Thanks again. I am probably jumping the gun about the long term future. I don't have any idea what my future holds, in any aspect of my life. I just felt like I needed a plan B.

I wish my mom would come too. I miss her alot. There is still a good bit of tension between us.But it is getting better. But I know she will not come to my house again. My mom's health isn't real good. She has COPD. And she also has a history of being a hypochondriac(honest). She personally likes all the attention on her, and only her. This sounds bad, and I don't mean for it to. My mom is my best friend and I love her with all my heart. This is just the way it is. My brothers and my sister agree. While she was here, she was great for a day or so. Then she started saying how bad she felt. And she went to bed herself a good bit. I didn't hear alot of wheezing and coughing. When she got back to TN, she imrpoved immediately. It has always been that way with her. She and my stepdad are coming this Wed. to get my son and take him to TN for most of the summer. They will leave early Thurs. am. So I will see her a little bit then.

I am easing up a little on the walking. I just simply can't walk 20 min. three times a day. I am walking once or twice though every day. I do have to force myself to do it. But I know I am supposed to and that is enough to make me do it. It just hurts.
Anice

straydog
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13471
   Posted 5/30/2009 2:22 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi Anice,

OMG, gal you need to take a big deep breath. You have simply got to quit beating yourself up over this surgery bit, its not helping you any at all, its adding to your stress level. My goodness lower your expectation bar some-cut yourself some slack. You are still considered fresh from surgery, I know you are sick and tired of hearing this, but its the truth. Stop the what ifs, concentrate on now. You are doing nothing but overwhelming yourself.

One of your biggest hurdles you need to get past is the surgeon saying you would be back to work so soon after surgery. Why this clown told you this is beyond me. But, you must forget about what he said about being back to work so soon. You are dwelling on this too much and its ragging you out. Change your mind set. Set your goals to building your strength and energy to get yourself back to work. Now, you already know it has not happened, so move forward. Try to set your own goals. You are suppose to walk 3 times a day, you are not-so make that your goal to get to walking 3 times a day. Once you achieve that goal move to the next one. You are spending too much energy trying to worry about next week, next month and wearing yourself out. That is leaving you without the energy you need to work on the things you need to be doing now. People recover differently from surgery, no one is alike. Please remember what I posted to you earlier, I never saw a lam patient go back to work any earlier than 3 months and this was after completing PT for as long as 6 weeks some even went 8 weeks because they went into a work hardening type program which is different than regular PT. This also depended on their type of employment.

I know about the muscle spasm thing going on and I so hope you will call and speak with the nurse at your surgeons office Monday morning if you have not already. If this does not pan out then go see your PCP, if nothing else see your pain mgt dr if needed.  Keep in mind it does take muscles relaxers several days to get in your system at a constant level to work effectively. In other words, if your are rxd to take one say every 6 hrs then take it that way. Not one as needed, it will do you no good doing it as a hit in miss especially in the very beginning. Once it is in the system good it can effectively reduce the spasms if it is one that will work for you. I know someone on the other post mentioned Soma but the drs have pretty much stopped rxing it around here and have not done so in years. It seems people were abusing it very much like Vicodin & Lortab which are the same meds. If you are using a dry heat, you really need to invest in a moist heating pad, moist heat is so much better than dry. They are not expensive at all. Secondly, if you can find it and Walmart, Walgreens usually will carry it, try finding a muscle creme called Tiger Balm, does not smell real pretty but its an excellent muscle rub. My phyical therapist used this on me after my massages and then put moist heat packs on me and I felt like I had died & gone to heaven. Its feels wonderful. Get hubby to put some of this on your back careful about the incision area, have him rub it in very, very lightly, put some of this on the calves of your legs,  especially use it all on your hip areas as well. Give it a try. I have to wonder if you are spending too much time on the heating pad. I was told never to spend more than 20 minutes at a time on a heating pad. I always do this after my evening shower. It will not help nerve pain but it sure does help my muscle pain. You have nothing to lose by trying this. Tiger Balm is not expensive either. It comes in a tiny jar like Carmex for your lips. A little goes a long ways too.

Anice, you had a wonderful attitude before your surgery. I know it feels like your world is crashing down around you because in 4 weeks you were not returning to work full blast and feeling like a million. Buts, thats ok, you only listened to your surgeron. You banked on doing just what the dr said. In reality you just need to give this time to heal properly. Even a laminectomy is a big deal ok. Oh, I know the drs downplay lams as if they are nothing but guess what they are wrong. Spinal surgery is a big deal. It is not like going and getting a tooth pulled ok. Another thing I do not think has hit you is; your first day back at work will be a killer. By noon that day you will be worn out and most likely in pain. I am not trying to scare you, I am trying to tell you what happens the first day back at work after surgery, it does not matter what kind of surgery either.  Every time I have had surgery and I have had many that first week back is tough, but it does get better as time goes by. Yes, I do believe you will go back to work, it just taking longer than you anticipated. But, facts are facts, now set your own goals and get it done, you can do this, it just needs to be done in a more realistic time frame.

Here is an example, I had gallbladder surgery done as a lap, my surgeon insisted I stay home six weeks. I felt good at 4 weeks thought sure he would allow me to return to work-no way would he allow it.  Everyone I knew that had gallbladder surgery, drs made them stay off 6 weeks. Now thats for gallbladder surgery. I cannot fathom 4-6 weeks on back surgery. My first day back to work was a killer too but it got better. You would be amazed at how the anesthesia affects the body overall. Its really hard on our bodies, have you thought of that at all? There are so many factors involving surgery that we do not think about that really does affect our recovery process. You probably think you are in good shape physically, you are not, this surgery takes it out of you and away from you. This where PT will come and help you regain and rebuild what you lost while off and at home.

PA mentioned maybe your activities are causing some of your symptoms, I think she is right. If you are doing alot of sitting, you need to stop. Sitting puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the spine. You need to alternate laying down, standing and sitting. My surgeon does not allow his fusion people to sit the first six weeks after surgery, now that is for a fusion. They are alloed to sit long enough to go to the bathroom, eat and thats it. They go home lying down either in a car or ambulance and come back for their 6 weeks post op checkup the same way. He will not aloow them to ride in a car the first 6 weeks either except to get home from the hospital. He limits the lam people on sitting too. The reason he does this is because of the stress sitting puts on the spine.

I am not trying to be harsh here, I am trying to help you. I know that you have it in you to do well with this surgery, but you ran into speed bumps that you were not informed about. But thats ok you just drive around them. Get yourself regrouped and be realistic, work on today, not tomorrow, not next week, today. Hugs, Susie 

 



White Beard
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3611
   Posted 5/30/2009 3:29 PM (GMT -7)   
anice
I think between PALady and straydog they about covered everything, I know you are anxious, you still have pain and you want to work, but it does take time. Straydog is right your still fresh out of surgery at this point! Surgeons always amaze me their expectations are so unrealistic, I had Galbadder surgery in May and shoulder surgery in October, of 07, I could not even hardly move my right arm till Christmas time and they kept having to extend my PT, it took for ever for my shoulder to heal up, and he told me a couple of 3 weeks, Yea! Right! How about 3 or 4 months! and then some! Same with the Gallbadder, out patient surgery, if they would have let me had my pain meds as scheduled! The way it was I had to stay over night! Heck even with my cervical Disc fusion I was off work for many months!
Hang in there anice, and be patient with your self! It will all come together for you, You'll See! And were all here to support you till it happens and then we will always be here afterwards!
Wishing you only the best!
Good Luck to You,
White Beard
  I'm Retired USAF, went back to school and became an RN, and now am on full disalbility!--Degenerative Disc (affecting mostly the thorasic disc but all levels involved), C6/7 laminectomy/diskectomy& fusion, Osteoarthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia, Complex Sleep Apnea, and host of other things to spice up my life!(NOT!) Medications: Oxycontin, Percocet, Baclofen, Sulfasalazine, Metoprolol, Folic Acid, Supplemental O2 at 3lpm with VPAP Adapt SV

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