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As they are easily available, inexpensive, non-toxic and effective at relieving pain, heat and ice therapy are excellent options for relieving sciatic pain.

Sciatica is caused by compression of nerves in the lower part of the spine, which merge together to form the sciatic nerve in the pelvis.

Sciatica can be very painful. Some people experience pain right along the sciatic nerve, others just in one or two spots.

Heat/ice therapy, gentle stretching, Pilates and yoga are recommended to help relieve sciatic pain.


Health professionals recommend the use of ice / cold therapy for the early days of sciatica when the pain is sharp and intense. This helps reduce inflammation and numbs painful tissue.


Heat therapy is recommended when the acute, sharp pain subsides (usually 3 to 7 days after the start of the condition).

Heat therapy:

  • dilates blood vessels
  • relaxes muscle tissue
  • increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the painful area
  • promotes healing
  • improves flexibility

Heat therapy also stimulates sensory receptors in the skin, causing the brain to focus on the sensation of warmth rather than the pain.