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Too much heat?
I use a LOT of heat to manage my pain in my shoulder and my back. I have an herbal heat pad (my best friend), and I sleep on a plug in heat pad. I LOVE heat. Ice has been suggested to me, but I feel like that just makes me cold and cranp up, so I don't like to use it.

The Doctor I work for recently told me that too much heat can actually cause the inflammatory process to worsen. I am going to ask my PM doc about this the next time I go in, but has anyone heard of this? Do you you a lot of heat for pain?
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14 Answers
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1301089 tn?1290670171
Hi Kitty:  I've not heard that.  Interesting. I use a lot of heat.  Too much.  I've developed a burn called Erythema ab igne.  Looks awful but doesn't really hurt.  So do be careful.
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547368 tn?1440545385
Your physician is correct. Indeed heat brings blood and fluids to the site. Obviously the blood is conducive to the healing process but too much heat can cause congestion of fluids in the tissues and increase swelling and inflammation.

So a little heat is good. Too much heat can increase problems. That's the very reason initial injuries are "iced" instead of heat. Ice will reduce swelling and keep excess fluids out of the tissues.

It's also one of the reason a physician will order rotating heat and ice. I am like you. I cannot tolerate ice. It craps me and makes the ache even deeper.

Thanks for sharing.
~Tuck
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547368 tn?1440545385
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Well, poop on a stick.

:)

Sorry....one of my favorite sayings.

It makes sense....but man o man it's one of the only things that keeps my comfortable these days. I do, however feel that I am undermedicated and that is something that I will be discussing with my pm doc in a couple of weeks. I have decided to decline the Suboxone treatment - I'm just not comfortable with it. But he did mention that it was not my only option for treatment. I'm hoping that we can look at something else that lasts longer than the 4 hour Norco's because I feel like I spend my day chasing the pain around and would really rather spend it doing other things like playing with the kiddo's and doing other enjoyable acitivities!!

Tuck, what has been suggested to you as "a little heat?" 20 mins? How often?

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I agree with Tuck - the reason the medical profession tells you to use ice for at least the first 24-48 hours following an injury is to reduce swelling and keep the excess fluids from accumulating - heat can cause swelling to increase and therefore, increase pain levels.

I'm like many others, however, and find that heat does much better for me than the ice, with the exception of after I had/have a cortisone injection - I do use ice for about 48 hours after that and it does feel a good bit better than heat for that.

For ice or heat, I've always been told 20 minutes on/20 minutes off while you are awake.  It is not a good idea to EVER sleep with a heating pad of any type, especially one of the plug in ones - you can get a serious burn without realizing it, in addition to the potential hazard of a fire from inadvertently crimping the cord.

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I'm with you guys.  I can't live without my heating pad.  Once it broke on a bad day and I made hubby go out and get me a new one right away and like 10 pm.

When it comes to dependence, this is mine- I have never panicked like that when I ran out of meds!

And I know what Tuck says is true.  It is just like the drugs, it pulls me in.  I know it's bad for me, but it feels so good.  Is there heating pad detox?

I have multiple permanent muscle spasms so the pad is the only thing that helps :(
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1375159 tn?1311691944
I use a moist heating pad. I have posted about it before. When I used a regular (dry) heating pad, it made me very stiff. But, the moist ceramic one I use is great. After reading the posts, I guess that I overuse it.

I fall asleep on my heating pad.  The one I have now has a timer and will only stay on for 60 minutes. Then you have to press the button to turn it off.

I was burned--my back--by my old heating pad. I forgot to turn it off and fell asleep. My back was red and had marks all over it. There are no scars or anything like that. It was very painful for a few days--maybe a week...

Flower
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Heating pad detox...haha....do we need to form a new support group for that? I recently left my herbal pad in the microwave too long and burned it. It stunk soooooo bad but I can't sleep without it. It's like my "blanky". I went out and got a new one the next morning. And WHY don't they have microwaves on airplanes so we can heat those puppies up?! Seriously......
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1375159 tn?1311691944
LOL:) We do. A support group sounds great. I'm definitely addicted. It's bad. I think I'm on it whenever I'm home. After reading the posts, I took it off.

My poor husband said "honey, are you cold?" He is freezing all the time because I have the air running. I always have it on because I get too hot if it's not down really low.

Kitty, that's a great idea! They should have microwaves on planes so we can heat up herbal pads!

Hugs,

Flower
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Of course we need the AC on, we have heating pads cranked up on our sore spots!
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LOL, Flower I just turned mine off, too!  So I guess this goes like: "Hi, I'm Bree and I'm addicted to my electric heating pad!"
I just learned from google that I, too, have Erythema Ab Igne.  My skin is all mottled in some places and I never knew why until Sara mentioned it.  Does it mean I will stop using the heating pad?  Heck no.  I also had one doctor tell me that heating pads are really bad for you and literally cause tissue damage because they slowly cook your body.  I still use it, though.  I try not to use it too much, though.  I keep it at the recliner so I can only use it when in the living room, not sleeping.  I got the mottling/burns when I was using it all the time and sleeping with it.  
I have also started integrating ice back into the rotation.  Some days I use only heat, but other times I use ice for about 20 mins at a time.  It's not so much that the ice helps the pain, it's that it feels so nice and warm when I take the ice off.  Especially if I go outside (it's hot here in FL).  
For airplanes and general travel I have found the thermacare heat wraps are wonderful.  I use them on my neck/shoulder and lower back on long trips.  They help a lot with the spasms and general muscle pain/ nerve irritation that comes from all of the motions of travel.
I have also burned a buckwheat/lavender heat wrap.  It was my favorite and now the smell of buckwheat makes me nauseated.
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Try burnt Lavender! EEEEeeew!

Hi, I'm Kat. I'm a heat pad addict. I haven't used yet today, but I intend to. :) I have errends to run with the kids and as soon as I get home, me and the pad have a hot date in the recliner.
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547368 tn?1440545385
A little heat is about 20 minutes.....but I too go over that. I sometimes lay on a heating pad for hours. I know it's not recommended but when I am in severe pain I'll try anything.

My favorite and personally I think the safest is the ThermaCare. This opinion is not based on medical facts. It's just a personal opinion. Because its' not a true heat but a chemical heat. Shame on me.... I wear them all day or all night.  :o)

Non-Compliant...
~Tuck
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1375159 tn?1311691944
I used to use ThermaCare. I keep forgetting to go out and buy some, but I will because it's great to have heat when I'm working. Thanks!
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Hello everyone,i recently received my m.r.i results and my pain is being caused by 2 pinched nerves,bulge,degeneration,disc herniation all on the right side lowe back and sciata i think thats the right term,L4,L5,S1 constant pain,have done cortisone shots and radio frequency plus physical therapy,,so would considering surgery at this point be a good idea?
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