Chiari Malformation Community
5.19k Members
1968463 tn?1374761413

Heat or ice? Muscle Relaxants

Hi all !!I was just wondering what helped you all the most, whether before or after surgery did ice or heat seem to help the most?  
Also, for those of you who have had surgery what muscle relaxant were you given and did DR refill it? I have been on valium and norflex, and it seems to really help the most when I take the valium, is this something that your DR's have refilled for you?

Just curious what type of pain relief regimins you guys found the most helpful. I am having alot of trouble sleeping due to the pain, so I was sitting here thinking what all of you do before bed to get the most  out of your night. I have tried melatonin....it does not work. the only way I get to sleep is by taking Nyquil with my meds which is helpful since I have a cough which we all know can hurt super bad after surgery or even before for that matter....but I also keep wiggling....can't seem to get to sleep and stay there. Last night I finially fell asleep about 4 am and I woke up on my back with my head hanging sideways off my pillow and in intense pain. Did you set an alarm to make sure you took the meds on schedule? Just any ideas???
Love, Sheila
17 Responses
2120085 tn?1344769510
Ice pack for head. When i heat it it doesn't seem to help and heat for back pain is better. I can never hold the ice pack on head long since i get brain freeze lol

I was going to ask this questions last night about hot water bottles vs ice packs.

I haven't had surgery this is Wat i try and hope rids pain tho
144586 tn?1284669764
The recommendations have changed over the years. The argument for cool is that it reduces inflammation and swelling, which interfere with healing and compress nerves causing discomfort. Heat pads invariably cause slight swelling. Thus initial treatment is with cool, and 24-48 hours later change to warm.
1925822 tn?1333709217
sheila...i take valium to.its really the best.I got it refilled by my pcp.I dont know how drug things are handled in the US, but I think u do need relaxers for ur neck now. And for me the best is heat. I am going to buy an infrared lamp...its really good and very effective...maybe u can try!
big bear hug
Avatar universal
Heat on my shoulders/back, but ice on my head.  If you buy one of those ice pack things from the drug store, they melt in <10 min, and that's enough.  There must be something in it besides water because it's kind of mushy, so it conforms to your head.

As for sleep, I usually fall asleep ok, but often don't stay asleep.  I've tried all the herbs & a couple drugs, no caffeine after noon, to no avail.  I take 5mg Valium prn.  I try Not to, because it's so difficult to get & keep the Rx.  (One of these days, I'm going to investigate why--the drug is cheap & effective!).
620923 tn?1452919248

  Hi...Ice is for swelling and heat helps with tight muscles...I did not use ice at all as with EDS I can not stand the cold it is like being burned it hurts me more to have ice on me....but the heat was wonderful.

  15 mins on at a time...no more or it can do more harm then good and that goes with ice as well u have to move it if u feel like it is too cold.....u can burn urself.....

  Use the heat b4 and after all neck exercises to allow it to loosen the muscles more.
Avatar universal
Ive had several sprains, & always refused to use ice.  I don't even want ice in my water.   But my son gave me this mushy ice thing, which isn't too cold.  You still need to have a cloth between it & your skin, like with any ice treatment.
620923 tn?1452919248

I agree, but even with the cloth, I have problems, I can not hold a glass filled with ice with out wrapping the glass in a towel and even then it is too much to hold on to....the cold hurts, it goes right thru to the nerve or something....

But when the muscles r tight, u need heat...Ice makes me tense up so not the right thing....u have to know what u r trying to do b4 u use either.
1968463 tn?1374761413
Heat has always helped me more than ice...especially around the neck area. I feel as if I could have a permanent heat  pack attached to my neck and my back, I would feel so much better....lol. I know it has to be used in moderation though. I was just wondering what your experiences were between heat and ice and the effects to you each seperately.

Iris ~ yes, I am on valium now...but I only have a few left and I know how hard it is to get it refilled. I am just wondering if I can have my NS refill them, or if I should go to my pcp, because it does let up the tenseness in my neck the best and it also helps me rest.  

Thank you all for your input. It is interesting to see the difference.
Selma ~ I have always felt like ice burned my skin as well, I could never stand it, though there is no evidence that I have EDS. My NS has already ruled that out before surgery. However, it is still thought that I have FM so that could be the culprit.
620923 tn?1452919248

  How did ur Dr rule it out? Did u go to a rheumatoid Dr or a geneticist?....Some look for all joints to be hyper mobile and that is not all EDSers, not all will be flexible and have those issues, it is one of the ways to look, but not the only way.

When I get cold I hurt more ...so ice never worked for me, in fact one time I went for cortizone shots in my ankle, they sprayed it with a freeze type spray b4 the injection and I got frost  bite from the spray...there was a mark  there for a full yr.
1306714 tn?1327260680
I use heat now and it helps, but I was also told to watch this because it does help to relax the muscle, but when it cools down your muscles tighten back up.  I would rotate them and see if this helps.  I have been on Abien for night time and it does help.  Maybe you could try this and see if it helps.  We need sleep and rest to help heal.  Hope things get better.
Linda :)
Avatar universal
I used ice for the inflammation for the first 6 weeks.  Then heat when the muscles tense up around my neck.  I take Xanax before bed as it relaxes everything so I can sleep.  Advil PM works for me also to sleep, but I get a hangover from it.
1968463 tn?1374761413
Selma, I was unaware of the need to see a geneticist for EDS. My NS had a series of tests ordered before surgery to rule out or to have info on related conditions. I have DDD, he said there was evidence that a small synrix was starting to form, but ever so slight. I also have a retroflexed odontoid, he ruled out t.c., and some others that are escaping me mentally at the moment. I saw a slew of specialists that he works with for his patients. I don't think I ever saw a geneticist though. But after hearing so much about the necessity of all of the testing I remember being very fierce that all of the  testing be done....I just didn't wind up using all of the fierce energy because he was the one that brought it up.
2178416 tn?1337617593
I also did an ice pack for my head and heat for my neck/back. My surgery was 6 days after diagnosis, so before, I didn't know what was wrong with me......I took excedrine tension headache for the headaches.  I ended up having severe hydrocephalus, so I believe my headaches mostly were from that.  You must be very careful with your daily doseage of acitamenaphen (sp?). It is in NyQuil, so be careful with what you are mixing?  I would take the excedrine and methocarbomol ( muscle relaxer) before bed.

In the hospital:  I was on several different meds.  Before surgery, it was Fioricet and morphine ( morphine didn't help, just made me loopy AND in pain)
After surgery in ICU - Fentinol ( iv) and pericidomol ( Tylenol, but in an iv drip...isn't used much in the states). This was the best combination of pain meds I had.  Along with the decadron for swelling, it helped tremendously.  

Regular ward- Tylenol and Percocet.  I wasn't allowed any kind of ibuprofen.  Was offered daloded (sp?) as an out patient, but had never tried it, so I said no.  I had the Percocet refilled twice.  One of the refills was just for 2 weeks and then the 2nd refill was for 45 days.  I didn't take them all.  I hate Percocet.  It made me itchy all over!  I only took it 2 or 3 times a day n the beginning.  By week 3, I mostly only took it at night.  Taper off it though, or you can have withdrawal symptoms.  
2178416 tn?1337617593
And caffeine didn't bother me, which is why I could take the excedrine.  Caffeine was the only thing that took away my pain.  Isn't insomnia one of the common symptoms?
Avatar universal
So your surgery was an emergency?  That must have been so scary!

I hate Percoset too; all it did was make me constipated.  I was to.d that I could have Ibuprofen in between the Percoset, so I just kept eliminating the Percoset.  At least it can be taken on an empty stomach though.
I miss the decadron; it made me feel great.
1968463 tn?1374761413
Thanks for all the info. I have an amazing pain specialist, and he makes sure that all of his patients are well educated on the amount of acetimenophen (sp), and other products and meds as well that you should limit to each day to avoid damage or overdose. So, I make sure to manage that. The walmart brand of NyQuil has less acetimenophnen than the actual Nyquil so that helps. I am and have been on various pain meds not only for surgery or Chiari, but I have some serious disc and back issues that cause alot of pain, that none of the actual over the counter meds can touch...that was why I was originally in pain management. I am normally on Lortab, but myu body was so used to it, that after surgery...it couldn't touch the pain. So I am on the percocet due to that. I think that insomnia is definitely a symptom even though it is not listed on  the "actual" symptom list. I am so sorry to hear that you had to have surgery so quickly. I am having a problem with the fact that I cannot see my pain specialist until I am released from my NS, however...there are still meds that I need that my NS has yet to fill...such as the xanax for sleeping problems as well as the anxiety. I have always been on a super low dose of it though to avoid any type of withdrawl. I am home with 3 kids all day by myslef...and have been since a week and a half post op--meaning that I am back t o FULL cooking and cleaning duty with no choice...so my pain is lasting longer than most that are able to recover with lots of rest. I don;t get to sit down much less take naps and rest. Even thoguh insomnia is a symptom and I have had it for a long time....I have been on meds to help me sleep for 2 years....so though others may not need help with it...I DO !!!!!
I am sorry to hear that your surgery was such an emergency and that you had all of that to deal with so quickly...for someone like me that has been on morphine, lortab, elavil, neurotin, and norflex as well as xanax, not only for the chiari but for other problems as well....Going from all of those meds to almost none of them...is impossible. I am in alot of pain all day everyday and need my NS to help me with that. I also don;t suffer from the effects like the itching and etc.. of it so it helps me.
Avatar universal
I felt that the Percoset interfered w/ my sleep too, & I've read others here who said it gave them nightmares.

I'd be Interested to know how a Caine medicine would work, as opposed to opiates.  I don't think it's used medicinally though, except for dental.  I would like to be numb!

I'm very sorry that your recovery has been so difficult and long.  I feel that i have more than enough "have to's" without children, justme & 4 pets.  I hope you have better days ahead!
Have an Answer?
Top Neurology Answerers
620923 tn?1452919248
Allentown, PA
987762 tn?1331031553
1756321 tn?1547098925
Queensland, Australia
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Find out how beta-blocker eye drops show promising results for acute migraine relief.
In this special Missouri Medicine report, doctors examine advances in diagnosis and treatment of this devastating and costly neurodegenerative disease.
Here are 12 simple – and fun! – ways to boost your brainpower.
Discover some of the causes of dizziness and how to treat it.
Discover the common causes of headaches and how to treat headache pain.
Two of the largest studies on Alzheimer’s have yielded new clues about the disease