Both ice packs and heat packs can provide relief for sciatica pain, states Spine-health. Cold packs reduce inflammation and numb the tissue in the affected area. Hot packs relax the muscles and dilate blood vessels to bring oxygen and nutrients to the area, which can speed healing.
Sciatica occurs when disc problems or other back issues compress the nerve roots that form the beginning of the sciatic nerve, explains Spine-health. The nerve continues through the pelvis and branches to run down each leg; pain may be felt anywhere along the nerve's path. Some patients find relief by alternating ice packs or ice massages with hot packs. Anti-inflammatory medications may also provide pain relief.