According to Stephen H. Hochschuler, MD, at Spine Health.com, the term sciatica describes the symptoms of leg pain and possibly tingling, numbness or weakness that travels from the low back through the buttock and down the large sciatic nerve in the back of the leg. He goes on to say, "The vast majority of people who experience sciatica get better with time (usually a few weeks or months) and find pain relief with non-surgical sciatica treatment. For others, however, sciatica can be severe and debilitating. An important thing to understand is that sciatica is a symptom of a problem—of something compressing or irritating the nerve roots that comprise the sciatic nerve—rather than a medical diagnosis or medical disorder in and of itself. During an episode of sciatica, there are a number of non-surgical treatment options available to help alleviate the sciatic pain and discomfort. For acute sciatica pain, heat and/or ice packs are most readily available and can help alleviate the leg pain, especially in the initial phase. Usually ice or heat is applied for approximately 20 minutes, and repeated every two hours. Most people use ice first, but some people find more relief with heat. The two may be alternated to help with sciatica pain relief." The Thermophore Classic™ Deep-Heat therapy system has long been known as a convenient, effective method of providing penetrating moist heat to help relieve all types of pain and stiffness. It reaches much higher temperatures than ordinary heating pads, and is even classified as a medical device by the FDA. There is no need to add any water to the unit - atmospheric moisture is captured by the special flannel cover and released when the intense heat is activated. Because of the higher levels of heat needed to be truly effective, the unit is provided with a special safety switch that lets users constantly control the level of heat, and will shut off if they become drowsy or inattentive. The Thermophore® MaxHEAT therapy system provides all the intense moist heat you have come to expect from the original Thermophore®, with the added convenience of a hands-free on/off switch. Just press the button and relax, while the MaxHEAT pad quickly begins to penetrate sore, stiff joints and relax muscle spasms. When the heat reaches your individual comfort level, just press the Off button to let the unit cool a bit. This cycle of heating and cooling will help to increase circulation, relax muscles and relieve pain and stiffness. The switch also has a built-in 20-minute timer, to shut the MaxHEAT system off if you happen to fall asleep or are interrupted during your therapy session. Our Ice It!® ColdCOMFORT Therapy Systems were designed to complement the moist heat therapy provided by the Thermophore® Deep-Heat therapy. It provides the same safe, convenient, effective therapy you have come to expect from Thermophore.com. The soft foam-lined fabric pouches hold reusable, non-toxic cold packs that stay pliable even fully frozen and are ready for use in just 20 minutes. Wide elastic bands with Velcro® closures allow unlimited positioning with no need to hold the cold pack in place. Available in a variety of styles to suit a variety of needs.