Basically, there’re Heating Pads & Ice Packs that can help soothe your Arthritis, back, or even neck pains. Bearing in mind, an Arthritis Condition is an inflammation of the joints. Whereby, it can affect one joint or multiple joints. And there are more than 100 different types, with different causes and treatment methods.
Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling are the most common symptoms of Arthritis. Your range of motion may also decrease, and you may experience redness of the skin around the joint. Many people with arthritis notice their symptoms are worse in the morning. In the case of Rheumatoid Arthritis, you may feel tired or experience a loss of appetite.
Due to the inflammation, the immune system’s activity causes. And also, you may also become anemic. Meaning your red blood cell count decreases — or have a slight fever. Severe RA can cause joint deformity if left untreated.
What are Heating Pads?
Of course, Yes! You guessed it right! The heating pads are one of the best sources of relief for sore necks and backs. And whereas, applying heat can help reduce pain in strained or overexerted muscles.
Not forgetting, muscle spasms, joint pain, and stiffness in your back can limit mobility and interfere with physical activities. While medication can be effective at knocking out inflammation, heat therapy also works for back pain. This type of therapy isn’t anything new.
In fact, its history dates to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians who used the sun’s rays as therapy. The Chinese and Japanese would even use hot springs as therapy for pain.
Making your own heating pad is a quick and easy way to soothe your sore muscles and joints with materials around your home.
What are the Benefits of Heat Therapy?
The most important aspect of heat therapy is its ability to increase blood flow to the painful areas. Heat opens up blood vessels, which allows for blood and oxygen to flow more readily to the sore areas.
And in general, heat therapy tends to reduce muscle spasms as well, causing the muscles, ligaments, and tendons to relax. Not to mention, doctors sometimes recommend using heating pads for relief from menstrual cramps or urinary tract infections. In these cases, apply a heating pad to the abdomen.
Additionally, heat therapy is an effective remedy for back pain because it boosts circulation, which then allows nutrients and oxygen to travel to joints and muscles. This circulation helps repair damaged muscles, relieves inflammation, and improves back stiffness.
Any type of heat therapy can help relieve back pain. Yet, heating pads are ideal because they’re convenient and portable. One more benefit of a hot tub and shower over a bath is continuous heat similar to a heating pad.
They’re also electric, so you can use them anywhere in your home, such as lying in bed or sitting on the couch. Hot warm baths provide moist heat, which also promotes circulation and reduces muscle pain and stiffness.
A bath might work better if you have pain or stiffness in other parts of your body, too. The problem with baths, though, is that it’s difficult to maintain the water temperature. That water will slowly cool down.
On the other hand, heating pads have adjustable levels and provide a continuous flow of heat — for as long as the pad is turned on. If you don’t have a heating pad, taking a warm shower or relaxing in a hot tub may also relieve back pain and stiffness.
Which are the Best Types of Heating Pads?
For instance, different heating pads are available for back pain. This includes a standard electric heating pad that offers multiple heat settings.
There’s also the option of an infrared heating pad. And this is helpful for moderate to severe pain since the heat penetrates deeper into the muscles.
Important to realize, when shopping for a heating pad, look for one that has an automatic shut-off feature to prevent overheating and burns, in case you fall asleep on the pad.
You can find electric heat pads at your local pharmacy or rather shop online.
1. Electric Heating Pads
To enumerate, electric heating pads are the most commonly used heat therapies. But, can get hot quickly and injure the skin, so it’s important to use them correctly.
To start, set the heating pad on the lowest setting. For minor aches and pain, a low setting might be more than enough to reduce pain and stiffness. You can gradually increase the intensity of heat if needed.
There are no hard or fast rules regarding how long to use a heating pad on your back. It all depends on the level of pain and your tolerance to heat. Even so, if you use a heating pad on a high setting, remove after 15 to 30 minutes to avoid burns.
On a low setting, you can use the heating pad for a longer period, maybe up to one hour. Here’re The 4 Best Electric Heating Pads.
But, use caution if you’re pregnant!
If you’re pregnant and have back pain, it’s safe to use a heating pad. You should avoid prolonged exposure since overheating can be dangerous to a fetus.
For one thing, it can lead to neural tube defects or other complications. And this is more probable in a hot tub or sauna but err on the side of caution. Use a heating pad on the lowest setting while pregnant, and only for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Since heating pads decrease pain signals and increase circulation, use the pad soon after developing painful flares or stiffness to speed the healing process. Read and learn more about Can you use a heating pad while pregnant?
2. Gel Packs
If you don’t have a heating pad on hand, you can use a heat wrap or heated gel pack underneath your clothes.
Hot and Cold Therapy has come a much longer way than you think. From the frozen peas and hot water bottles of the past, we now have instant cold packs. As well as, gel packs, and clay packs to relieve people from pain, stiff muscles, and inflammation.
But, The question is, which hot and cold device is the best for you?
Before using a gel pack, place it in the microwave for about 1 to 2 minutes (follow package instructions), and then apply to a sore back. You can also use certain gel packs for cold therapy.
You can find heat wraps and gel packs at your local pharmacy or even shop for gel packs online.
3. Ice Pads
A sore, stiff back makes it difficult to do just about everything from exercising to working. Heat therapy might be the secret to reducing inflammation and stiffness.
And as can be seen, from my earlier illustration, if you don’t have a heating pad, consider a hot shower, bath, or a homemade heating pad. And of course, these can provide the results you need to get moving again. But, what about when to use heat and when to use ice?
Always keep in mind that heat isn’t recommended for every type of back pain. It can relieve chronic pain and stiffness, such as those associated with arthritis and other muscle or joint ailments.
However, if your back injury is recent, cold therapy is more effective because it restricts blood vessels and reduces swelling, which can dull pain.
Use cold therapy for the first 24 to 48 hours after an injury, and then switch to heat therapy to stimulate blood flow and healing.
How do I Make a Homemade Heating Pad?
Instant cold packs are a great addition to every first aid kit and emergency bag. These nifty little packs don’t need a fridge to get cold.
For one thing, you can store them at room temperature. And simply activate its contents when you need them.
Once it’s cold, you can then apply the instant cold pack to the affected area to get pain relief and reduce possible swelling, even when you’re outdoors.
If you don’t have a heating pad, you can make your own using items already in your house.
Making your own: Method 1
But, for this to work, you’ll need an old cotton sock, regular rice, and a sewing machine, or a needle and thread.
- Fill the old sock with rice, leaving just enough space at the top of the sock to sew the ends together.
- Next, put the sock in the microwave for about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Once the microwave stops, carefully remove the sock and apply it to your back. If the sock is too hot, let it cool or wrap it in a cloth before using it.
- You can also use the rice sock as a cold pack. Just put it in the freezer before applying to acute injuries.
Making your own: Method 2
Nathan Wei, MD, a board-certified rheumatologist and former head of the Arthritis Treatment Center in Maryland, offers a simple method for making your own heating pad.
- two hand towels
- a ziplock bag
- a microwave
- Start by wetting both towels with water.
- Squeeze out the excess water until they’re just damp.
- Put one towel in the ziplock bag, being sure to leave the bag open.
- Place the bag in the microwave and heat on high for 2 minutes.
- Remove the bag from the microwave. Be careful — it will be hot!
- Seal the ziplock bag, and wrap the other wet towel around the bag.
- Apply your homemade heating pad to the sore area.
The heat should last about 20 minutes.
Making your own: Method 3
Like most people, you probably have a drawer in your house for orphaned socks.
Well, now you can put those lonely socks to good use! If neck and shoulder pain is causing you trouble, all you need is a sock and some rice.
This pad works best if you use a bigger sock, like a tube sock.
- Fill the sock with rice.
- But, leave enough room at the top so you can close the opening by either sewing it shut or tying it with a rubber band or string.
- Microwave on high for 2 minutes.
- Remove from the microwave (again, be careful, it will be hot).
- Apply to your neck or shoulder.
- If you need more time once the heating pad has gone cold, microwave again for 1 minute and reapply.
Making your own heating pad is cost-efficient and safer than using an electric heating pad.
It also saves you a trip to the store, when you’re too sore to leave the house.
All in all, schedule an appointment with your doctor if muscle and joint pain persist for several days.
Dangers, Precautions & Safety Tips
Be sure to follow the instructions for using your electric heating pad.
In particular, to prevent burns, electric shocks, and fire.
Never use a heating pad on:
- people with diabetes
- people who have had a stroke
- anyone with a decreased ability to sense pain
In reality, heating pads are effective for pain management.
But they can be dangerous when used improperly.
Here are a few safety tips to avoid injury:
- First, don’t place a heating pad or heated gel pack directly on your skin. Wrap it in a towel before applying it to the skin to avoid burns.
- Secondly, don’t fall asleep using a heating pad.
- When using a heating pad, start on the lowest level and slowly increase the heat intensity.
- Then again, don’t use a heating pad that has a cracked or broken electrical cord.
- Lastly, don’t apply a heating pad to damaged skin.
Heating pads can be used while pregnant to ease any pain in the muscles or joints. So long as they do not raise the woman’s body temperature too much.
Obstetricians and midwives routinely caution against the use of hot tubs during pregnancy. And so, it is understandable that women may worry about other heat sources during pregnancy, including heating pads.
Particularly in the third trimester as ligaments shift and the weight of the uterus increases, many women experience back and abdominal pain.
Usually, it’s okay to use a heating pad for brief periods, and it may be safer than other pain relievers, such as ibuprofen.
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Finally, I hope the above guide on Heating Pads was useful. But, if you’ll have additional questions, recommendations, or even suggestions, please Contact Us or share them in the comments box below.
You can as well as go ahead and Buy Sunbeam Heating Pad for Pain Relief on Amazon (XL King Size UltraHeat, 3 Heat Settings with Moist Heat | Light Blue, 12-Inch x 24-Inch).
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