There is no substitute for a good heating pad when you are cold or in need of pain relief. With a heating pad, you will feel nice and toasty faster than a simple blanket. The best part is that you can use both to create the perfect level of warmth.
Electric heating pads come in a variety of sizes. Alternatively, you can save some money by opting for non-electric heating pads such as synthetic and microwaveable ones that are common for simple pain relief. Take into account your needs when deciding what kind you want. Are you seeking a basic boost to your body’s temperature or do you want finer control?
If you want to keep warm indoors or relieve pain but don’t know where to start, consider our helpful guide to heating pads. The article contains information like important features to consider.
Who Is Heating Pads For?
Many people purchase heating pads to treat pain, whether it is chronic, recurrent, or just occasionally occurs.
Heating pads are also used by people to help them relax after long days at work. Those who like them find they provide a great warm-up during the cold weather.
Types of Pain
As mentioned above, heating pads are sometimes helpful for relieving pain, but not in all instances. Using a heating pad can help with the following pain types:
A heating pad can relieve muscle soreness caused by overexertion. An example would be you resting your back or legs against a heating pad after vigorous exercise.
Heat pads can be used to alleviate certain types of back pain.
When osteoarthritis and other conditions cause stiff and painful joints, a heating pad can provide relief.
Heating pads can improve cramps and spasms of most kinds. Menstrual cramps and neuropathic spasms are among the conditions that are related to this complication.
Many kinds of pain and sensitivity can be alleviated with heating pads, including pain related to fibromyalgia, drug withdrawal, and vitamin D deficiency.
Heat should not be used to treat some types of pain. Burns, cuts, infections, and inflammations all fall within this category. (A cold may reduce inflammation.)
Moist Heat VS. Dry Heat
Dry heat is the most common type of heating pad. As a result, the pad heats up without becoming moist or wet in any way.
In addition to dry heat, the PureRelief XL offers moist heat as well. It varies from model to model, but most products come with a moistening sponge that can be inserted into the pad and moistened.
Is it because moist heat is better than dry heat? The following are a few reasons:
- Moisturized air dehydrates the skin less than dry air.
- It’s beneficial to treat deep muscle pain with moist heat because it penetrates more deeply under the skin.
- Moist heat can alleviate pain more effectively for some people.
Heating Pad Types
Many types of heating pads are available on the market, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Listed below is an analysis of the characteristics of electric, microwaveable, and chemical heat pads.
Electric heating pads
Among heating pads, these are considered “gold standard.” For chronic conditions that require regular heat relief, an electric pad is what you need.
Electric heating pads may provide dry heat, moist heat, or both depending on the model and make.
It is possible to adjust the temperature of an electric pad so that it perfectly fits your needs. As such, it provides more versatility than some types.
Electrical heating pads require a wall outlet to work, which is their main disadvantage. Using it on the go is difficult.
Microwavable heating pads
Microwave heating pads, as the name suggests, are warmed up in a microwave. Our list of products includes a microwave Activated Moist Heat Pad that demonstrates this technology perfectly.
A microwaveable pad is usually filled with thermal microbeads or natural materials, such as wheat grain. Their heat lasts several hours after they are heated in the microwave.
Affordable pads like these are available for purchase.
This type of heating pad might be right for you if you want a heating pad for relaxation and occasional pain relief (such as menstrual cramps).
Chemical heating pads
By breaking them, shaking them, or exposing them to air, these heating pads warm-up via a chemical reaction. Air exposure provides the power for Beyond BodiHeat Original.
It typically takes about 20 minutes for these products to reach full temperature.
If the pad is heated, it can be applied either directly to your skin or to the outer layer of your clothing. You need to place the pad according to its make and the amount of heat it emits.
You can attach these pads to your problem area and proceed to work, the grocery store, or wherever you need to go – and you’ll experience pain relief throughout the day.
After a while, chemical heating pads can become a bit pricey, especially if you have to use them every day.
The temperature control feature of chemical heating pads is not available.
Features of Heating Pads
While you can’t fine-tune the temperature of heating pads made from chemical or microwavable materials, every heating pad made from electricity can be set at a higher temperature.
Standard heating pads have only three settings, such as the Sunbeam 756-500 Heating Pad. The higher the price point, the more sophisticated the thermostat is.
Almost all electric heating pads are equipped with an automatic shutoff feature for safety reasons. After a period of time, the pad will be turned off. For example, the PureRelief XL has a two-hour shut-off feature, so it turns off automatically after that period of time.
Although auto-shutoff can be frustrating for some users, you can switch the pad back on again if you still want to use it, and this feature greatly reduces the risk of fire – especially if you like to use your heating pad while you sleep.
A material layer must be placed between yourself and the heating pad to prevent scalding. In any case, a soft material should be chosen if it is going to be in contact with your skin.
A reusable heating pad’s cover is usually made of a fabric-like fleece or flannel. Using the Chattanooga Theratherm, for example, the manufacturer claims that a flannel cover wicks moisture from the air and distributes it to the skin for a deeper level of therapeutic benefit.
PureRelief XL’s comforting microplush material may even be more appealing to some people. A moist heat option is also available with this heating pad.
Look for heating pads that are flexible enough to mould to the contours of your problem areas or to wrap around aching limbs if you’re trying to find relief from pain.
A heating pad’s cord length plays a significant role in its effectiveness. The shorter the cord, the closer to the outlet you must sit or the more extension cords you must use.
Nine feet of the cord should be enough for most users of the PureRelief XL. You will not need a cord for microwavable and chemical heating pads, however. In a therapeutic session, you would definitely be more flexible physically.
You’ll need a different sized heating pad based on what you plan to use it for. If it’s only for warming up or relaxing, a smaller model will probably be satisfactory for your needs. For small areas of pain, such as those in your wrists or knees, it is also effective.
You’ll need to look for one that has sufficient size if you wish to wrap it around your whole body or lay it down your spine.
Heated pads come in all shapes, sizes, and types, so the price may vary for each.
Generally, a good microwavable heating pad or simple electric heating pad with dry heat will cost you between $10 and $20.
A medium-sized electric heating pad with moisture control can be had for $25 to $30, or you can get 24 chemical heating pads for $1 each.
From $30 to $40, you can get an electric heating pad that has six or more heat settings and is moist or dry. There is a PureRelief XL which comes with six temperature settings.
An ultra-large, high-end heating pad with temperature controls that you can customize will set you back $60 or more.
Q. What are the risks associated with using heating pads?
A. The use of heating pads, especially electric ones, poses some safety concerns. However, you should not avoid them. To keep your heating pad safe, follow these tips.
Do not fall asleep with an electric heating pad unless it has an automatic shut-off feature. Look out for charred spots or frayed wires. In case of this type of problem, replace the product.
Microwave heating pads should never be heated for longer than the specified time or on a hotter setting than intended.
If you use a heating pad on the highest setting, keep it away from any combustible materials.
Q. What is the best type of heating pad?
A. There is no one “best” type of heating pad. It’s important to find the one that’s right for you.
Electric heating pads are likely the best choice if you want to alleviate pain at home. We recommend using a microwavable heating pad if you just want to warm up or to relax.
Q. Heat relieves pain in what way?
A. The use of heat to relieve certain forms of pain has been around for centuries. It dilates the blood vessels when you apply heat to an area of the body, making it easier for oxygen and nutrients to get through. Speeding up the healing process can help.
Skin’s pain receptors are also reduced by heat, resulting in fewer pain signals reaching the brain.
Aside from this, heat can help loosen up tight muscles and soft tissues, alleviating soreness and pain.