Too much sitting down combined with hard workout can easily lead to joint pain, muscle spasms or overall body stiffness, which can make any type of physical activity way harder. Heat therapy is one of the oldest ways to fight this issue and in modern time the main tool comes in the shape of a heating pad for the back.
In this article, we’ll show you everything you should know about the back heating pad so you know what benefits it provides and how to properly use it to achieve these benefits.
Heating Therapy Through History
Although heating pads are modern era product, this type of therapy is being used since ancient times. First written traces about heat therapy come from ancient Egypt and 5th century BC, while it has also been one of the main recovery tools in ancient Greece, Rome, China, and Japan, among all the others.
One of the most famous heat therapy users was Hippocrates, while instead of heating pads, in these countries were used hot rocks.
What Is Heat Therapy Good For?
From the early beginning, heat therapy has been used to cure everything – from arthritis, neuritis, rheumatism, to high fever. It is also considered to be quite helpful with muscle spasms, body stiffness, many respiratory and digestive problems, among the others.
How Does It Work
The main way the head therapy helps is by improving your blood circulation. As your blood moves easier through your body, oxygen and other positive stuff will reach your muscles and joints easier and kickstart any needed damage repair. This will result in relieving inflammation, lowered or completely healed back stiffness, etc, which will eventually lead to relieving pain.
How To Use Heating Pad For Back
To achieve any of these benefits, it is important to learn how to use the back heating pad properly:
Watch The Heat
Heating pads can become hot rather fast, so it is important to be extra careful and pay attention to their settings. To avoid any unwanted surprises, start with the lowest setting. This should be enough for any kind of small-intensity pain or stiffness. If it doesn’t help, you can increase the heat.
The Length Of Use
There is no limitation regarding the time you should spend using the heating pads if you’re endurable and heat-tolerant. However, to avoid any negative side effects like burns or overheating, especially if you use it on the high setting, try to limit your session to half an hour at max.
If you go with the lower setting, the time can be increased up to an hour with the lowest one.
Heating Pad For Back In Pregnancy
During pregnancy, back pains can occur and increase over time, so it is good to have something to help lower the pain. A heating pad will help with exactly that, but don’t use it too much. Limit your time to 15 minutes to avoid any negative effects on the baby or possible complications. Also, read our Heating Pad While Pregnant guide.
Main Heating Pad Benefits
Here are some of the main benefits back heating pads provide:
- Arthritis pain. By increasing your body temperature, sore joints become more relaxed and the pain level decreases.
- Lower back pain.
- Shoulder, neck or any other muscle pain.
- Menstrual cramps – place the hot pad to your abdomen and it will relax your muscles.
- Headache – take the pad and place it around the neck. It will relieve both neck and head pain.
- Ear pain – In case of ear pain, simply place your ear on a hot pad and press it. It will bring instant relief.
Most Important Safety Tips
There are also some of the safety tips you should follow to minimize the chance of something going wrong. Remember, heating pads can achieve high temperatures, which could lead to serious damage if you ignore the safety aspect:
- Avoid placing either pad or heating gel to skin without any protection. Direct contact can end up with burns, so you should wrap it up in a towel before you apply it.
- Stay awake! Falling asleep may sound relaxing, but if you keep the pad on for too long you may end up with serious damage to your body.
- Check if all the electrical cords are fine. If some are broken or even just cracked, don’t risk and use it.
- Start from the lowest temperature and slowly increase it if needed.
- If you have any rash or skin damage, don’t use the heating pad in that area.
Homemade Heating Pad
The best option is to go and purchase a heating pad, whether electrical or infrared heating pad, but if you can’t wait, there is a solution. All you need are:
- Old cotton sock
- Regular rice
- Sewing machine or a needle and a thread
Take that old sock and fill it up with rice, while making sure there is enough space so you can join the top of the sock together.
Place it in a microwave for up to 5 minutes. When that time passes, take the sock and place it where you want. In case it is too hot, just wrap the sock in a towel.
When To Go With Cold Therapy
Although heat therapy is great and healthy, it is not the best solution for every injury or condition. If you have a problem with stiffness, arthritis or overall muscle or joint pain, then heat therapy is recommended. However, if the pain is a result of an injury, then it is better to go with the cold therapy in the first 24 to 48 hours. This way you’ll reduce swelling and lower the pain at the beginning. After two days, turn to heat therapy.
You could use sock and rice for cold therapy, too. Fill the sock, sew it together and place it in a freezer.
Heating Pads Alternatives
There are a few heating pad alternatives:
- Warm shower
- Hot tub or Jacuzzi bath
- Warm bath
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about heating pad for back:
Q: Are heating pads good for back pain?
Yes. Heating pads will help you relieve the pain and speed the recovery process up, so you’ll become mobile sooner rather than later.
Q: How long should I put a heating pad on my back?
About 15 minutes in you should start to feel some relief. If you use it on the highest setting, don’t leave it on for more than 30 minutes. This can rise up to an hour on the lowest setting, but it is not recommended going that long, so around 45 minutes will be more than enough.
Q: Can heat make back pain worse?
Yes! Avoid using the heat pads on inflamed areas, infected areas, fresh wounds… If you deal with any of these, you should go with cold therapy. Just to make sure, visit your doctor before you start using the heating pad.
Globo Surf Overview
A heating pad is one of the best ways to fight muscle pain, stiffness, and similar conditions. It will speed the recovery process up. This article is a great starting point and it will show you what to do, so you know how to stay completely safe during the usage of the back heating pad.