Wet and Dry Heat Options
Some heating pads can be dampened to apply a moist heat to the sore part of the body. Moist heat can often penetrate more deeply into the muscles, providing relief from pain. The Arthritis Foundation recommends using a moist heat pad to ease stiff joints. Moist heat can also be used to help to limber up joints in preparation for exercise.
Some heating pads can be used either wet or dry, whereas others need to be kept dry in order to be used safely. Follow the directions on the heating pad carefully, and keep water away from electrical cords to reduce the risk of accidents.
A heating pad with multiple heat settings is a convenient choice, as it allows you to apply as much heat as you need. The ideal heat setting will vary according to whether or not you are using the pad over or under your clothes. Your comfort is also an important consideration. Always follow the recommended heat settings and do not use the pad for longer than stated in the instructions or advised by your health care provider.
Automatic Shut-Off Functionality
Electric heating pads are self-heating, which means that they can provide long-lasting heat. For safety, many pads have an automatic shut-off. This is important as some people fall asleep when using a heating pad.
Microwavable Heating Pads
If you’re not crazy about the idea of using a heating pad with a cord or you’d like the flexibility of being able to move around the house, consider a microwavable heating pad. Be sure to follow the instructions for heating time and usage.
You can also find heating pads that wrap around your spine to provide deep, penetrating relief from pain. Some heat wraps can also be placed in the freezer, so that you can use cold and heat interchangeably.
How Hot Water Bottles Work
While hot water bottles may seem low-tech, they offer a very simple and affordable way to benefit from heat therapy. To use a hot water bottle, simply fill it with warm water. Be careful to make sure that the water you use is not too hot. It should be comfortable to the touch. While hot water bottles can be used therapeutically, some people also find them comforting during cold weather. A hot water bottle can be an effective way of staying warm at night during the winter.
Words of Caution
If you are suffering from an acute injury or chronic muscle pain, then you should speak to your doctor before beginning heat therapy to make sure that it is appropriate for you. There are other options available for addressing various types of pain. You may be able to use heat therapy alongside other types of treatment. Your doctor can also give you advice about when and for how long to use a heating pad.
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