Heating Pads: The Complete Guide 


Best Heating Pads

If you need to manage your pain effectively without taking any pain medication, then a heating pad might be just what you need to get the job done. But with so many of them on the market, it can often prove quite a challenge finding the most effective ones. Owing to that, we entered into the marketplace ourselves and went through the painstaking job of sifting through the myriads of heating pads with the sole aim of getting the best. And at the end of a very thorough and successful research, we were able to separate the most effective from the less effective. Below are our top picks:

Pure Relief XL Heating Pad

Pure Enrichment’s Pure Relief XL is a state-of-the-art heating pad, which soothes muscle pain and spasm in a matter of minutes. The pad achieves this result by facilitating the flow of blood to the affected area. A micromink top and polyester bottom guarantees maximum comfort during use. Some of the pad’s other features include: a quick-heat technology, which produces heat in just a matter of seconds; a moist heat option, which makes thorough muscle penetration and healing possible; and a 2-hour auto shut off, which saves you energy as well as unnecessary burns from excess heat. And what’s more, the pad’s large size (12 by 24 inches) makes it spacious enough for usage on the legs, shoulders, abdomen, arms, and back. With an LCD controller, you can comfortably switch between 6 different temperature settings including high, medium and low. Pure Relief is machine washable, which helps to avoid germs while keeping its aesthetic appeal intact. The pad comes with a 9-foot long cord that gives you more than enough room to use it on your bed or your favorite chair away from the socket. It also comes with a 5-year warranty and a storage bag that keeps it safe when it is not being used.

>>> See Specifications & Read Customer Reviews on Amazon! <<<

 Features at a Glance 

  • Has 6 different temperature settings that can be easily adjusted with a digital LCD controller.
  • Comes with an auto shut-off system that enhances safety and conserves energy.
  • It is machine washable.
  • Has a storage bag that keeps the pad safe.
  • Features moist and dry heat therapy options.
  • The manufacturers support it with a 5-year warranty.

Read Customer Reviews & Buy it on amazon.com

Pure Relief Neck & Shoulder Heating Pad

If you are impatient with massages and are looking for an effective and quick substitute, the Pure Relief Neck & Shoulder Heating Pad is here for you. Thanks to this pad’s fast-heating technology, it heats within seconds to give you the relief you need as quickly as possible. The pad, which is designed to lie comfortably around your shoulder and neck as it gives you fast relief from muscle tension and pains, comes with a magnetic closure whose primary goal is to fasten the pad in place so that it doesn’t fall off during use. This machine washable pad also gives you the option to choose between two heat therapies – the dry heat therapy and the moist heat therapy. The ultra soft and smooth micromink fibers on both sides of the pad provide cushion and comfort for your neck and shoulders. The pad comes with a LED controller that allows users to seamlessly choose between four heating options. And with an auto shut-off function, the pad automatically turns off after 2 hours of running in order to avoid exorbitant levels of heat as well as wastage of energy. This 14″x22″ Pure Relief offers a great deal of agility to its users thanks to its 9-foot long cord, which permits moving around. Aside all these amazing features, this charcoal gray colored pad also comes with a portable storage bag that keeps it protected and a 5-year warranty that tells you how much faith the manufacturers have in the product.

>>> See Specifications & Read Customer Reviews on Amazon! <<<

 Features at a Glance 

  • Fits very comfortably around the shoulders and neck.
  • Features 4 different heat settings and a fast heating technology.
  • Can be machine washed.
  • Has an automatic shut-off system.
  • Comes with both moist and dry heat options.
  • Has a storage bag.
  • Backed by a 5-year warranty.

Read Customer Reviews & Buy it on amazon.com

Heating Pad Gift Set of 2 – Shoulder & Neck Heating Pad and Extra-Large 12 x 24 Inch Heating Wrap for Back or Abdominal Pain Relief

DrRelief’s Heating Pad Gift Set of 2 really brings thermotherapy to your doorsteps, making it a wonderful present. The set comprises a 14 by 22 inch shoulder and neck relief pad and a 12 by 24 inch wrap. The neck and shoulder pad is effective for headaches, tension, stiffness, frozen shoulder, and symptoms of fibromyalgia while the wrap combats cramps, back pain, spasms, abdominal pain, sport injuries, arthritis, scar tissue, and even contraction pains during pregnancy. Both pads are embedded with a fast-heating technology that promotes quicker relief. They also come with a moist heat option for a deeper muscle reach and relief. With a contoured design, the neck and shoulder pad is able to fit evenly and conveniently on your neck and shoulders. Adjusting the heat settings between low and high to suit your taste is also very easy with both pads’ LCD controller. The pads are made of micromink and polyester – materials that are never harsh to the skin. After running for 2 hours, both pads automatically turn off to avoid overheating and any concomitant burns. You can wash the pads in a machine without deteriorating their quality. Other appealing features of these pads include the fact that they are machine washable and come with multiple easy-to-adjust settings that make getting a very comfortable temperature easy. Both pads also come with a 9-foot long cord for flexibility and soft flannel fabric to enhance your comfort during use.

>>> See Specifications & Read Customer Reviews on Amazon! <<<

 Features at a Glance 

  • Very comfortable to use.
  • Moist heat and dry heat options.
  • Machine washable.
  • Auto shut-off technology.
  • Fast heating ability.
  • 90-day return warranty.

Read Customer Reviews & Buy it on amazon.com

Sleep Restoration King Size XL Microplush Heating Pad

The Sleep Restoration King Size XL Microplush Heating Pad takes the heat therapy experience to a whole new level with its extra large size and amazing features! This 12×24 inch pad is able to cover more ground at the back, neck, leg, shoulder and abdomen areas than many other pads on the market. Produced by Restoration Goods, the pad has a rapid-heat technology that generates heat only a few seconds after plugging in, thereby quickening your session. An ultra-soft microplush fiber gives a gentle touch to your skin and leaves no problems during or after use. The pad’s LCD controller allows you to switch between six different temperature settings while its 9-foot long cord gives you enough room to maneuver, as far as choosing where in your room to use the device is concerned. Even better, the pad is machine washable, making it extremely easy to clean, maintain, and prolong its good looks. Should the pad not deliver the results you want, you can return it for a full refund because it comes with a money back guarantee.

>>> See Specifications & Read Customer Reviews on Amazon! <<<

 Features at a Glance 

  • Rapid-heating technology.
  • As many as 6 different heating settings.
  • Digital LCD controller.
  • 9 inch long cord.
  • Very comfortable.
  • Extra large size for treating larger body parts.
  • 30-day money back guarantee.

Read Customer Reviews & Buy it on amazon.com

PROALLER Shoulder & Neck Heating Pad

Are you tired of surrogate heating devices that don’t give results, or pain medications that leave deleterious effects in the long run? If you answered yes, then the PROALLER Shoulder & Neck Heating Pad might be worth the try. This purple-colored pad’s fast-heating technology facilitates the flow of blood to the brain, thereby soothing tension, headaches, chest pains, and stiffness. With dry and moist heat options, you can comfortably mimic dry sauna or steam room conditions in your quest to get some relief from your pains. Although the designers had the shoulders and neck in mind, this 18 by 25-inch pad can be used on several other parts of your body. The PROALLER Shoulder Heating Pad automatically powers off every 120 minutes to simultaneously protect you from heat burn and conserve energy. Your skin will definitely feel pampered and thankful when it touches the pad’s ultra-soft flannel. Furthermore, the pad has a 10-foot power cord that translates to lots of leeway in terms of distance from your electric socket. There’s also a button on the pad that you can use to secure it onto your shoulders so that it doesn’t fall off during your session. Also, this shoulder and neck heating pad is ETL certified and backed by a 3-month warranty period.

>>> See Specifications & Read Customer Reviews on Amazon! <<<

 Features at a Glance 

  • Offers dry and moist heat options.
  • Fast-heating technology.
  • Versatile design that makes it suitable to be used on all parts of the body.
  • Can be machine washed.
  • Has a 2-hour automatic shut-off system.
  • Supported with a 90 day return warranty.

Read Customer Reviews & Buy it on amazon.com

Geniani XL Heating Pad

Geniani’s XL Heating Pad is a heat therapy device that is not only suitable for humans but also safe for pets. Fabricated with soft microplush fibers, this heating pad leaves no side effects when it comes into contact with the skin. The pad comes with a fast-heating technology that helps you complete your entire therapy session in just a few minutes. This multifunctional pad measures 12 by 24 inches, which makes it fantastic for relieving aches and pains at the back, legs, neck, abdomen, and shoulder. The XL Heating Pad has an option for moist heat, which enters the depths of your muscle to relief you of your aches. To utilize this option, just spray a thin layer of water on the pad and apply to the problem area. The three heat settings of low, medium, and high allow you to select a level of heat that suits your specific condition. To demonstrate its commitment to producing high-quality products, Geniani is offering a 5-year warranty for this product. All in all, the Geniani XL Heating Pad is effective when it comes to offering targeted muscle relief.

>>> See Specifications & Read Customer Reviews on Amazon! <<<

 Features at a Glance 

  • Dry and Moist heating options.
  • Ultra fast heating technology.
  • Can be used by both humans and pets.
  • Comfortable and easy to use.
  • 3 adjustable heating options.
  • Supported with a 5-year warranty.

Read Customer Reviews & Buy it on amazon.com

 Far Infrared Mini Mat

The Charmed Far Infrared Mini Mat is a state-of-the art infrared heating pad that helps your body to heal aching joints and tissues using radiant heat. The mat also boosts your metabolism, combats fatigue, anxiety and stress, advances your immune system, promotes good sleep, and facilitates the flow of blood. A 16-layer construction allows radiant heat to penetrate up to 6 inches into your body in order to palliate aches from rheumatism, chemotherapy, arthritis, lyme, multiple sclerosis, and fibromyalgia. But that’s not all; the mat can correct cancer’s concomitant hypothermia when used over a long period. Embedded in this mat is six and half pounds of Amethyst and Tourmaline, which help to detoxify, soothe and heal the body by transporting negative ions into it. The mat has an ergonomic design that favors usage during sleep or when sitting on a sofa. You can also adjust the temperature settings to your desired level. Charmed Far Infrared Mini Mat weighs 8.5 pounds and measures 20×30 inches. It’s FDA-registered, and comes with a water-resistant case. The manufacturers have backed it up with a 2-year warranty, in addition to a complete refund for defective mats that are returned within the first 30 days after purchase.

>>> See Specifications & Read Customer Reviews on Amazon! <<<

 Features at a Glance 

    • Is an infrared heating pad.
    • Has the ability to not only reduce pains, but also helps in boosting the immune system.
    • Gives relief from stress, fatigue and anxiety.
    • Comes with a waterproof carrying case.
    • Comes with a 2-year warranty.

Read Customer Reviews & Buy it on amazon.com

How Heating Pads Relieve Pain

We have showed you some of the best heating pads that are commercially available, but what we haven’t told you is how these pads actually help in relieving pain. As its name implies, a heating pad produces heat, which warms parts of the body and manages pains in the process. Heat is capable of relieving pain, and has for several centuries been effectively and safely used to ease a variety of pains ranging from joint to back pains. When applied to a part of the body where pain is felt, heat makes the sensory receptors reduce the transmission of the pain signals felt in that area of the body from making their way to the brain. When pain signals are unable to make it to the brain’s thalamus, the brain will automatically not feel that pain, thereby giving you instant relief by making you unaware or unconscious of the pain.

In addition to blocking the transmission of pain signals to the brain, heat also helps relieve pain in the following ways:

  • The application of heat that is deep and penetrating to an aching part of your body makes the blood vessels in the problem area to dilate or open up. When blood vessels in a painful or sore area of the body are widened by heat, more blood, oxygen and nutrients are able to flow to the area and help the muscles to relax in order to hasten the healing process of the damaged tissues in the aching area.
  • Heat is very good in treating muscle spasm or muscle cramps and their associated pains. In order to understand how heat does that, there is the need to know how a muscle cramp comes about. A muscle cramp is as a result of an involuntary contraction of one or more muscles in the leg – a situation that often leads to sharp pains. And since heat has the ability to help muscles that are tightened and sore to relax, it is greatly beneficial in giving you relief from muscle cramps.

In addition to all that has been mentioned above, heat is also very soothing for the body and feels so good and relaxing!

When to use Heating Pads

Heating pads are very useful in giving you relief from the following:

  • Stiffness and pains in the knees and other joints of the body (osteoarthritis).
  • Muscle aches and pains that often come about as a result of over engaging in a physical activity (overexertion).
  • Relieving spasms and pains in the neck, shoulders and back.
  • Cramping, including menstrual cramps.
  • Pains associated with urinary tract infections.

When heating pads cannot be used

While heating pads are very effective in managing pains, there are certain cases that they are not good for. As a matter of fact in such cases, they can actually cause more harm than good to you. For example, you should never apply your heating pad to an injury or bruise that you have just sustained. Simply put, heat should not be applied on any open wound. It is also not a good idea applying heat to a swollen part of your body or to an infection. These conditions are best managed with cold therapy or cryotherapy. Cold therapy does the exact opposite of hot therapy since it reduces the amount of blood that flows to the affected part of the body in order to reduce inflammation or temporarily reduce the activity of the nerves so as to give you some relieve from pain.

Also, certain groups of people should not use heating pads since these people stand greater risks of suffering from burns and other unpleasant complications such fires and electric shocks associated with some of these pads. These groups of individuals include the following:

  • Infants or paralyzed people, who on account of their condition might not be able to move in the event that the heat of the pad becomes unbearable and starts to burn.
  • Diabetes patients are advised not to use heating pads because they often suffer from nerve damage – a condition that can prevent them from feeling pain to the skin, and as such would not feel it in the event the pads start burning their skin. Aside patients suffering from diabetes, other persons who shouldn’t use heating pads as a result of their skins being insensitive to heat include the aged and spinal cord injury sufferers.
  • You should not use a heating pad if you are on a medication whose side effects include numbness or loss of feeling in certain parts of their bodies such as in the arms, hands, feet, legs, etc.
  • People battling with mental issues.

If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, it is imperative that you speak with your doctor before using a heating pad.

Types of Heating Pads

There are different types of heating pads on the market. The most common ones include the following:

Electric Heating Pads

This is a pad that works with electricity. It features a heating coil in its removable cover that heats up when the pad is plugged into the wall. The heat produced by the pad can be easily controlled either with an inbuilt thermostat knob or with a remote control. Electric pads come with a number of advantages, most notably the fact that the heat it produces doesn’t change and can be easily controlled. The downside to using this kind of pad is that it can easily lead to skin burns or catch on fire if extreme care isn’t applied when using it. It can also lead to electrical shocks when faulty.

Microwaveable Heating Pads

These pads are used in conjunction with microwave ovens. Before use, they are placed in a microwave for some minutes in order to become warm or hot. Microwaveable pads are usually made of soft fabric such as cotton or wool (flannel) and contain grains such as wheat, barley, flax seed, buckwheat and rice. By virtue of their nature, microwaveable pads can easily be made at home with materials ranging from old socks to towels.

Chemical Heating Pads

These pads often contain supersaturated sodium acetate solution and metal that react together to create a crystallization process that produces instant heat. A chemical pad is reusable and can be recharged by being put it in boiling water for some minutes, taking it out of the boiling water and waiting for it to reach room temperature before triggering it again to initiate another process of crystallization to generate heat.

Hot Water Bottles

This heating device is basically a container that contains hot water and has a stopper to keep it sealed. For several centuries, hot water bottles have been used to keep the body warm or placed on specific parts of the body to provide relief from pain. When using such a water bottle, you can wrap it in a towel before placing it on the aching part of your body so that it doesn’t have direct contact with your skin. Despite being pretty effective in managing pain, today, hot water bottles are not widely used as other pads such as the electric pads.

Far Infrared Heating Pads

In addition to the above, there is also a very special type of pad called a Far Infrared Heating Pads which as the name implies, makes use of far infrared (FIR) heat to ease pain and muscle spasm. They commonly contain natural jade stones, which emit infrared rays that transform from light energy into heat energy after they have penetrated the skin and made it deep into the muscles and tissues. These pads come with controllers and are plugged into the wall like electric pads, however, they are more expensive than electric pads or other types of heating pads mainly because they are more sophisticated and produce heat that penetrates deeper into the body than any other type of ordinary heating pad can do.

These days, some far infrared pads come with amethyst crystals and tourmaline stones, which also produce negative ions that are believed to be highly beneficial to the health of the body.

How to use a heating pad safely

Follow the simple guidelines below in order to use your heating pad safely:

  • Take a moment to carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions that accompany your heating pad and ensure that you religiously follow them.
  • You should not use a heating pad directly on your skin. The best way to go about using it is to either wrap it in a towel that isn’t too thick before applying it on your skin. Alternatively, you can use it over the clothes you are wearing.
  • Electric pads come with removable covers. It is imperative that you do not remove the cover on the electric pad when you are using it.
  • Whatever you do, never make the mistake of falling asleep while using a heating pad – especially an electric pad.
  • Always endeavor to unplug an electric pad whenever it is not in use.
  • Always place a heating pad (especially an electric pad) on top of the problem part of the body that needs treating. Putting the pad underneath the body can easily increase the pad’s temperature and lead to burns.

Things to look out for when purchasing a heating pad

  • Check the quality of the pad before purchasing it since the higher the quality of the pad, the longer it is going to last you. High quality pads often come with warranties and money back guarantees. So you might want to look at these things before deciding to make your purchase.
  • Does it come with a removable cover? A pad that has covering that is removable and machine-washable is easier to keep clean and good looking than one whose cover cannot be removed or washed.
  • How comfortable is the pad? Comfort is another important thing you should look out for in a pad. Comfortable pads often come with flexible and soft fabric and can contour very well around the body. The more comfortable your pad is, the more soothing and enjoyable using it becomes.
  • Pads with versatile designs can easily be used on multiple different parts of the body. However, non-versatile ones are designed to be applied on only a specific part of the body. The option you go in for would largely depend on your needs.
  • What type of heat option does it give you? A pad can provide dry heat therapy, moist heat therapy, or both dry and moist heat therapies. Most of the best heating pads on the market come with dry and moist heat options, thereby allowing you to enjoy the best of both worlds. It is noteworthy that despite the fact that both moist and dry heats come with their unique benefits, moist heat therapy is the more preferred of the two since it is more effective in relieving pain.
  • Your safety is one of the most important things you should have at the back of your mind when using a heating pad, and as such you should make sure that the electric pad that you select be one that has the ability to automatically shut off by itself after a period of time (usually after two hours) in order to reduce the likelihood of excessive heating and burns.
  • The size of the pad is also another important thing you should consider. Pads come in a variety of sizes ranging from small to extra large. Small sized pads only have the ability to cover small areas such as the knees whereas larger pads are good for treating pains in large body areas of your body such as your abdomen, back, shoulders, etc.
  • Check the number of heat/temperature settings that the pad features. Good pads often feature different heat settings and temperature adjustments that can be easily adjusted by a digital LCD controller. The more temperature settings a pad comes with, the easier it is for you to get the temperature that is most comfortable to you and which best suits your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I’m a chronic pain sufferer. Can a heating pad help give me some relief?

A. Yes. It doesn’t matter whether this is the first time you are suffering from pain or you are a chronic pain sufferer, placing a heating pad on the aching part of your body can help in giving you some relief from the discomfort of the pain.

Q. Do heating pads provide permanent relief from my internal pains?

A. Heat, unfortunately, can only provide you with temporary relief from your pains.

Q. How safe are heating pads in the use of treating pain?

A. They are safe when you use them sensibly or with precautions.

Q. Can a heating pad boost my metabolism?

A. A number of things influence your metabolism, and one such thing is heat. The more you expose yourself to heat, the more you boost your metabolism. It is for this reason that besides being excellent for detoxing, saunas and hot tubs are good for raising metabolism since they increase your core body temperature and make you sweat. And the more your metabolic rate is boosted by heat or some other factor, the more energy your body gets to recover from injuries and pains more swiftly. However, it is worth taking note of the fact that since heating pads are often used on only specific parts of your body at a time, they can’t increase your body’s core temperature like ahot tub would do.

Q. Can heating pads help give me some relief from menstrual cramps?

A. When you apply a heating pad on your abdomen, it can give you relief from the pain and discomfort associated with menstrual cramps. It is for this reason that doctors often recommend these heating devices as one of the most effective home remedies for managing menstrual pains.

Q. How does a heating pad ease the pains caused by menstrual cramps?

A. Up until now, the exact reason why heating pads “help” in reducing the pains and cramping associated with menstruation isn’t known. However, it is likely that the heat generated from these pads could help in reducing the constriction of blood vessels during a woman’s menses, thereby improving blood flow to her uterus and reducing pain in the process.

Q. Is a heating pad effective in easing the pains associated with urinary tract infection?

A. Heating pads happen to be one of the best home remedies for easing the pains caused by urinary tract infection (UTI). If you are experiencing pains from UTI, applying a warm heating pad on your abdomen can give you some quick relief.

Q. Can heating pads cause one to suffer from cancer?

A. No. There currently isn’t any evidence that supports the claims that using heating pads can make you develop cancer. The only major risks with these heating devices are the risks of burning your skin, especially if you fall asleep while using them, electric shocks and fires. These risks can easily be avoided if you use the device properly.

Q. Can my heating pad catch fire?

A. While heating pad fires are rare, they do happen with electric heating pads. There are a number of reasons why such a pad can catch on fire, and one of such reasons is as a result of a worn out or broken insulation of the pad’s electric wires – a situation that can easily cause the pad to ignite. A frayed electrical cord is also another common cause of heating pad fires.

Q. What is the difference between dry heat and moist heat?

A. In providing warmth, dry heat draws moisture out of the body, thereby increasing the likelihood of the skin becoming dehydrated. However, it is very simple to use. Moist heat, on the other hand, due to its moist nature, increases the elasticity of your tissues and penetrates deeper into the skin than dry heat, thereby making it more effective in managing pain. However, it is more complex using moist heat therapy than it is using dry heat.

Q. Is an infrared heating pad safer than an electric pad?

A. Yes, it is. A number of things account for the infrared pads being safer than their electric counterparts. For example, since infrared pads produce infrared rays that only turn into heat energy after they have penetrated your skin, they don’t burn the skin like electric pads do.

Q. Why should a heating pad not be used on a fresh injury or open wound?

A. Applying heat or a heating pad on an open wound or a freshly sustained injury can easily increase the amount of bleeding that occurs underneath the skin and further aggravate the situation.

Q. Is it safe for me to use a heating pad during pregnancy?

A. Using a heating pad to relieve pain and aches in places such as your back, joints, and hips during pregnancy is alright. However, it becomes an issue when you use it on your abdomen. If you suffer from abdominal pain during pregnancy, you should waste no time consulting your doctor.

Final Thoughts

All in all, heating pads can be very beneficial in treating most body pains and aches if you use them correctly. They can on their own or in conjunction with other pain treatments easily give you relief from a variety of pains. For your own safety, avoid using the pad during sleep, as it could overheat and cause burns. Also, unmonitored usage on folks who can’t control the device, such as infants and unconscious persons, and folks with poor blood circulation is strongly advised against. And remember to check your skin at regularly intervals so that you don’t get burns. In addition to being great at managing pain, heating pads are also good in keeping your body warm and comfortable during cold weather.

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