The heating pad is an electro-medical device, usually similar to a blanket or pillow-shaped, which, thanks to electricity, produces heat. It is used for therapeutic purposes or simply as a source of immediate relief and relaxation for cramps. In this article, we will give you a complete guide about what does a heating pad do for cramps
Heat, as we know, is a natural therapeutic source, and on the market, there are many methods or devices designed for thermal therapies: think of the simple hot water bottle or more complex devices such as infrared lamps.
The heating pad performs the same function by exploiting electrical energy to produce heat in a constant and localized way or, in some cases, by using other sources and methods of heat release.
Benefits and therapeutic purposes of the heating pad
Thanks to the production of heat, the heating pad is able to bring numerous benefits to different areas of the body, has an analgesic and anti-inflammatory function, and helps to relax the muscles while favoring the dilation of blood vessels, with the consequence of increasing blood circulation. Blood. The heating pad can also be a useful tool simply to warm up, a method against stress, or to relax after a long day of work.
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In case of ailments or particular medical conditions, the heating pad can be used for specific therapeutic and curative purposes, even if targeted therapies must be carried out on the advice of the attending physician, who will be able to suggest suitable methods and therapy.
In general, for therapeutic purposes, the heating pad can be used as a treatment for small muscle or joint pains, including fatigue, contractures, sprains, strains, arthritis, or for abdominal cramps, such as menstrual pain.
Types of the heating pad
There are various types of heating pads that are distinguished from each other both for the technology used to produce the heat and, on the basis of the shape, functional to the part of the body on which the heating pad is to be applied.
Electric heating pad for cramps
The term heating pad usually refers to the electric heating pad, that is, a device that has an electrical system inside it consisting of a series of resistors that, when connected to the current, heat up.
Covered with insulating fabric and other breathable and hypoallergenic materials, it can have different shapes depending on where it is placed and for which area to be treated it is made.
The electric heating pad is then placed in contact with the desired part of the body, such as the back, neck, or stomach, and connected to the electrical outlet: in this way, it heats up to the desired temperature, which remains constant for the entire time of use.
Battery-powered heat pad for cramps
Similar in shape and type of heat (dry and not humid) to the electric one, the rechargeable battery heating pad performs the same function, with the difference that it does not need to remain connected to the current but can be used and worn anywhere, even under clothing and while traveling.
The heating pads of this kind have small dimensions and are designed to be worn as a shoulder cover, or to warm the hands, or to be placed on chairs and armchairs to warm the seat.
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Natural heat pad for cramps
With the term heating pad in a broad sense, we can also refer to instruments other than electric ones that exploit, for example, natural healing methods.
We have already mentioned the hot water bottle, but we can also include pillows stuffed with cherry stones as part of the “natural” heating pads. Cherrystones are, in fact, ideal as a source of constant heat as they can maintain a high temperature for a long time and distribute the heat evenly.
Consisting of a cotton fabric cover in which the previously sterilized cherry stones are inserted, these pillows can be heated in the microwave for a few minutes and be placed on the cervical area, back, or other parts of the body, generating a pleasant sensation of heat.
Given the shape and size of the stones, they can also be used to massage the desired body area. If you wish to have a natural and safe heat therapy tool, these pillows are ideal and can also be made at home.
Chemical heat pad for cramps
On this page, we can also include chemical heating pads, i.e., those that are activated and emit heat thanks to an instant chemical reaction.
These devices are disposable as the chemical reaction occurs only once and is therefore unrepeatable. This group includes slow-release heat patches to be applied to the skin of the area to be treated.
However, the standard heating pads remain the electric and battery-operated ones and can also be distinguished by form and function. On the market, we find:
Lumbar & Renal Heat Pad
It is a belt-shaped heat pad that is wrapped around the torso in the lower back or on the front, in correspondence with the abdomen. This device can be used for lower back pain, such as low back pain, sciatica pain, or lordosis. These heating pads can also be used for abdominal pain in place of the hot water bottle by placing the heated part on the front at the belly.
Cervical Heating Pad
This type of heating pad is specially designed to relieve neck and cervical pains; it can simply have the shape of a pillow where you can rest your head, or it can be made up of a part to put around the neck and in some cases also have a cape shape, which wraps not only the neck but also the shoulders.
Multifunctional Heating Pad
This type includes all those rectangular-shaped heating pads that can be adapted to various parts of the body, such as the abdomen, back, or legs. In some cases, they can be placed on the bed before going to bed and be used as real bed warmers.
How to use the heating pad safely for cramps
When using a heating pad, in particular an electric one, it is important to follow some instructions for use that allow safe use of the appliance.
If you buy a certified and safety-compliant heating pad, you have already opted for a device that has locking systems and has been tested to prevent short circuits and excessive overheating.
In general, it is good that the temperatures of the appliance do not rise above 45 degrees and that the fabric does not become so hot as to burn the skin.
It is also important not to completely rest the weight of the body on the heating pad (in some models, excessive weight could cause malfunctions), not to fold the fabric or wrinkle, and absolutely avoid using it if it is damaged or worn. We also remind you never to use it near wet surfaces or water.
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In general, as we have mentioned above, if you are suffering from pathologies or particular medical conditions, it is important to consult your doctor before using this type of device. There are also cases in which its use should be avoided: on people with pacemakers or to warm cots and beds and on children under 3 years of age.
Finally, in case you want to use it during pregnancy, it is advisable to pay particular attention: first of all, as it is an electrical device which in any case entails the risk of overheating; secondly, it is still better to always avoid placing it on the stomach, or lumbar area as the heat generated could be too high for the fetus.
Is the brand important?
The brand is important not only as a guarantee of having efficient after-sales assistance but also for safety reasons, especially when we are talking about electrical products that need to have passed tests and be equipped with adequate protection systems.
Are the materials important?
The materials are particularly important when we talk about the lining of the heating pad: the external materials must possibly be hypoallergenic and breathable as they will be used in direct contact with the skin. The upholstery is also important not only for electric heating pads but also in the case of natural ones, such as cherry seed pillows.