A Heating Pad for Cramps

Getting cramps anywhere in the body is unpleasant at best and can be very painful at its worst. There are several reasons why this happens, but the thing most people who get them need to know is how to deal with them effectively.

electric heating padOne of the best ways of dealing with most kinds of bodily cramps is to place a heated pad on the affected area. The best heating pad for cramps or other pain can dramatically reduce the feeling of discomfort in a very short time. These gentle heat sources relax the muscles that have tightened or gone into spasm and caused the cramp itself.

What Kinds of Heating Pads Are There?

There are different kinds that fall into three main categories that are warmed using different power sources. These are:

They all have the soothing effect on the cramped area, but are merely operated in different ways and have benefits and drawbacks according to how they need to be used. Here are the main points for each type:

Electric Heat Pads: Benefits

These are great for use in the home where prolonged heat is required, as in the case of back pain or menstrual cramps. They often come fitted with separate temperature and timer switches. This means you can set them to the heat you require and have them deliver it for a set amount of time before automatically switching themselves off.

They are the best choice if you are at home and can get comfortable on a chair or laying down.

Drawbacks

These types are not portable as they are limited by the length of the electric cable fitted to them. This cable can also get in the way if you are trying to relax on a couch or in a chair, although this is easily remedied.

Chemical Heat Pads: Benefits

These are smaller in size and very portable. They don't need any electrical power to operate as the heat is generated by a chemical reaction inside the pad. They are reusable and perfect for taking with you if travelling. They are easily operated by simply shaking and pressing a button on the pad.

Drawbacks

They can't be used for extended period of time as the heat soon dissipates and then the need to rest to reset the chemicals inside them before they can be reused. They are generally quite small and while perfect for spot heat on small areas of cramp or pain, they are not good for large areas like the back.

Self Heated Pads: Benefits

No direct electrical power is needed to heat these and therefore there is no cable to restrict your movement. They are often the cheapest option and are generally filled with environmentally friendly material such as barley.

They can be perfumed with scented oils or perfume sprays for creating aromatherapy relief.

Drawbacks

The heat doesn't last very long before they have to be "recharged" in the microwave or standard oven depending on the maker's recommendation.

You need a microwave to heat them up and this can be achieved in less than two minutes on full power in most cases. Although some can be heated in a domestic oven, this is a very slow and often energy hungry way to get them to the right temperature.

What Heating Pads Work Best?

This really depends on what you need the relief for. For large areas such as the back, you can buy fully fitted electrically powered back pads that cover the entire back and deliver heat to the whole area.

For travelling, the smaller, portable chemical heating pads are great for dealing with cramp and localized discomfort such as rheumatic pain while you are on the move. They can fit easily in a briefcase, backpack or sports bag and are ready to use whenever and wherever you find yourself.

If you are on a budget and need a low cost alternative, the barley-filled microwavable heat pads are great to have in the home. They are perfect for soothing and relaxing a tense neck and shoulders as well as dealing with cramp or other pain in other areas.

Questions and Answers

Here are some common questions that are asked about the many uses of these simple yet effective inventions:

Are Heated Pads Safe to Use?

These devices are perfectly safe to use as long as the manufacturer's guidelines are adhered to. This generally means not allowing them to become too hot as in the case of the self heated variety, while using the thermostat on electrically powered units sensibly.

There are also time limits for usage that makers include in their instruction sheets or booklets and you should not exceed them.

Where to Put a Heating Pad for Cramps?

You can place a heat source directly on the area causing most pain. As in the case of period pains, placing the device directly on the abdomen whilst lying on your back brings the most relief according to recent studies.

For muscle cramps in the limbs, again placing the heat directly onto the area experiencing the muscle spasm or cramp can help to alleviate the painful feeling locally.

How Does a Heating Pad Help Menstrual Cramps?

There is some debate as to the scientific validity of placing a heat source on painful areas to relief that pain, but the overwhelming anecdotal evidence that this works is too widespread to ignore.

The best answer medical science can come up with is that the localized warmth directed at the pain helps to relax the muscles in that area relieving spasms and stiffness while simultaneously increasing blood flow to the area. This may help by causing the release of naturally manufactured relaxant hormones in the body as well as serotonin which increases that feel good experience, reducing the appearance of pain.

Where Can You Buy Them?

Buying a heat pad is very easy these days with online vendors like Amazon being able to ship a wide variety of pads to most addresses in a day or two. As demand has risen, the costs have come down so it is often handy to have an electric powered unit for use indoors with two or more portable ones for those times you are out of the house or in a place where you don't have access to a mains electricity supply.

You can see some of the many popular types that are available to buy online along with some details about them on the next page by visiting our resource page here: HeatPads