All About Heating Pads for Back Pain
Even if it's only temporary, back pain can take a serious toll on your quality of life. It can make it difficult for you to perform everyday tasks and enjoy the things you once loved. While there are many conservative treatments for back pain, one of the most common is heat therapy. Believe it or not, heat therapy has been around since ancient times when the Egyptians and Greeks would use it for pain.
Fortunately, you don't have to spend hours upon hours in the sun for back pain relief through heat therapy. These days, over-the-counter heating pads are available online and in stores. They bring ease and convenience to heat therapy.
Why Heating Pads
The main reason heating pads and heat therapy are so effective for back pain is because they increase circulation. When this happens, oxygen and nutrients make their way to the muscles and joints. Not only can better circulation resolve muscle damage, it can also relieve back stiffness and inflammation.
Although any type of heat has the potential to improve back pain, heating pads are likely the most convenient option. In addition to their portability, heating pads are electric, making them ideal for use just anywhere in your home.
While hot baths may ease your back pain as well, they do come with a caveat. It can be a real challenge to maintain the hot water temperature as the water will gradually cool down and lose its effectiveness. Heating pads resolve this problem because they provide heat flow continuously. As long as you keep them on, they can work their magic.
Tips for Using a Heating Pad
Since heating pads can easily injure your skin, be sure to keep the following in mind if you use them.
Start on the Lowest Setting
It's not a good idea to turn your heating pad to the highest setting right away. Start with the lowest setting and increase the heat gradually, if necessary. You'll find that the low setting produces just enough heat for minor aches and pains.
Be Careful If You're Pregnant
Pregnancy and back pain go hand in hand. If you do use a heating pad to relieve back pain while pregnant, limit your time with it. Prolonged heat can put the fetus in danger and lead to complications such as neural tube defects.
Choose the Right Heating Pad
There are no shortage of heating pads on the market so it's important to find the right one for your ideal situation. If you're facing moderate to severe pain, opt for an infrared heating pad as it can penetrate into the muscles more deeply. In the event your back pain is minor, a standard pad with several settings should do the trick.
If your back pain persists or worsens after using a heating pad, don't hesitate to contact your doctor as soon as possible.