What Is A Heating Pad Good For: A Query

So, what is a heating pad good for?

If you are a living, breathing thing, with a brain and a nervous system, the chances of you feeling pain is highly probable. Pain is inevitable. As human beings, we’ve spent centuries trying to come up with remedies for pain.

Heat therapy is commonly used to relieve pain. It helps with blood circulation. The reason why it is an effective way to relieve pain is because of its ability to expand blood vessels, eliminate lactic acid that builds up during muscle exertion, and it eases tightened muscles.

The heating pad is one of the most commonly used things that we utilize today to help relieve muscle pain. It wasn’t until 1911 when the first heating pad was invented by Earl Richardson. He called it “El Warmo”. This revolutionary contraption is what aids us in alleviating aches and cramps for a little bit over a century.

Down the Line

Although the first heating pad was invented a century ago, the human race has been resulting to heat therapy for quite some time. Heat therapy has been around for a couple of millenniums. It was first recorded to have been used by ancient Greeks and Egyptians. From mud baths, thermal baths, and hot air caverns; heat therapy has been proven and tested to be an effective way to alleviate and cure pain, skin problems, fevers, and diseases.

 Let You Be Swayed

Heat is one of the best natural resources that we can use to heal. This kind of therapy is still opted by doctors and other therapists around the world no matter how much chemical alternatives get invented. Heat therapy is pretty straightforward.

It is then highly recommended because it is easy to grasp the concept of it, thus, it is easy to apply it. Another reason is that it is inexpensive compared to other medicines. It is also a natural remedy as it can cure and ease a wide array of painful problems that we commonly endure. When we use heating pads, the heat from it aids our blood vessels to dilate and it promotes blood flow. This then results to help ease sore and stiff muscles.

Heating pads are great because they are easily accessible, inexpensive, and people can utilize it without breaking a sweat. There is a variety of heating pads that we can use. Although some are more costly than others, the prices of which are not too high. People can even make their own heating pads at home. Heating pads are considered as heat therapy from home. Some people make heating pads from putting uncooked rice in socks. Some can even make their heating pads by putting a damp cloth inside a ziplock bag and popping it in the microwave for two minutes.

So, what is a heating pad good for? There are other factors where heat pads come in handy. Here are some of them:

Psychological benefits

It’s a well-known fact that heating pads are used to heal damaged tissue and soothe muscles. However, people seldom give heating pads credit for contributing to people’s mental and emotional health. This occurs because of the warmth that heating pads give.

People naturally associate warmth with comfortability and safety. By feeling this sense of reassurance, we feel calmer and it makes it easier for our bodies to cope with stress and with any type of pain.

It is instinctive for our brains to interpret a source of warmth as something that is good and beneficial. Psychologically, we relate warmth to our environmental and social states. If we feel warmth, our brains would then interpret it as a signal to allow ourselves to put our guards down. We then would feel less tense. We need to try to stray away from tension to be able to heal better.

Pain is not always just physical. It is also psychological. That is why relieving pain is a bit tricky sometimes, because it is not always straightforward. Most people are not aware that the biological pain that they feel is also affected by their thoughts and emotions.

When we feel warmth, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Compared to when we feel cold, our bodies instinctively switches on its defense switch and become more alert. This then will block the chances to heal more efficiently. This is due to the fact that we feel thermal discomfort and tend to be tenser when we feel cold. Our bodies naturally do things to cope with the cold temperature. We sweat, shiver, and our muscles undergo vasoconstriction. All of these are our bodies’ way of coping with the stress and discomfort that the cold brings.

The psychological reassurance that we get from the warmth of heating pads definitely enhances our brain’s natural analgesic mechanism. When we use heating pads, we get to fully immerse ourselves in relaxation. Thus, we finally allow ourselves to heal more effectively.

Lowers blood pressure of people with Supine Hypertension

Hypertension, also called high blood pressure (HBP), is a persisting medical condition where the blood pressure in the arteries is continuously elevated. Furthermore, supine hypertension is a condition where one’s blood pressure increases when lying down.

Researchers from the American Heart Association found that overnight heat therapy effectively decreases systolic blood pressure. Through this method, patients can have a non-pharmacologic approach to treat overnight high blood pressure.

First Appealing Study

According to the author of the study, Luis E. Okamoto, M.D. from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, blood pressure is decreased by heat because it shifts blood to skin vessels.

He also states that the use of local, controlled heat therapy may be a novel and simple approach to treat supine hypertension in these patients without using medications; however, additional studies are needed to assess the long-term safety and efficiency of this approach.

Although the study has its limitations, namely, this condition being rare, it encompasses only a small group of the population, and the focus group or population was Caucasian; the researchers anticipate that the remedy may be applicable to other groups of different ethnicities.

It’s a woman’s BFF to relieve period cramps

Women can’t emphasize enough how painful period pains are. According to gynecologist Dr. Jen Gunter, when women are menstruating, the linings of their uterus release substances called prostaglandins. These substances are what is causing the uterus to contract.

The pressure on the uterus during period contractions is just as high as the “pushing” stage of giving birth. That is why dysmenorrhea feels like childbirth. But, for men who obviously will never experience child labor, Dr. Gunter compared period pains to cutting off one’s finger without an anesthetic.

One of the ways women have been fighting this notorious and unbearable pain is by heating pads. Alleviating dysmenorrhea with heat therapy using heating pads is very effective. Heat therapy aids in relaxing the muscles of the uterus because it increases blood flow.

It’s good for post-exercise aftercare

Muscle soreness is a sign that we have done the exercises well and that our muscles are getting stronger. Our muscle fibres get microscopic damage which result to our muscles being sore and stiff. This occurs when our muscles endure more strenuous activities that are different from our daily movements that we are used to doing.

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or (DOMS) is what people call sore muscles after physical activity. It mostly happens when we intensify our workouts or change our routines. This type of muscle soreness lasts between three to five days. The degree of pain that we feel ranges from mild to severe levels. This pain usually occurs one or two days after we do our exercises.

However, the soreness will eventually decrease as our muscles get used to the new physical strains that we experience. Our bodies are wired to adapt to the soreness process post-exercise. As our muscles recover and build, it results to our bodies gaining more strength and greater stamina.

But, it is no lie that just waiting for our muscles to get used to the new physical strains is hard to endure. That is another aspect of what a heating pad is good for. Heating pads are good for easing soreness and stiffness caused by overexertion of muscles. It’s perfect for post-exercise aftercare.

Studies have shown that heat therapy can reduce Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness by up to 47%. However, it must be kept it mind that heat therapy should be applied to DOMS within 24 hours of doing the exercises. Unlike cold therapy, heat therapy is best applied as soon as possible after doing a workout.

This sort of muscle pain shouldn’t be confused with any kind of pain you might experience during exercise, such as the acute, sudden and sharp pain of an injury, such as muscle strains or sprains.

Relieves arthritis

Arthritis is the tenderness and inflammation of one or more of one’s joints. Although arthritis is more common among adults that are aged 65 years and older, it can still affect people of all ages. In fact, even some children endure arthritis. The foremost symptoms of arthritis are stiffness and aching of joints. Arthritis is considered as a degenerative disease. This means that it gets worse as people who experience this get older.

Arthritis is a term that means joint inflammation, however, it encompasses around 200 different conditions. All of which affect joints, tissues around the affected joints, and other connective tissues.

Anyone who experiences arthritis must know that it is a rheumatic condition. This means that the intermittent pain that they feel are all because of joints or connective tissue that are being attacked by their immune systems.

Taking pain relievers are not enough to ease arthritis. Heat therapy is a good way to help relieve aches that are caused by stiff joints. With heat therapy, it allows both the skin and joints to become warm. It kind of thaws frozen joints. Heat therapy causes joints and muscles to get more oxygen and nutrients from blood. This is because heat allows blood vessels to expand and promote better blood flow.

Opt to Resensationalize the Pads

Heat therapy helps a lot in relieving pain that are caused by arthritis. Heat helps in decreasing pain signals that are sent to the brain. This occurs when heat stimulates receptors in our skin. Heat helps deform cells that make up connective tissue and allows the area to become more flexible. Thus, heat therapy also helps improve one’s range of motion because of joints and muscles becoming more flexible. Also, improving one’s pain tolerance with heat therapy is also good for people who feel pain caused by arthritis.

Using heating pads is recommended by doctors and therapists because it is easy to acquire and utilize. Especially because arthritis occurs anytime, that is why it is important to have something at home that can be a good and easy remedy for the pain.

Final Word

Hence, what is a heating pad good for? It is great for alleviating pain caused by arthritis. People with arthritis can use either dry or moist heating pads. However, it is more recommended to use moist heating pads rather than dry ones. They could save a lot of money because they can make these heating pads at home.

They simply need to heat a damp towel in the oven for ten minutes or in the microwave for two minutes.  Though, they must be cautious while using this type of heating pad to avoid getting their skins burned.

We have to give this option a shot among everything as not only is it a quick remedy, but it also is the most accessible and affordable one. The better part of it is that it could also be readily improvised in a variety of ways every since it was popularized. More than just something that gives us a breather from pain: it’s an actual remedy that we should recognize and we salute to that, now shouldn’t we?

Now it’s time to go on and celebrate for everyone who does acknowledge the mighty powers of the great heating pad.

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