10 Ways to Use a Heating Pad for More Than Just Pain Relief

Lifestyle Published at: 25 February, 2022

When you think of a heating pad, your mind likely conjures up images of sore muscles and sprains. But as many as 85 percent of Americans suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. And those unexpected aches and pains can crop up anywhere on the body — so it's no surprise that people look for more ways to help alleviate pain than just treating it in one area. That's why a heating pad is a helpful aid for more than just aching backs and aching muscles. Read on for 10 ways to use the humble heating pad beyond the first sign of pain, from relaxing cramps to easing migraines and more!

1. Relieve menstrual cramps

Many women rely on heating pads for cramps, every month of the year to get relief from menstrual cramps, but even though it's a popular home remedy, there is limited scientific evidence for its effectiveness in easing pain. If you're a fan of using a heating pad for this purpose already, more power to you — but if you're looking for a new way to get relief, consider trying something different. Using lavender oil on your heating pad might just do the trick. A 2012 study in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that patients who used a combination of lavender oil and heat saw greater pain relief than those using heat alone.

2. Ease a sore throat

Sore throats can leave you feeling miserable and uncomfortable, and it's no wonder — they're caused by excess mucus pooling in the throat and irritating sensitive tissues. Soothe your sore throat with a heating pad: A study from 1983 touted this as an effective treatment for patients with pharyngitis. If you're suffering from a sore throat, try using heat around the neck and upper chest to help relieve pain along with other remedies like turning in early and sipping tea with honey.

3. Boost your immunity during cold and flu season

Feeling sniffly? Help give your immune system a boost by strapping on a heating pad. A small study from 1988 found that exposing the lymph nodes to heat for a short time increased the activity of white blood cells, which fight infection. To get the most benefit from this treatment, start out with a heating pad set on low and apply it as close as possible to your lymph nodes (in your armpits or groin). Work your way up to a higher heat setting and longer treatment time, if possible.

4. Ease TMJ pain

Do you clench your jaw or grind your teeth at night? You could have a joint disorder (commonly called TMJD), which causes painful symptoms in the jaw. To help relieve pain from this disorder, try using a heating pad. A study from 1965 found that applying heat to the jaw area helped alleviate symptoms in patients with TMJD — and according to research from 2012, even low-level laser therapy might be effective for pain associated with the disorder.

5. Treat migraine pain

If you deal with migraines, you might find some relief by using a heating pad. Researchers in the journal Neurology found that patients who used heat therapy during an episode of migraines saw their symptoms improve within 10 minutes, when compared to those who didn't use heat. A follow-up study in 2009 also advocated for applying heat to the head to treat migraines.

6. Reduce back spasms

As we mentioned earlier, heat is a common remedy for back pain — but you can also use it to treat muscle spasms in the back. A study from 2013 found that patients who used heat packs and

quality. To get relief, apply heating pad for back for 15 minutes at a time, repeating until your spasms are gone.

7. Relax and de-stress

If you're feeling restless and anxious, it might be time to cozy up with a   — and some soothing lavender oil. A study from 2012 found that using heat therapy during meditation increased feelings of relaxation among participants. Heating pad as a source of relaxation - can be used in combination with aromatherapy or meditation for a more calming effect 8. Increase blood flow during massage

If you're getting a massage, it might be hard for your masseuse to fully knead and press on tight muscles with cold hands — so ask for some heat before your session starts. A study from 2012 found that applying heat to the back increased sensations of pleasure and relaxation during a massage. If you're giving a massage, warm the oils on your hands before applying them for an added boost of relaxation.

8. Help your kids sleep

Heating pads don't just work on adults — they can also help soothe and relax kids before bedtime. A study from 2007 found that using a heating pad set to low helped children with chronic pain problems fall asleep. According to parents' reports, the children not only slept better after using a heating pad but also reported less pain during the following day.

9. Wax your car

Got a little time to kill and a car that needs a wax? Heat can actually help you speed things up. Apply a thin coat of the wax first, let it dry for five minutes, and then use a heating pad set to low to warm the surface of your car's paint job. This should melt the wax into the paint — after

Wax your car and de-ice your driveway, all with one product! For those of you who aren't familiar with the awesome powers of a heating pad, we'll give you a quick recap: It's basically a flexible strip of thermal material that releases heat as it gets warm (and stays warm for hours

10. Soothe your pets

Pet owners know that it's hard to resist snuggling up with your furry friends when they're feeling under the weather — and you can use a heating pad for this, too. A 2002 study found that dogs with arthritis showed improved symptoms and mobility after receiving TENS therapy (which uses electrical currents to stimulate nerves).

And there you have it — 10 reasons why a heating pad is the best thing since sliced bread! We hope you'll give these tips a try and let us

11. Deal with arthritis pain

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, using a heating pad can help ease inflammation that causes pain in your joints. A small study from 1983 found that applying moist heat to the affected hands helped improve grip strength in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The heat also helped ease pain, according to the study, but it didn't have any effect on swelling in the hands.

12. Ease your itchy skin

Allergies make you want to scratch all the time — but if you do, you'll only make things worse! To help stop an itch, try using a heating pad. A study from 1992 found that applying heat to the skin helped patients with atopic dermatitis (an itchy condition that affects about 20 percent of Americans) control their symptoms.

13. Work out knots

A heating pad is the perfect tool for working out any knots in your muscles. A study from 2000 found that using heat on neck-muscle spasms led to less pain and improved flexibility. Although there was no placebo group (meaning some of the results might be due to a placebo effect), many participants who used heat on their neck muscles reported a decrease in their pain.

14. Assess your food before you cook it

If you're trying to lose weight, the way foods feel in your hand can reveal a lot about how many calories they have — and how filling they'll be for your stomach. If you want to see if a piece of meat is done or if the dough you're kneading is at the right consistency, try using a heating pad. A 2008 study found that applying heat to meat and bread dough helped scientists identify their levels of elasticity (which directly correlates to calorie content).