A heating pad helps to relieve pain in different parts of the body. The heating pad can be used as a dry therapy or a wet therapy. This article will only cover the dry therapy method. Dry therapy can be used for muscle strain, minor aches, pains and stiffness. Read on to learn how to use a heating pad.
Things You'll Need
- Heating pad
- Electrical outlet
- Straight backed chair or firm mattress
Determining where your pain originates can sometimes be hard to do. Pains that feel like they are in your neck can actually begin in your back, and only feel as if they are in your neck due to the sharing of nerves and muscle paths. Heating pads come in various shapes and sizes, with different heat settings for each. For the purpose of this article, the heating pad we will refer to has three heat settings. The first is the lowest and the third is the highest.
For pain anywhere in the back, you will need to lie down flat, on a stiff surface so that your back comes into full contact with the heating pad in the area the pain is radiating from. The heat setting for this treatment is the third, or highest heat setting. Always allow a piece of clothing to lie between your skin and the heating pad to avoid burns. Lie the heating pad directly in the area the pain is located in, and lie back slowly on it so your body gets used to the temperature change. Sit up slightly and hold that position for five seconds at a time during the first two minutes of treatment to allow the muscles to absorb the heat. It is suggested that heating pads are not used for more than one hour at a time for any injury, unless specified by a licensed physician.
For pain associated with gallbladder disease, place the heating pad over the right area of your abdomen, directly over the lower portion of your ribs. The heat setting used is the second, or medium heat. It should extend around your side to encompass the area that your gallbladder resides in. You may lay on your side for this treatment, or sit straight up in a chair. Lying down is most commonly used, as it allows you to stretch out on the side and allow the heat to distribute evenly. It is not recommended to use a heating pad for more than one hour at a time, unless specified by a licensed physician.
For pain in your shoulders, you should lie down flat on your back on a stiff surface such as a firm mattress. Place the heating pad directly onto the shoulder that is in pain, and lie back onto the mattress. The heat setting for this treatment is the second, or medium heat setting. You can alternate between the two shoulders should both be in pain. Lift your arms straight up above you for fifteen seconds, and allow them to drop. Alternate this on each side for the first five minutes of treatment to allow the muscle to heat with the heating pad. It is not recommended to use a heating pad for more than one hour at a time, unless specified by a licensed physician.
General aches and pains can be treated with a heating pad by simply applying directly to the source of pain for no more than one hour at a time. Remember your mother always said use cold for swelling and heat for pain. Heating pads should not be used on swollen or broken skin. Follow all directions and precautions that are listed by the manufacturer of your specific brand heating pad, even if they contradict this article.
Tips & Warnings
- Do not lay any heating pad directly on the skin. This will cause major burns and damage to the derma and possibly the subderma. Always allow a piece of clothing or a towel to lie between your skin and the heating pad. It is best to allow the heating pad to warm up to the temperature setting you have chosen before applying it to the site of pain.
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