Is an Electric Heating Pad Right for You? How Can You Use it Safely?
Millions of people experience muscle soreness, joint stiffness, and back pain every single day. While it’s not actually a cure, sometimes a bit of heat therapy is all you need for relieving the pain. When applied to the problem area, an electric heating pad or blanket helps to increase blood circulation, which results in more oxygen being transported to the muscle trigger points that are causing the pain.
What are Heating Pads?
comes in a variety of forms. Some pads and wraps can be heated via microwave or boiling water, and some can be heated with electricity.
If you want to simply relax after a long day at work or an intense workout, electric heating pads are a great option. They are typically large enough to cover a significant portion of the body. Some units are designed to deliver moist heat and some deliver dry heat.
How Can Electric Heating Pads be Used?
These units consist of heating elements with a fabric cover that can be removed. Some come with helpful features such as automatic shut off and temperature controls. They tend to cost more than microwavable heating wraps, but last longer in comparison.
The temperature limit, set by the Underwriters Laboratory, is 176 F. Most units range from 110 F to 160 F. The amount of time electric heating devices take to warm up varies from a couple of minutes to several. The amount of time may also depend on the settings. If the pad is designed with self-limiting wire technologies, it may take longer to reach maximum temperature.
A general rule of thumb is to check the skin in twenty minute intervals to make sure there is no burning. For minor problems, such as light back tension, a short amount of heat therapy (approximately fifteen minutes) is usually sufficient. For more intense pain, thirty minutes to two hours of heat therapy may be required. Once again, you should take a short break and check the skin every few minutes.
What Are the Risks Associated with Electric Heating Pads?
As with any electric device, there are always risks to consider. For this reason, make sure the unit you order comes with safety features. You have a risk of burning yourself if you let it charge up for too long, or fall asleep during use. The amount of risk can be reduced if you use the temperature control carefully and set up an automatic shutoff time. Some electric heating products can be programmed to automatically shut down once a maximum temperature is reached. The maximum temperature can be set by the user.
What Precautions Should be Taken?
The most obvious precaution to take with electric heating pads
and blankets is to simply do exactly what the instructions say to do. Prior to each use, inspect the pad or blanket carefully to ensure that it is in good condition. During use, keep the cover on. The device should never be placed directly on the skin.
As long as you are careful and use the electric heating pad correctly in accordance with the instructions, these can be a good option.