How Long Should a Person Use a Heating Pad (And Why?)

Exact Answer: 15-30 Minutes

The heating pad is a kind of mat that people generally use to gain relief from physical pains. These pads are very comfortable to use. Heating pads are also compact. There are many advantages of heating pads. They are used for back pains, neck pains, and also for muscle aches.

The process of relieving pain with the help of heating pads is a form of Thermotherapy. Usually, heating pads are made up of different materials. We can also prepare them at home. The sizes of the heating pads also may vary based on their applications. Heating pads are better to use than ice cubes for pain relief.

How Long Should a Person Use a Heating Pad?

Generally, we need to use a heating pad based on the pain we are experiencing and the type of heating pad. There are many types of heating pads like electric heating pads, chemical heating pads, microwave heating pads, homemade heating pads, etc.
Electrical type heating pads come with a plug to charge them. This type of heating pad is mainly used by physiotherapists to treat their patients. These should not be overheated and must be shock-free. Moist cloth can be added to the heating pad before using it.

Chemical heating pads release heat energy with the help crystallization process. Sodium acetate in the liquid state is packed in the heat pad. A stainless steel disc present in the heating pad initiates the process. When we press that disc, it pushes the liquid so that temperature rises and sodium acetate is converted into a solid form. During this process it releases heat.

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Microwavable heating pads work by placing them in the microwave to produce heat with moisture content. So, these pads are packed with materials to retain moisture content like wheat, rice, etc. generally this type of heating pad is homemade. They can be made by using a sock or towel.

A hot water bottle can also be employed as a heating pad. Due to the high specific heat of water, the heat remains for a long time in the water bottles. Phase Changing Materials are another type of heating pad which are becoming more reliable.

Purpose of using heating padsHow long can be used (in minutes)
To avoid burns15-3o
Minor back pains15-20
Intense injuries30-120 or even more

Why Does a Person Use a Heating Pad That Long?

Functioning of a heating pad- when a heating pad is placed on the body part that is to be treated, the heat from it is absorbed by that part. Consequently, this heat dilates the blood vessels, and blood flow is increased. So, when blood flows at a rapid speed it carries the required nutrients and oxygen to the affected part quickly. This process significantly contributes to the healing process.

Most importantly the heating pad should not be used at its high heat capacity. Because it may burn your skin. So, one needs to start at low heat and increase depending upon the application. However, it is advisable to use heating pads at a low level of heat.

We should not use an electric heating pad for too long regularly. It may cause severe health issues like high blood pressure, damage of inner muscles, and so on. Especially in pregnant women, its usage can affect the baby. According to a study which was held in 2006, due to overuse of electric blankets people have died too.

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The time taken by a heating pad to heat up depends on the material used. Commonly, an electric pad charges in 5 to 15 minutes. If overheated, they can get damaged, and in some cases lead to fatality. So, it is also advisable not to overcharge them. However, chemical pads heat up very soon.

Conclusion

Heating pads are mainly useful when a person suffers from minor and occasional pains. Instant relief is provided by heating pads without much effort. It is also advisable to use them for a short time as the increased habit may lead to severe health issues. In case of any problem occurs, it is safe to consult a doctor immediately.

In the market different types of heating pads are available for our convenience. We have to select depend upon our usage. In addition to that while buying electric heating pads, we must check the quality and durability to avoid any problems.

References

  1. https://academic.oup.com/jbcr/article-abstract/12/3/214/4786746
  2. https://connect.springerpub.com/content/sgrsinp/10/2/147.full.pdf

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