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A heating pad is one of the best sources of relief for sore necks and backs. Applying heat can help reduce pain in strained or overexerted muscles. Making your own heating pad is a quick and easy way to soothe your sore muscles and joints with materials around your home. There are several ways to make one.
The most important aspect of heat therapy is its ability to increase blood flow to the painful areas. Heat opens up blood vessels, which allows for blood and oxygen to flow more readily to the sore areas. Heat therapy tends to reduce muscle spasms as well, causing the muscles, ligaments, and tendons to relax.
Doctors sometimes recommend using heating pads for relief from menstrual cramps or urinary tract infections. In these cases, apply a heating pad to the abdomen.
Be sure to follow the instructions for using your electric heating pad to prevent burns, electric shocks, and fire. Never use a heating pad on infants, people with diabetes, people who have suffered a stroke, or anyone with a decreased ability to sense pain.
Nathan Wei, MD, a board-certified rheumatologist and head of the Arthritis Treatment Center in Maryland, offered a simple method for making your own heating pad. You’ll need:
Like most people, you probably have a drawer in your house for orphaned socks. Well now, you can put those lonely socks to good use! If neck and shoulder pain is causing you trouble, all your need is a sock and some rice. This pad works best if you use a bigger sock, like a tube sock.
Making your own heating pad is cost-efficient and safer than using an electric heating pad. It also saves you a trip to the store, when you’re too sore to leave the house. Schedule an appointment with your doctor if muscle and joint pain persist for several days.
Written by: Joe Bowman
Medically reviewed on: Feb 18, 2015: Peggy Pletcher, MS, RD, LD, CDE
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