Trying to get a good night’s sleep when you have sore, achy muscles is a challenge. The best way to relieve those muscle aches so you can sleep is to use a good heating pad. The best heating pads will ease your pain while relaxing your muscles and joints. You can’t sleep if you can’t get comfortable, and you can’t get comfortable if you are sore and in pain.
For some people, they either can't take pain pills or they simply are not effective. For them, the only solution is to use heat therapy. Heat therapy from a heating pad can be just as effective as medication in treating muscle pain.
There are different types of heating pads that all work in different ways. It’s best to get the specific type of heating pad for your unique pain. In this top heating pads review, I will let you know about the different types of heating pads that will help you with your pain and allow you to enjoy a deep, restful sleep.
Theratherm Digital Moist Heating Pad
HealthyLine Natural Jade & Tourmaline Mat Negative Ions Heat & Energy Therapy
Sunbeam Renue Heat Therapy Neck and Shoulder Wrap
Battle Creek Thermophore Classic
Soothing Herbal Aromatherapy Neck, Shoulder and Back Wrap
Yosoo Waist Heat and Cold Pad Wrap
Straining your muscles by exertion or injury causes the circulation to become constricted. This constriction sends a pain signal to the brain. To ease that pain without using medication, heat can be applied.
Heat will dilate the blood vessels surrounding the injured or strained area. Increasing the blood flow to that area brings oxygen rich blood which repairs the damaged muscle. It also decreases the pain messages being sent to the brain so your pain will recede.
Using a heating pad on that area directs heat right where you need it and helps to reduce, or even eliminate, the pain in your muscles. Whether it’s from a vigorous workout or from an injury, a heating pad is a great way to get some pain relief in your own home.
Direct heat on your skin can cause discomfort or even a burn. You should use a heating pad that has a soft cover to provide a barrier between your skin and the heat source. The temperature should be warm and not hot. The best heating pads are ones that show you a temperature instead of just low, medium, or high settings.
How long you should use the heating pad depends on a few things. If your back is tense, for example, but not very painful, about 20 minutes on a medium setting will work fine. If you’re suffering from a bad back from something like sciatica, you may need an hour or more. For an injury or damaged muscles from a strenuous workout, it is best to alternate with 20 minutes with the heating pad on and then 20 minutes with it off.
Don’t use the heating pad immediately after an injury. In that case, it is best to start with cold packs. After the swelling has gone down, you will want to alternate hot and cold. Do 20 minutes with a cold pack followed by 20 minutes with a heating pad. If you don’t get much relief from a heating pad after two hours, then you probably will need some medication.
Most heating pads provide dry heat therapy. They direct heat onto the skin and don’t usually send the heat deep into your tissue. In fact, some heating pads will dry your skin out as they tend to pull moisture out of your body and into the air. If you have particularly dry skin, you may want to look into moist heat heating pads.
Moist heating pads don’t actually use any water for the heat therapy. Instead, they pull in the moisture from the air and direct that moist heat onto your problem area.
Moist heat therapy can penetrate deep into your muscles and provide more lasting relief than your typical dry heating pad. Because of the deep penetration, moist heat generally improves circulation which brings more oxygen to the damaged muscle. Recovery is generally faster with moist heat than dry heat.
Something I have always hated about heating pads is not being able to control the actual temperature. Sometimes, it seems like low is not nearly hot enough, but high is too hot.
I love the control you have with the Theratherm moist heating pad. You can set the actual temperature in Fahrenheit to get exactly the moist heat therapy you need. No matter which temperature you choose, you will get intense relief on your sore, achy muscles.
The flannel cover is soft and comfortable, but comfort is not its primary objective. The flannel cover draws in the moisture from the air and directs it onto your problem area. It may seem like a very low tech way to apply moist heat therapy, but leave the heating pad on a table or dry surface for a few minutes.
When you pick it up, you will notice condensation has formed underneath it proving its effectiveness at providing moist heat.
The digital controls also allow you to set how long you want to use the therapy with an automatic shut off for safety reasons. You may fall asleep with the heating pad on you, since your pain will be reduced dramatically. In that case, you can be assured that the pad won’t stay on and cause any burns or irritation.
The lockout mode on the controls will keep your settings in place guarding against any accidental changes.
The pad itself is big and can cover most of an average person’s back. It is very flexible so it can wrap around an arm or leg. It is also a very versatile heating pad that can be used on just about any part of the body.
Far InfraRed heating pad technology, aka FIR, is used to penetrate deep into the tissue to increase blood circulation. It is a heat therapy that is neither dry nor moist. Instead, it replicates moist heating pads as the rays are able to provide relief deep into the muscle.
It also increases oxygenation and regeneration of the blood, deeply detoxifying the blood for improved function of all of the major organs in the body. It isn’t just good for the sore muscles you are targeting; it’s great for your overall detoxification.
With any type of heat therapy that makes you sweat, such as a sauna, you are able to remove waste and toxins from your body. Therefore, it should be no surprise that there are many benefits to using an infrared heating pad.
There is still some skepticism about the science of negative ion therapy. Negative ions are believed to produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin. They are found in nature, usually around waterfalls and forests.
Supposedly, this heating pad will improve your mood, especially if you suffer from Seasonally Affected Disorder, by producing negative ions that you will breath in while using the heating pad.
In a sense, it is a self-contained wellness center!
Whether or not you believe in that experimental therapy, you will get some great therapeutic benefits by using this heating pad to relieve sore muscles and improve your sleep.
The temperature settings are adjustable with an LED control. You can also set the automatic shut off for up to nine hours. The size of the pad and the safety features of temperature and auto shut off mean that you can use this heating pad in bed without any issues.
If you have back problems, lie down on top of the pad and enjoy the deep, soothing heat penetrating your entire back.
Lying on the stones is not uncomfortable. In fact, they add some subtle pressure point massage sensations similar to hot stone therapy.
Trying to use a square heating pad for your shoulders and neck is not usually very effective. If you frequently have sore, tight shoulders and neck muscles, having a heating pad that is contoured to fit perfectly on your shoulders and high up onto your neck is ideal.
Migraine sufferers will also get some use out of this heating pad as it will relieve that tightness associated with migraines.
It fits so comfortably thanks to a magnetic clasp that keeps it closed up tightly around your shoulders. The material is also very comfortable and is even machine washable. The downside to the material is that it does not draw in any moisture from the air to work as a moist heating pad. If you want moist heat therapy, you will need to spray it lightly with water.
You can go to bed wearing this heating pad as it has a two-hour automatic shut off. If you don’t move around too much, it should stay on even while sleeping.
Temporomandibular joint disorder, aka TMJ, is a problem that causes many nights of restless sleep. When you have TMJ, your jaw is often clicking and causing spasms that are uncomfortable any time of day, but especially at night. Headaches are also common.
Finally, there is a heating pad that uses moist heat to treat your joint and jaw muscle pain and will allow you to get some rest.
Thermophore makes some of the best heating pads for any part of the body. So, it is welcome news that you can now use a very effective heating pad that wraps around your head and applies heat right to your jaw.
The pad delivers a consistent moist heat right where you need it. The heat is very intense and, unfortunately for some, cannot be adjusted. For this reason, it automatically shuts off after 20 minutes or when you let go of the control. Therefore, you must keep the button pressed to continue receiving the therapy.
It is so effective, however, that it is considered a medical device. If you have been diagnosed with TMJ, ask your insurer if your purchase of a Thermophore heating pad is covered in your plan.
When you have shoulder or neck pain, sleep can be hard to come by. Using aromatherapy is a great way to help calm your mind and get you in a sleepy state. Combine that calming aromatherapy with a heating pad tailored for your shoulders and neck and you’ll win the battle against sleepless nights.
This wrap is very comfortable to wear on the shoulders as the material is extremely plush and has a nice weight to it. It fits perfectly on the shoulders and comes up onto the neck to provide heat in the right areas; it also does a good job staying in place.
It needs to be microwaved for at least one minute, which may be a negative for some people. The heat will last a while, but not as long as an electric heating pad. If you only need a short session, this may not be a big deal. Also, because it isn’t electric, it can be used as a cold compress as well.
Since heat, especially moist heat, is an effective muscle relaxant, it is extremely helpful to use the same therapy for your cramps as you would for a backache.
Heating up your abdomen will relax the uterus and send more oxygen rich blood to your muscles. The pain signal to the brain from the cramps will be reduced, and you will find yourself almost pain free.
The problem with using most heating pads is that they don’t stay in place and you can’t move around. Not too many people have time to sit still for 30 minutes or more with a floppy heating pad.
The Yosoo heating pad is the best heating pad for cramps as it fits perfectly around your waist providing relief to your abdomen and your lower back. You can plug it in at your office desk, while you’re driving, or while cooking dinner.
Since we’re talking about how you can sleep better while experiencing menstrual cramps, you can also wear this to bed and it will stay put while you move around.
Experiencing poor sleep several days each month can impact your active life in a very negative way. Properly treating your cramps with moist heat therapy will ensure that, even during your period, you can get the sleep you need.
There’s a vicious circle that exists when talking about not getting a good night's sleep.
You have back pain, muscle aches, or an injury. You can’t sleep because you are in pain, and you can’t get better because you aren’t sleeping enough which then prevents you from sleeping. And on and on it goes.
If your sleep is impacted because of pain, then obviously the right treatment for that pain will also improve your sleep.
Hopefully, this review of the best heating pads has shown you that there is a specific heating pad for your unique pain that will work best.
Find the right heating pad and you will quickly get rid of your pain, or at least make it manageable enough to finally get some rest.
When you get adequate rest, you can get your life back to normal. Don’t let your pain keep you from sleeping or living your life to its fullest. Try one of these heating pads to get your life back to normal.