Oh, heating pad. How I love thee. Let me count the ways.
After turning 30 years old, I can remember feeling parts of my body going downhill in many different ways. 30 is not even middle-aged! I will not dive into that too much, but if I were lifting heavy things, running, or just on my feet for too long, I would feel it a lot more than I used to. As time went on, things did not get much better.
Fortunately for me, there are so many pain relief agents out there that one would think pain would not exist anymore. However, we do not live in a perfect world now do we? One must shift through pain medications, massage techniques, stretching techniques, special pillows and special mattresses, and of course, heating pads!
The first time I used a heat pad was after I must have slept in a strange position. I had this piercing pain rushing through my neck, and I could only turn my head one way. I looked pretty silly turning my entire body to see what was off to my side. I took Tylenol. I even took Ibuprofen, but those just helped mildly. It's a lot like taking cough medicine when you have a cold. It does not treat the problem. Rather, it just fears the symptoms.
My friends were recommending hot baths or showers followed by some icing. I admit that that did help in one way or another. It was not until my mother wave me an electric heat pad that I felt a marked difference. First off, it just feels nice, especially in the winter. Secondly, it really works! The heat relaxes your muscles, and a heating pad can localize the heat in such a way that a bath or an electric blanket can not. Combine this with an ice pack every 15 minutes for a few sessions, and you'll really notice the difference!
I mentioned that my mother provided me with an electric heating pad, but there are many different kinds out there to choose from. The most popular versions are electric, chemical, and microwavable heating pads. I've tried them all. I do not recommend the microwavable ones simply because it's too hard to control the amount of heat that comes out, and they tend to lose their heat too quickly. Getting up to microwave them again and again can get annoying.
The chemical ones are much better in the sense that the amount of heat that they give off is controlled. I just feel weird putting a chemical reaction like that on any part of my body! The electric ones seem to be the way to go since the heat is controlled, you do not have to reheat them over and over if they are plugged in, and they do the job quite well! There's a lot more to this subject, but I hope you've enjoyed this initial overview.