What kind of pain responds well to heat therapy?
It is important to know which kind of pain you should treat with heat and which pain you should not (because you are likely to actually make it worse).
Heat therapy (thermotherapy) provides safe and effective pain relief for a variety of non-inflammatory conditions, both acute and chronic. Why? Because muscle pain - whether due to overexertion, tired muscles, aching muscles, muscle cramps, muscle spasms, “trigger points”, or “knots” - responds very well to heat. Heat dilates blood vessels and improves regional blood flow, washing away lactic acid (a painful byproduct of overexertion). Simultaneously, heat activates a number of processes within muscle cells, which restore muscle health and provide pain relief: heat turns on protective proteins and genes that decrease cellular damage; reduces tissue oxidative stress; prevents muscle atrophy and promotes muscle regeneration. Studies have shown that heat therapy can reduce muscle soreness when applied after or before exercising. Heat therapy may also enhance the benefits of weight training and help you gain muscle mass. Finally, heat has a powerful positive psychological effect on us. Our brains are wired to interpret warmth as safety and comfort. Heat feels comfortable and reassuring and reassurance is an analgesic (pain killer).
The judicious application of heat can provide much needed and drug-free pain relief to people suffering from chronic back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, or other joint pain. Applied against the facial sinuses and eyelids, moist heat or dry heat therapy can soothe the nagging pain or pressure of chronic sinusitis, sinus headache, tension headache, stye, chalazion, dry eyes, or blepharitis. Heat can relax eye strain and tired eyes, and soothe an ocular migraine attack. Heat therapy can also comfort menstrual cramps.
When should I use ice instead of heat to treat pain?
Acute injuries and inflammation should be treated with ice, not heat. Cold therapy (cryotherapy) is beneficial for those conditions because it decreases blood flow to the region and this helps decrease regional inflammation. It is important to recognize that new onset, severe pain may be the manifestation of a serious medical condition, requiring immediate assessment by a physician and appropriate, definitive treatment. Deep lacerations, acute appendicitis, fractures, and neoplasms, to name a few, need to be diagnosed and treated by a doctor, not a hot or cold pack.
Every Huggaroo microwavable heating pad can be chilled in the freezer and enjoyed as a cool compress for a brief period. Please note that our heating pads are engineered to provide heat therapy; their design and ingredients are optimized for heat retention. The cold compress functionality is a secondary, bonus feature, not a primary function. If you are looking primarily for a cooling wrap instead of a heating pad, we recommend the Huggaroo Gel Ice Pack for Headache Relief. It is specifically designed to provide long-lasting cold therapy. The Huggaroo Warm & Cold Eye Compresses have a dual functionality and are designed to excel both as a heating pad and a cold pack. These products have a microwaveable heat pack for moist heat therapy and a gel ice pack for cold therapy and are available with aromatherapy or unscented.
Aromatherapy or Unscented Microwavable Heating Pads
At Huggaroo, we recognize that the sense of smell is personal and that some people are very sensitive to smells, especially during a migraine attack or when feeling unwell. For this reason, we have created truly unscented versions of our microwavable heating pad for neck pain relief, microwavable heating pad for headache relief, and warm/cold compress for eyes, in addition to our aromatherapy models. The scent-free models contain only clay beads and/or flaxseeds. Our aromatherapy heating pad models contain selected natural herbs (dried lavender +/- peppermint, chamomile, and lemongrass) that provide soothing aromatherapy every time they are microwaved.
Weighted Design for Relaxing Deep Pressure Stimulation
In addition to the above benefits, every Huggaroo microwave heating pad and warm/cold compress for eyes is weighted. The high mass allows us to make our wraps large and provide you with maximum coverage. It also enables the heat pad to stay warm for as long as possible. Finally, the weight of the heat pack provides you with deep pressure stimulation. This gentle pressure acts like a soothing hug and, like a weighted blanket, relaxes you further.
Huggaroo designs and manufactures America's favorite microwavable heating pads
Our original neck and shoulder microwavable heating pad was named The Best of the Best and The Top Choice by the Chicago Tribune in 2019 in an article entitled The Best Microwavable Heating Pad. The same product was named Best of the Best by Best Reviews in 2019 and, again, in June of 2020 in a review entitled Best Microwavable Heating Pads. Our heating pads have been featured on the Today Show and in celebrity swag bags at the 2019 Oscars and Emmys.
Every Huggaroo microwavable heating pad is engineered to retain heat for as long as possible to provide you with maximum benefit. We accomplish this by making our wraps large and filling them generously with the best heat-retaining ingredients (clay beads, flax seeds). We have created several different heating pad models, specifically designed to hug your neck and shoulders, wrap snugly around your head, mold against your back or abdomen, or fit perfectly over your eyes and facial sinuses. By modeling our products after specific anatomic regions, our heating pads maximize the delivery of soothing, moist heat wherever it is most needed. And because our heating pads are cordless, their therapeutic heat can be enjoyed absolutely anywhere - at home, in the office, and even on the go.