If you suffer from soreness or muscle fatigue, you likely own a heating pad and use it fairly often. But are there detriments to using one as you sleep?
What is the Purpose of a Heating Pad?
Heat therapy is great for minor aches and pains as it opens your blood vessels and increases blood flow. This increased circulation decreases inflammation and helps your muscles heal more rapidly. All in all, these are great benefits, but as it turns out, sleeping with a heating pad on can pose some risks.
How Are Heating Pads Dangerous?
Heat therapy is meant to be used in 20-minute cycles—20 minutes on, 20 minutes off—in order to achieve the best results. There’s little evidence to support the idea that using a heating pad for longer than 30 minutes has any additional benefits. In fact, leaving a heating pad on bare skin for too long (or on too high of a setting for an extended period of time) can result in minor burns.
Heating pads and electric blankets both have heating elements or coils inside that allow them to heat up. Any device that has a cord has the potential to start a fire. Thanks to advancements in technology, this risk is admittedly lower than it used to be, but the chance still exists. If you’re using a heating pad in bed, turn it off before going to sleep and make sure it’s not underneath blankets, pillows, or anything flammable.
3 Tips to Help Back Pain
If you’re using a heating pad to alleviate back pain or soreness, try some of these tips instead:
- Take a hot shower: Warm water and steam better penetrate the skin, helping the heat get deeper into your muscle tissue.
- Use a hot towel: You can soak a towel in hot water & squeeze out excess water to have a heat source that naturally cools off as you use it.
- Aromatherapy stuffed animals: This is a relatively new product with beads inside that can be frozen or warmed up in the microwave. Like a heated towel, these animals only stay warm for a certain amount of time but feature some soothing scents like lavender to help your muscles relax.
Bottom line: Heating pads are great tools for muscle aches when used correctly and are never a good substitute for heating in your home. If you’re using a heating pad at night because your heat isn’t working or isn’t working as well as it should be, give Bailey Plumbing Heating Cooling a call! Our family will take care of your family so you aren’t stuck in the cold. Contact us online or by phone at (800) 717-1793 today.