How to Choose the Best Heating Pads for Back Pain and Cramps: The Complete Guide

A heating pad is utilized in providing warmth to several parts of your body. You can use warm compressions to manage the pain encountered in these areas. It is a great source of relief on your sore areas such as back and neck. It will alleviate the pain and further promote healing.

Heat therapy aims to increase the blood flow to sore areas. Through the heat coming from the heat pad, the blood vessels are opened. This allows the oxygen and blood to flow into areas where you experience soreness. Moreover, this therapy aims to relax your muscles by reducing the spasms.

Who needs a heating pad?

There are several benefits in utilizing a heating pad. If you need relief for muscle aches and spasms or just want to feel warm during a cold day, heating pads are a great addition to your must-haves. The heating pad is recommended for the following:

  • Those who need treatment from recurring and occasional muscle soreness. This also includes relief from chronic muscle pain.
  • Those who want to feel warm during the cold weather.
  • Those who want to relax their muscles from a strenuous activity.

What are the types of heat pad?

Heating pads come in different types – electrical, chemical, and microwaveable. Nevertheless, they are used for a common purpose of warming up certain areas in your body. Here are some details about each heat pad type.

  • Electrical Heat Pads

This type of heat pads are the most common ones in the market. They are known to provide heating therapy for better pain relief.

There are seven kinds of heat pads under the electric type available in the market. Regular electric heat pads are multi purpose ones that can be used on different parts of your body. Infrared heat pads use infrared rays to target certain areas in your body that need to warm up.

There are also electric heating pads for the neck and shoulder.  Moreover, there are heating mattresses that aim to provide relief of target body areas. If you are always on-the-go, there are portable heat pads which are lightweight and easy to carry.

For people who want to warm up sore areas in their body while seating, there are heat seat electric heat pads which also provide massage. This will give you comfort while doing a task at home, school, or work. Lastly, there are massage table warmers which keep the temperature of the items on top of the table warm.

  • Chemical Heat Pads

This type of heat pads is most of the time disposable. They have moist and dry options of heating. The disposable kind of chemical heat pads needs to be activated every use.

The activation process causes a reaction among the chemicals present in the pad which shall generate heat. These are usually used as warmers for the hand and wraps for the abdomen. This is great to use during menstruation.

  • Microwaveable Heat Pads

This type of heat pad is a mix of electrical and chemical heat pads. They can be warmed up by putting them in the microwave to heat. They are usually made from materials that retain heat such as the gel or insulated fabric.

Microwaveable heat pads are commonly used for warming up your muscles. It can also induce enhanced relaxation.

What type of heating pads are best for the neck and shoulders?

If you are currently experiencing discomfort on your shoulders and neck, you can easily get rid of them by applying heat. This will make your muscles relax and alleviate the soreness you are feeling.

The best option for your sore neck and shoulders are electrical heating pads. They are user-friendly and can heat up in a fast pace. You just need to plug it up somewhere or utilize its battery pack to start heating certain parts of your body for muscle relief.

Another good option, in case, that there is no available electric type of pads, are microwaveable heat pads. You can easily set it up by just popping them in the microwave to heat up. You can also bring it along with you during your travels.

What are the best heating pads for back pain and cramps?

Back pain and cramps are a common concern of athletes, working individuals and others who partake on intensive workouts. It may cause the distraction to daily work and activities if not managed well.

Heat pads offer an excellent relief to back pains and cramps by allowing the blood to circulate in the vessels properly.  For cramps and back pain, it is recommended to use small heat pads that sit well on your back or any area that experiences cramps.

With this, electric heating pads are an excellent choice for cramps and back pain. You can choose either dry or moist. If you need to bring it along with you on your travel, you may opt for portable heating pads. You can hide it under your shirt and will not restrict your movement.

What types of pain that heating pads can provide relief?

Heating pads are known to provide relief to certain soreness of areas in the body. It is a great way to experience relaxation during a cold weather and muscle pain. Here are some of the types of pain where heating pads can be a useful solution to.

  • Heating pads are great in relaxing your muscles. This will relieve soreness of your muscles and soreness on certain areas of the body.
  • If you are experiencing back pain, heat pads can provide relief by applying warmth on your back.
  • Heat pads are also excellent in fixing stiff joints by removing the pain in it.
  • Most women find comfort in using heat pads during their periods. A warm heat pad can alleviate the spasms and cramps experienced during menstruation.
  • Heat pads help in removing sensitivity and pain on general areas on your body. It also helps in relieving pains brought by drug withdrawal, fibromyalgia, and deficiency in Vitamin D.

Choosing the type of heat pad is crucial for different purposes. You must select the type which performs well on your purpose. Furthermore, you must also take into consideration the amount of movement that you will be doing during the usage of heating pads. It should not slip and slide when you move around.

What kind of heat do you need?

Different types of heat pad provide different kinds of heat. Heat pads may provide dry or moist heat. Most heating pads employ dry heat. Nevertheless, there are a number of users that prefer moist over dry heat.

Dry heat generated by pads tends to remove moisture from the skin. Though it is convenient to use, consumers deem the after the dry heating therapy, their skin becomes dehydrated. Most electric heating pads utilize dry heat.

On the other hand, moist heat may come in damp warm towels, heating packs that are the moist and warm bath. This kind of heating does not dehydrate your skin as it is exposed to moisture. It is great for people with aging or dry skin.

Most health practitioners prefer the use of moist heat as it does not dehydrate the skin. It also eliminates the risk of acquiring skin irritation. Furthermore, it increases the skin’s elasticity.

Top 5 best heat pad reviews

There are several head pads in the market nowadays that offer different features. They promise to provide an excellent heating performance to any purpose you may need. Here are top five best heat pads in the market and their reviews.

  1. Extra-large and Soft Sunbeam Xpressheat Heating Pad

This fast-acting heat pad is great for body aches and strained muscles. The product heats up as fast as 30 seconds. There is a light meter that notifies you that the heating pad is ready for use.

XpressHeat from Sunbeam comes in an extra-large size with dimensions of 12×24 inches. This size is excellent to cover larger areas of your body that needs relief. It can be utilized to provide dry or moist heat.

Furthermore, it has a cover made from Microplush pad that is gentle for your skin. It is easy to wash and can last up to multiple uses.

Here are some of its features:

  • Fast heat technology that allows the pad to heat up as fast as 30 minutes
  • Washable soft Microplush pad cover
  • Has a temperature digital controller with LCD display
  • Six heat settings available to allow the user to select preferred temperature
  • Selection of period that triggers auto-turn off

Though you are guaranteed five years warranty for this product there are still reports from the customers that the heating pad lasted only for a couple of months which is less than what they have expected.

  1. PureRelief XL King-Size Heating Pad with fast-heating technology

This heating pad from Pure Relief offers relief of muscle and body pain to users. It optimally focuses heat on affected parts of the body. It heats up as fast as 30 seconds but it needs more time to adjust to the preferred temperature. The user can easily adjust the temperature setting using the controller.

The pure-relief heating pad comes in an extra-large size with dimensions of 12 by 24 inches. It aims to accommodate any size or area of the user. It is made from soft plush fibers which provide additional comfort to the user.

Here are some of its features:

  • Made from plush fibers that are micromink
  • Machine washable and can withstand multiple uses
  • Quick heating up process to provide immediate relief to the user
  • User can select if will be used for dry or moist heat
  • Has an LCD controller that displays the temperature setting of the pad
  • Has six different temperature settings which include warm, low, medium low, medium, medium high and high
  • Auto-shuts off after two hours of usage
  • Nine-foot cord that is flexible to wherever you are using it

This heating pad also has the five-year warranty. Similar to the Sunbeam heating pad, customers also have issues with regard to its durability. Some of the heating pads in this lot lasted only for at most seven months.

  1. HealthSmart Therabeads Microwavable Heating Pad

This microwaveable heating pad provides a moist heat to alleviate the stiffness and soreness of your muscles. It aids in soothing and relaxing you through deep penetrating heat from the pads.

Measuring at 9 by 12 inches, this heating pad is an excellent choice for heating medium to large surface areas. You can ideally use this to any part of your body such as the knees, shoulders, neck and back. You can easily heat it up using a microwave oven and it can last for around 15 minutes.

Here are some of its features:

  • Pad cover which protects the surface of the heating pads
  • Heats up for as fast as two minutes inside the microwave oven
  • No cords that can get in your way as it does not require electricity to heat up
  • Captures moisture and releases it in a moist heat that is soothing to the user

There are a few reports that the material where the product is made is a little flimsy to the touch. Moreover, there are some customers that issued a concern in developing a hole while heating. This resulted to the beads escaping the heating pad.

  1. UTK Infrared Heat Therapy Healing Jade Mat

Popular for its excellent ratings, this heating mat provides you heat treatment using infrared. Infrared has been one of the popular therapy forms which can provide benefits to your body.

This durable heat mat measures 21 by 31 inches and weighs only by 4.8 pounds. You can use it for cooling and heating purposes. This is perfect for home-use as it weighs seven pounds. It is made from 126 stones of type Jade which provide deep penetration of heat on an area or 14 by 20.5 inches

Here are some of its features:

  • Flexible enough to be wrapped around the body. You can comfortably sit down or lie on your back while covering your shoulders, hips, and waist for heating comfort.
  • Has a digital controller which helps in adjusting the temperature of the heating pad
  • Long cable measuring to 8.5 feet which aids in making it accessible to any location
  • Employs a timer for auto shut-off functionality
  • Has only a minimal EMG and negative ions

Some customers reported that their heating mats take a long time a heat up. Furthermore, its highest setting has not enough heat in it. On the other hand, there are customers that deem the product as bulky and hard to wrap around the body.

  1. Milliard Electric Therapy Heating Pad for Fast Pain Relief

This heating pad can instantly increase its heat level in just seconds to allow the blood to flow on minute sore areas in the body. It aims to provide quick healing and muscle relaxation. It can provide both dry and moist heat.

Measuring only at 6 x 20 inches, this heating pad is portable. It only weighs 15.2 ounces making it easy to bring along as it is not bulky. Furthermore, it is made from an extremely soft cover that can easily be washed in a washing machine.

Here are some of its features:

  • Has three heat settings – low, medium, and high
  • Long cord which measures up to 7.5 feet long
  • Durable and can last even up to multiple uses
  • Employs a cover that can be unzipped and thrown in the wash for easy cleaning

Similar to other heating pads, there are also customer reports that this product only lasted for a few months. The customers expected more from its price. Nonetheless, the removable cover is one of the redeeming factors of the product.

How does a heating pad work?

Heating pads aid in alleviating the pain caused by potentially sore muscles. It can also aid in keeping you warm during the cold weather. Here are some details of how heat pads work.

  • Electric heating pads utilize insulating material inside the pad to produce heat. Most heat pads allow the user to adjust the temperature. They are also reusable as you only need to plug them in again when you wish to use it.
  • Chemical heating pads use a chemical reaction which is exothermic in nature. This reaction produces the heat of the pad. With this, chemical heating pads are disposable and can be used only for one time.
  • Microwavable heating pads are a hybrid between electrical and chemical types of heating pads. They are filled with gel or insulating fabric that heats up when the pad is placed in the microwave. The filling retains the heat, thus providing dry heat for the user.

How many watts are heating pads?

Heating pads are a great option in keeping a warm temperature in your area. You can easily pile it up on your blankets which allow you to cut down on costs aligned with heating. Thus, it is essential to know their consumption of electricity.

Electric heating pads can consume around 60 to 90 watts when its setting is on high. It is also dependent on the brand and model as some pads may consume up to 180 watts.

The size of the pad determines the wattage or electricity that it consumes. A small heat pad can use as low as 60 watts. On the other hand, larger pads consume more electricity as it requires more area to heat up.

How long does a heating pad take to heat up?

Heating pads vary in sizes. They can be small for portable kinds or large enough to fit on sleeping mattresses. For all types of heating pads, it may take some time to fully heat them. It depends on its on how long it will take to heat up.

On common cases, average-sizes heating pads may take up to 10 to minutes to fully heat up. This can be a workable temperature. Nonetheless, it might take a longer time before you get to your desired temperature.

How does temperature control of heating pad work?

Most heating pads in today’s time offer temperature control feature. They are great for people who want to customize or select the degree of heat that their pads can provide.

For the normal type of heating pads, there are temperature scales where you can select the degree of heat it produces. It can be low, medium, or high. Depending on your preference, you can select which setting suits your needs.

Though the temperature settings work for some users, there are people who prefer to adjust it freely. There are high-end heating pad models that allow users to select their choice of temperature. With this, you can easily know which temperature works best for your purpose. You can select a temperature that is somewhere in between of low, medium, and high.

What are main features of a heating pad?

Heating pads offer several features. These are made to make your heating experience enjoyable and relaxing. Here are some of the features that most heating pads have.

  • Flexibility – You need a heating pad that can adjust to your position. It should not slip and slide while it is being used. With this, flexibility is an important feature to look for in a heating pad.
  • Automatic Shut-off – You should be careful when using electric heating pads. Should this type of heating pad be mishandled, it may cause damage to the product. With this, it is essential to have a pad that automatically shuts off.
  • Cord Length – Most electric heating pads come with long cord lengths. In this way, you can easily plug it in the most convenient socket but it will still have access to the location where you want to stay.
  • Cover – The cover aids in protecting your heating pad from potential stains and damage. With this, you are assured that it will last a long time and you will enjoy its value out of your money.
  • Size – If you need the heating pad to sit nicely on an area of your body, you must get an appropriately sized heating pad. In this way, the heat is distributed well in all parts of the area where you are intending to use it.

Safety tips on heating pad usage

You should remember a couple of things before using a heating pad. This is to keep yourself all the time. Here are safety tips that you should consider when using heating pads.

  • Unless your heating pad has an auto shut-off functionality, do not sleep while using an electric heating pad.
  • Observe the construction of your heating pad. Make sure that there are no frayed wires or charred spots on the item. Should you notice these, request for a product replacement.
  • Heat your microwaveable heating pad for only the amount of time specified in the manual or based on the prescribed setting of the manufacturer.
  • Do not place the heating pads near materials that are combustible especially if the pad is on a high-temperature setting.


Heating pads are great for people who want a relief on sore areas of the body such as back pain and cramps. It is a great way to normalize the blood flow to these sore areas to relax them.

There are different types of heating pads. These are electric, chemical, and microwaveable. Depending on your purpose, you can choose the best type for your needs. You can also either select heating pads that support dry or moist heat.

In selecting heating pads, you should look for pertinent features such as cover, cord length, automatic shut-off, flexibility and size. Moreover, the heating pad must not take too long to heat up. As a customer, you should be able to control the temperature setting according to your preference.