How Often To Use Your Microwavable Heating Pads
A heating pad is a great way to help your body recover from injury or to just give yourself relief from some of your aches and pains.
But you should also make sure to limit the amount of time you spend with the heating pad on.
You shouldn't use the heating pad on your body more than 3 to 4 times a way, at no more than 30 minutes at a time.
Read on to find out more why this is the case.
Why heating pads work
Before we get into how often you should use a heating pad, let's first talk about why heating pads work and why they are so popular.
When you use a heating pad as a source a heat, the heating pad allow for increased circulation to the spot in which you have placed the heating pad.
The increased circulation then allows for nutrients and oxygen to get to these areas of the body.
Overall, this helps to repair damaged muscles, improves stiffness, and allows some relief from inflammation.
You get the same thing from microwavable or electric heating pads.
But the electric heating pad will give you longer time with heat coverage than then microwavable ones will.
When you use a heating pad as a source of cold, it helps to reduce swelling and inflammation with new injuries.
This is why it is suggested to use for brand new injuries or right after working out (ever seen an athlete take an ice bath?).
And these are why heating pads have become so popular.
Instead of having to get in a huge ice bath, which most of us don't have access to, we can purchase a small heating pad that we can through in the microwave or plug it in and use it any time that we want.
Heating pad time limits
When using a heating pad, you should be limiting yourself to the amount of time you spend using it and how often you use it.
For both heat and cold, you should only use it up to 3 or 4 times a way, and only for about 30 minutes each time.
And it is preferred that you use a microwavable heating pad because those types of heating pads will eventually lose their heat.
Why limit your time with the heating pad
If heating pads are so good for us, then why do we have to limit how often we use them?
Well, there are a few problems you can run into if you use your heating pad for too long.
First, if you have a heating pad on for too long, you can could end up with a contact burn.
This is especially true if the heating pad is an electric one, which won't turn off on its own, no matter how hot it gets.
That is why we typically recommend getting a microwavable heating pad instead of an electric one.
A contact burn is a burn you get by touching a hot object, which in this case would be the heating pad.
How you treat a contact burn depends on how bad the burn is.
If it is a first degree burn, then the just the first layer of skin is going to be affected.
The skin will be red and painful, but again it should just be the first layer.
If your burn goes deeper than just the first layer, then you have a second or third degree burn.
And in that case, you need to go get treated by a medical professional.
With first degree burns, you can treat those at home.
According to the Mayo Clinic, to treat a first degree burn:
For minor burns:
- Cool the burn. Hold the area under cool (not cold) running water for about 10 minutes. If the burn is on the face, apply a cool, wet cloth until the pain eases. For a mouth burn from hot food or drink, put a piece of ice in the mouth for a few minutes.
- Remove rings or other tight items from the burned area. Try to do this quickly and gently, before the area swells.
- Don't break blisters. Blisters help protect against infection. If a blister does break, gently clean the area with water and apply an antibiotic ointment.
- Apply lotion. After the burn is cooled, apply a lotion, such as one with aloe vera or cocoa butter. This helps prevent drying and provides relief.
- Bandage the burn. Cover the burn with a clean bandage. Wrap it loosely to avoid putting pressure on burned skin. Bandaging keeps air off the area, reduces pain and protects blistered skin.
- If needed, take a nonprescription pain reliever, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
And as just mentioned, if you get anything more than a first degree burn, then you need to seek the help of a medical professional to help you.
Otherwise you could give yourself other problems.
Next, you want to make sure you don't fall asleep while having the heating pad on.
If you fall asleep with a heating pad, depending on where the heating pad is located, you could give yourself back or neck problems by sleeping in a way that is inappropriate.
If you use the heating pad for a shorter period of time, then you are less likely to fall asleep on it.
Lastly, if you leave a heating pad on for too long, you could create a situation where you can suffer from extreme inflammation of the body.
According to Healthline.com:
"When you’re living with chronic inflammation, your body’s inflammatory response can eventually start damaging healthy cells, tissues, and organs. Over time, this can lead to DNA damage, tissue death, and internal scarring.
All of these are linked to the development of several diseases, including:
- heart disease
- rheumatoid arthritis
- type 2 diabetes
- cognitive decline and dementia (in older adults)"
For the most part, you want your body to learn to repair itself on it's own, but we can also take advantage of what heating pads give us.
With that in mind, don't use the heating pad for too long or you could be giving yourself additional issues like listed above.
Why LavaBags are the best
We've listed off a few reasons why you should be careful with your heating pad.
And what we have listed are all valid reasons.
So be very careful when you are using your heating pad.
If you were to ask us, we would tell you that the LavaBag heating pad is the best.
First off because it gives you the most constant heat out of most of the heating pads out there.
You warm it up for a few minutes in the microwave and it would give you a little bit more than 30 minutes of heating time.
This is opposed to other heating pads that are filled with corn or wheat, which would last you not as long and the overall heating pad has a limited life span as well.
If you accidentally overheat your corn or rice heating pad, you may have to purchase a new one because the filler will be burned.
You don't have to worry about that with the LavaBag heating pad because the filler is sand, which won't go bad on your.
The LavaBag heating pad also conforms to your body better than the corn or rice heating pads.
This means that the heating pad is shaped better to your body, which means you are getting closer to the muscles you are trying to heal.
Lastly, the LavaBag heating pad has the ability to be washed fully and dried with little worries of ruining the heating pad.
Other fillers need to be spot cleaned, which can lead to other problems if your whole heating pad needs to be cleaned.
While it might be tempting to leave your heating pad on for extended periods of time, it is a better idea to limit yourself.
If you don't, you could end up giving yourself a rash or any degrees of burns on your body.
You will not only be limited to these, though, as you could give yourself extreme inflammation issues.
So make sure to limit yourself to 3 to 4 uses per day with 30 to 40 minutes each time.