Using a back heating pad to deal with back ache

Most people encounter back ache at some point in their lives, and women especially frequently experience lower back pain and cramps when they have their period.

After years of taking painkillers to relieve the pain, I discovered back heating packs which definitely eased the pain and made me more comfortable.

What are back heating pads?

They are air activated chemical packs, which slowly heat as air gets to them.

Typically when you buy the heating pad, it will be sealed in plastic. You take it out of it’s pack, peel off the strip on the back and stick it to your shirt, blouse or underwear (never ever let it touch your skin), positioned near where the pain is. (Note that some heat patches such as the ones from Well-Patch allow you to attach to the skin – check the instructions before using). As the air gets to it (the heat pack itself is made of a cloth), it starts to warm, and you feel the warmth through your shirt.

The warmth should relax the muscles and relieve the pain. It’s not that different to having a hot water bottle next to your back, but because it’s small and stuck to your clothes, it’s portable and can thus provide pain relief during the day.

The back heating packs can be used for both back and shoulder pain, and the heat pack usually lasts 12 hours.

In my experience it’s best worn during the day – you are not supposed to lean on the pack (to ensure there is no rupture) and therefore it’s best not to wear it when sleeping when you are likely to roll over it.

There are several heat packs on the market by Therma Care, Well-Patch and Cura-Heat. I personally use the Cura-Heat ones which are inexpensive but work well.

It’s possible to get microwave heated packs too, but I prefer the air-activated ones for convenience – you can put a pack in your handbag for emergencies, or keep one in a draw in the office, and they are extremely easy to use.

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