According to a leading study, menstrual cramps affect one in every ten women, being so severe that they can't go about their day normally. Now, while there is available medication for menstrual pain, you can always look towards less complicated methods, like buying the best heating pad for cramps.
Heating pads are designed to help your uterine muscles relax, thus encouraging better blood flow and fewer contractions. Apart from easing period pain, a heating pad can also help with sore muscles in other areas of your body; it is even recommended for people who struggle with lower back pain and arthritis, among other conditions.
How Do Heating Pads Help with Menstrual Cramps?
Heat has long been used as a home remedy for menstrual pain relief, from warm compresses up to hot water bottles of the past decades. Nowadays, plenty of science supports heat as an effective remedy for period pain. For instance, applying heat to the lower back or abdomen relaxes uterine contractions, meaning less pain. A further study shows that heat improves blood flow, which can also minimize pain.
How Does a Heating Pad for Cramps Work?
A heating pad works by increasing the local temperature in the problem area, which improves blood circulation and muscle flexibility. Subsequently, this relieves pain and discomfort while boosting the recovery process. There are two fundamental types of heat therapy:
- Dry/Conducted heat includes all kinds of dry heating pads and saunas.
- Moist/Convection heat includes moist heating pads, steamed towels and hot baths.
If you look to make your period cramps more bearable, we will share five of the best heating pads for cramps you can get today. While they will not prevent the recurrence of this condition, they will offer safer menstrual pain relief during your special time of the month.
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Best Heating Pads for Cramps- Reviews
Menstrual cramps can wreck all sorts of havoc in your daily routine, from bloating, mood swings to excruciating pain. So even as you get a heating pad, it would be great to get an option that provides some extra comfort and different settings you can choose from.
This electric heating pad from Mighty Bliss comes with three temperature settings you can choose from. You can also choose between dry heat and moist heat for the best heat therapy for you.
Also, the large electric heating pad for cramps and sore muscles is made with very soft microplush fiber material that can help improve your mood. It is machine washable and big enough to relieve back pain and other aches.
If you want a versatile heating pad, Pure Enrichment Pure Relief is an excellent choice. It's ideal for pain relief and sore muscles and can also be used for legs, arms, shoulders and abdomen. It has a super soft and thick micro flash fabric that offers incredible comfort, plus relaxation and relief both to your body and mind.
This heating pad features fast heating technology ensures that the device heats up quickly, within just a few minutes, to help you alleviate the period pain as soon as possible. The rapid temporary pain relief even soothes muscles aches within a short time. Just strap it on and see your day lighten up within minutes.
It also has six temperature settings involving moist and dry heat therapy. That means you can adjust your ideal heat level whenever and however you want using the LCD controller. Plus, the moist heat option ensures that the pad is safe for use. It also includes an auto shut-off option; it will automatically turn off after 120 minutes to avoid burns in case you fall asleep.
The Sunbeam Heating Pad comes with ultra-heat technology to improve blood flow, relax muscles and even heal pain. It's specifically designed for people with arthritis but is equally helpful for tendonitis and other intense pain conditions. It achieves this effectively thanks to the soothing heat therapy.
This heating pad comes with a flexible side controller that makes it easy to change the movement. Additionally, it has three customized heat settings that allow you to set targeted heat to the affected areas. Adjusting motion and controlling heating is quite straightforward with easy-to-use controls. More so, the auto shut-off system means you don't have to worry about turning it off since it shuts down automatically after two hours of use. You can then reset it afterward by unplugging.
It's pretty easy to use and also maintain, thanks to the soft and comfortable washable cover. The extra-long cord, about 9ft, allows you to move and relax wherever you want at home or in the office, without worrying that you'll unplug the device. On top of that, the unit comes backed by a 5-year warranty.
The Ambershine King Size Heating Pad is a highly reliable unit to relieve period cramps. It's well-designed and effective in increasing blood flow to relieve pain, abdominal cramps and any kind of muscle discomfort very quickly. But what makes this heating pad truly exceptional is its size.
It's an extra-large heating pad, large enough to cover most of your body and still deliver continuous heat to all parts for effective pain relief. There are six temperature settings for safer and better use. It also has a flannel that offers maximum comfort to your body. Furthermore, the fast-heating technology means it warms up within a few seconds, while the auto shut-off system turns it off after 120 minutes of use.
Ambershine King Size Heating Pad is easy to use, thanks to the removable controller. It's also as easy to maintain since it comes with a washable plush. Considering the soft and cozy feel, this is a superb choice for people who've experienced overpowering period cramps.
Using a water bottle for period cramps is arguably the oldest method in place. While the best heating pad for cramps will come with more settings and technology for fast soothing, sometimes a bottle will offer better comfort and is equally so much safer.
This rubber water bottle from HomeTop is available in different colors and will help you relieve menstrual cramps, neck pain, shoulder pain, and other types of pain. In addition, it is also a great tool for keeping warm, either for you, your child, or even your pet on cold nights.
It comes at an affordable price and is easy to use by just filling with hot water. The bottle is also a great option if you want cold treatment and is a portable option.
A monthly cycle means you will need a reusable heating pad to relieve period cramps. This microwavable heating pad from Nature Creation is ideal for your monthly symptoms.
It is filled with rice and flaxseeds and then housed in a cover made with two sides; one with cotton and the other with fleece for comfort and heat retention. To heat it, you can heat it in the microwave and place it on your lower abdomen area.
While it is one of the best heating pads for cramps, this product is also great for neck, shoulder, and abdominal pain. It heats in minutes and retains heat long enough for you to feel the relief.
Little things like natural aromas can lift your spirits when menstruating, which can, in turn, help you deal with the period pain better. But, unfortunately, heat therapy does not always offer relief for some women, and they would rather turn to cold therapy to control any discomfort.
These pads from Sacksy Thyme are designed to offer heat and cold therapy when you have abdominal cramps or aches on other parts of your body. If you want heat therapy, you can heat the pad for 90 seconds in the microwave or place it in the freezer for cold therapy.
The pad is covered in 100% pure cotton fabric and is filled with certified organic herbs for the best aromatherapy. It is available in different colors and at an affordable price.
The UTK Jade Back Heating Pad takes far-infrared heating to a new level. Its far-infrared ray therapy reaches the inner tissue regions and offers relief from menstrual cramp pain, back pain, joint pain, sore muscles and even discomfort. Even better, it comes with a long cord so that you can walk about easily while wearing it.
It comes with a natural stone that eliminates negative ions, promotes your brain's oxygen level and soothes your pain. Its therapeutic heat is exceptionally consistent since stones heat up more gently than metal and retain the heat for longer. This heating belt also features time and temperature settings, memory function for regular use, as well as an auto shut-off feature.
The waist belt is remarkably comfortable to use, and you'll certainly feel the penetrating relief on the targeted areas. This heating pad is also portable as it relies on battery energy, so you can use it at home or in the office and easily walk around. Plus, it comes with a nifty carry bag for easy transportation.
This heating patch is what you need to soothe your menstrual cramps if you have to be outside your house. It is a small patch made with activated carbon with absorbent polymers serving as heat activators to provide warm pain therapy discretely for up to eight hours.
Unlike other heating pads that you have to place on your lower abdomen conspicuously, this option allows you to relieve period pain in maximum comfort. In addition, you will only need to adhere it to your underwear, where it will contour to the shape of your body for pain relief.
In addition to the activated carbon, this heat patch also features organic herb extracts like dandelion root, raspberry, and cramp bark to help relieve other symptoms that come with period cramps, such as bloating.
Hot Pockets Back Heating Pad is designed for the lower back and helps with all kinds of muscle aches and pain relief. It's effective as both hot and cold, so you can set it in the microwave for heat or keep it in the fridge for cold therapy. Furthermore, unlike other heat wraps, this full waist wrap lets you move normally and keeps you comfortable since the body strap secures you perfectly.
It's smartly designed to offer relief and relaxation from abdominal pain, period pain, sore muscles and help relieve joint pain, tendonitis and recovery processes. Furthermore, it's lightweight, comfortable and fairly easy to use: simply place the heating insert and off you go.
Thanks to the removable heating insert, it's also easy to maintain. Plus, the fabric is machine washable. In a nutshell, the Hot Pockets Heating Pad is a superb choice for menstrual pain relief, one that lets you stay active at work while it takes care of your period pain.
What are the Benefits of Using the Best Heating Pad for Cramps?
Before you buy a heating pad to alleviate period pain, it is best to understand its effectiveness.
For starters, the pain is caused by your uterine muscles contracting before or during your period. The contractions themselves are caused by prostaglandins, which are chemicals produced by the lining of your uterus. The contractions are vital in encouraging your uterus to shed, thus your monthly menstruation flow.
The intensity of the period cramps is different from woman to woman; some will barely have any menstrual pain, while others will be confined to the couch if not a hospital bed. If you are in the category of women who get quite uncomfortable during this time of the month, you could use a heating pad to alleviate the symptoms.
The heating pads offer heat therapy that has been used for ages to increase blood flow, thus reducing pain in different parts of the body. However, when it comes to menstrual cramps, the pain mostly comes from cramped uterine muscles that are receiving little or inadequate blood flow. Therefore, applying heat to these muscles relaxes them to allow better blood flow, thus, reducing menstrual pain.
Factors to Consider Before You Buy Your Best Heating Pads for Cramps
When you understand the benefits of using the best heating pad for cramps, you need to make the best decision when buying. There are many options to choose from, and choosing just one of the many is not an easy task.
Let us consider just a few factors you can rely on to guide your buying process.
1. Types of Heating Pads
There are several kinds of heating pads for cramps, each with its own approach to menstrual cramp pain relief. To help you find the ideal device for you, let's look at what differentiates these types from each other.
a). Infrared Heatings Pads
These use far-away infrared waves to produce heat. That means the heat is able to penetrate deeper into the skin and reach soft muscle tissues, around 2-3 inches below the skin's surface. Therefore, infrared heating pads are considered more effective across dry heating pads, but they are also more expensive.
b). Electric Heating Pads
Electric heating pads heat up using household current. Their heat only reaches around a quarter of an inch below the skin, so it doesn't reach muscle tissue. Generally, these come with three heating levels, but it's worth noting the highest levels can be extremely dangerous if left on the skin for a long time. Consequently, if you'll opt for an electric heating pad, we recommend going for one with a pre-set timer or an automatic shut-off feature.
c). Moist Heating Pads
Moist heating pads have to be filled with or soaked in water before use. As much as they are considered a tad bit more effective than electrical pads, they also don't penetrate deeper than the skin level. Nevertheless, moist heating pads feel much better on the skin and rarely cause any dry-heat irritations.
You'll need to place several layers of fabric between the moist pad and your skin to avoid burns. You can also consider spraying an electric pad with water for more comfort.
d). Microwave Heating Pads
As the name suggests, these are heated up directly in a microwave. Typically, microwave heating pads are made of insulating fabric and stuffed with grains such as wheat, flax seeds or buckwheat. They also don't reach deeper than skin level but will get the job done if you just want soothing heat to relieve period cramps.
When you need a heating pad to use on your lower abdominal area, you will need to consider a reliable size that you can comfortably use even at night.
Heating pads are available in different shapes and sizes, but one that relieves menstrual cramps should be relatively small, unlike bigger heating pads designed for back pain. If you also need a heating pad you can use on other parts of your body, make sure it is foldable so you can use it for cramps.
3. Heat Settings
Heat settings allow you to control how hot you want your heating pad. As such, look for a unit that offers a range of options. Depending on the type of pad you get, you can enjoy different settings or levels to relieve pain. For example, electric heating pads have three heat settings, while you can also decide how long to heat your moist heating pads.
We recommend starting at the lowest level the adjusting the settings up as needed.
4. Heat-Up Time
Another feature to consider for your heat therapy pad is how long it needs to heat up before you can use it. Ideally, it should be ready in a few minutes, so you don't need to spend a moment more in pain. Such placement mean s
5. Automatic Shut-Off
Heating pads can cause burns and on the skin when left for too long. Therefore, it would be best to look for an option with a pre-set timer or an automatic shut-off feature. A pre-set timer lets you control how long the heating pad stays warm before shutting off automatically. On the other hand, an automatic shut-off turns the device off after a specified period.
When buying a pad, consider the material it is made of to guarantee your safety if you have sensitive skin, prevent burning, and offer better heat retention. Most are made with plush fabrics that soothe your skin and are also ideal for machine washing.
7. Corded vs. Cordless
Electric heating pads usually come attached to a card that's plugged into the wall to power the unit. Naturally, that restricts how far you can move around while using the pad. Therefore, if you want total portability, look out for a heating pad with a cordless design. But if you still want a corded heating pad, you can get one with a long cord that will let you move around more freely and comfortably.
How to Use a Heating Pad for Menstrual Cramps Safely
Heating pads are, without a doubt, wonderful tools for relieving period cramps, but they also pose a few safety caveats.
- If you get a heating pad with a range of heat settings, start with the lowest level.
- If you opt to use a higher heat setting, limit direct contact to under 15 minutes to avoid overheating or burns.
- Don't use your heating pad for over 20 minutes at a time per hour.
- Don't fall asleep with the heating pad still on you to avoid burns from prolonged heat exposure. Instead, consider an option with a pre-set timer or auto shut-off feature.
- Don't use the heating pad directly on the skin. Always have a layer of fabric between your skin and the pad to avoid skin irritation or burns.
- Don't use a heating pad to relieve period cramps if you suffer from skin conditions, such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis, etc., in the areas you want to apply the pad.
- Don't use your heating immediately after physical activity.
- Don't use your device on a swelling. Since the swelling is already bleeding in the tissue, heat will only draw more blood to the affected area.
- Never use a heating pad on broken skin, a cut or an open wound.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Best Heating Pad for Cramps
1. Can you use a heating pad for period cramps while pregnant?
According to recent academic research, yes, it is safe to use to heating pad to relieve menstrual cramp pain while pregnant. That being said, there are some necessary precautions to avoid burns and minimize the risk of harm.
First, the heating pad should be set at the lowest possible temperature. Second, the pad should be wrapped in a towel to prevent burns. Finally, it's also necessary to restrict the amount of time you use the heating pad at a time.
2. Does a heating pad help with period pain relief?
The pad offers targeted heat therapy to your cramped uterine muscles, thus encouraging better blood flow to reduce period pain. However, relief from period cramps varies from person to person in terms of how fast the pain goes or how long you can last until you need to use the heating pad again.
3. Do the heating pads make cramps worse?
Heating pads are generally safe for most women. However, they can increase menstrual cramps for some women dealing with severe endometriosis as heat will harden the fascia, which will lead to more pain.
4. Will using the heating pads for cramps increase my bleeding?
The heat pads will help relax your cramped uterine muscles for easier shedding but will not increase the amount of blood you shed.
5. Where should I place the heating pads for menstrual cramps relief?
There are two best places you can place the pad for maximum pain relief; on your lower abdomen or lower back. In most cases, any of these areas will offer you the best results, but some women find the lower abdomen area to be too delicate, thus prone to accidental burns and blisters. If you don't feel comfortable placing it on your lower abdomen, you can place it on your lower back to offer the same relief. Also, you will benefit from better blood flow throughout your lower back.
Additionally, you can also use the pads with essential oils that are also great options for relieving menstrual cramps. For best results, you can apply the oil to your lower abdomen or back area and then apply the heat to reduce pain significantly.
6. How long should I use a heating pad for menstrual cramps?
Depending on your pain intensity, you can use the pad in sessions lasting 15 to 30 minutes. If you are new to using the pads, you may benefit most from starting from the lowest heat setting to evaluate if the therapy works for you. If you encounter no challenges, you can gradually increase the heat settings, but make sure you don't injure your skin.