7 Best Heating Pads for Neck and Shoulders
Neck and shoulder pain are among the most common musculoskeletal conditions treated worldwide. They both constitute one of the commonest reasons people visit the GP.
Neck pain is often a result of neck stiffness, muscle strain, neck injuries such as whiplash, degenerative disc diseases, cervical spondylosis, compressed nerve, and muscle spasm. Shoulder pain, on the other hand, is commonly caused by nerve compression, fracture of bones of the shoulder, shoulder dislocation, tendinitis, tendon tears, and bursitis.
Neck and shoulder pain may be treated either by conservative, non-pharmacological methods, or pharmacological methods. Non-pharmacological methods of treating neck and shoulder pains include cold compresses, heat therapy, rest, and physical therapy.
Pharmacological treatment methods for shoulder and neck pains include use of oral or topical analgesics, muscle relaxants, and injectable corticosteroids into the site of pain if mild analgesics do not work.
One of the conservative methods of treating musculoskeletal pain, heat pads, has been used for centuries because of its efficient way of reducing and eliminating pain. In this article, we discuss the role of heat pads in treating neck and shoulder pain, how heat lowers pain, which heat pads are more efficient, and how to know which ones to buy.
How does Heat Relieve Pain?
Heat therapy is the simplest, yet effective drug-free ways of relieving pain and joint stiffness. Heat provides analgesia via the following ways;
- Heat stimulates your sensory receptors to inhibit transmission of pain signals to the brain, therefore the pain sensation is reduced.
- Heat reduces the tension in a muscle, this causes the muscle to relax and the painful spasms are abated.
- Heat causes an increase in soft tissue flexibility and increases the motor functions of muscles, and makes contractions smoother and easier.
- Heat soothes and calms pain-irritated nerve endings reducing the initiation and transmission of pain signals.
- Heat increases blood flow to the site of pain. This ensures that more nutrients are brought to the area of pain while irritants and toxins are flushed away.
- Heat stimulates one’s natural metabolic rate, providing more energy to heal the injury much faster.
- Heat reduces oedema and inflammation at the pain site, relieving the pain.
Seeing the scientific basis on which heat therapy works, the use of heat pads are, therefore, a key component of therapy for neck and shoulder pain.
Top 5 Heating Pads for Neck and Shoulders
We have narrowed the various heat pads available to the top 7. Let’s share our reviews of these heat pads, their specifications and respective efficiencies.
1. TheraTherm Shoulder Neck Heating Pad
The TheraTherm Shoulder Neck Heating Pad is an efficient electric heating pad which delivers intense moist heat therapy to provide temporary analgesia for musculoskeletal aches and pains.
It is manufactured by Chattanooga, a subsidiary of DJO Global in the USA.
This heating pad comes with a unique flannel cover which pulls moisture from the air and releases it into the skin as the temperature within the heat pad rises.
- It features a digital hand control which is very simple to handle. This control allows you regulate the temperature of the heating pad and the duration of a treatment session. The control allows you to regulate the temperature between 88 and 166 Fahrenheit and duration of treatment of 1 to 60 minutes.
- The TheraTherm Shoulder Neck Heating Pad also comes with a lockout mode which guards against irregular changing of control settings during treatment.
- It is only shipped within the US and select countries, so depending on which country you reside, you might not be able to access it.
Who should use it?
The TheraTherm Shoulder Neck Heating Pads provide deep relief from pain associated with neuropathy, muscle spasm, arthritis, muscle strain, and ligament sprain involving the shoulder, wrist, back, stomach, knee, ankle, or foot.Check More Reviews on Amazon
2. Sunbeam 885-911 Neck and Shoulder Wrap
The Sunbeam 885-911 Neck and Shoulder Wrap is a Soft micro plush, fully washable electric heating pad with a tailored design to provide pain relief to the neck and shoulder.
This heat wrap, manufactured in the USA, provides a relaxing, therapeutic heat to the stresses areas directly.
The Sunbeam 885.911 Neck and Shoulder Wrap comprises a soft microplush washable pad, and a digital LED controller with 4 heat settings, and a 9-foot power cord.
- The pad contains a magnetic clasp and slightly weighted borders which make it stay in place until the end of the treatment session.
- It can be used with dry or moist heat
- The LED controller features 4 heat settings to select the right amount of heat you need to receive significant relief.
- The 9-foot power cord ensures you can use it anywhere in your house
- It is available at a reasonable price.
- It is manufactured with a 2-year warranty
- The product contains magnets, so you cannot use it if you have on implantable devices such as pacemakers, IUD, and insulin pumps.
- It is only available in the US by Sunbeam Products Inc.
Who should Use it
The Sunbeam 885.911 Neck and Shoulder Wrap beam provide relief from pain resulting from overuse, spasms, and strain of the muscles and joints of the back, spine, and shoulders. It also relieves abdominal cramps if directly applied to the abdomen.Check More Reviews on Amazon
3. Dr. Bob’s – Neck Wrap Heating Pad
Dr Bob’s Neck Wrap Heating Pad is the first therapeutic heating pad that relaxes the neck, upper back, shoulders, and chest, providing maximum heat by UL standards. It is another electric heating pad manufactured in the USA.
Dr Bob’s Neck Wrap Heating Pad has a removable and washable plush, luxurious microplush cover.
It also has Velcro on the chest pieces to keep it in place comfortably. Additionally, it has 4 heat settings with an automatic 2-hour shut off. It is made with a 9 feet cord to allow use anywhere
- Can be used with dry heat or moist heat by spraying the desired amount of moisture on the cover before you use.
- The cover is washable and Velcro to keep it comfortably in place over the shoulders
- The controls are easy to use and you can choose between 4 heat settings.
- Has an automatic 2-hour shut-off, thus providing a long duration of heat treatment.
- Its large size (24” x 23”) can cover enough body surface area.
- It is very soft and light-weighted, so it stays comfortably on the shoulders.
Not recommended for children, people with acute injuries, open wounds, and decreased body temperature.
Who should use it?
It is helpful for deep pain relief for people who have upper back and neck pain, poor posture, headaches, migraines, joint and muscle pain, arthritis, and abdominal cramps.Check More Reviews on Amazon
4. Sunbeam XL Massage Renue Heat Therapy Wrap
The Sunbeam XL Massage Renue Heat Therapy Wrap is an electric heating pad which provides massaging, relaxing heat directly to the areas of pain and stress, providing soothing relief on the back, neck, and shoulders. It is manufactured in the USA by Sunbeam Products Inc.
It has a unique shape and upper flap that covers the whole area from the neck to the lower back. It’s slightly heavy edges give a custom fit which keeps it in place the whole duration of the treatment session.
Additionally, it comes with a digital LED controller with 2 heat settings and a 2-hour automatic shut-off function. It also has 4 massage settings to give soothing massage as required by the user.
- 2 heat settings and 4 massage settings to give you control over the amount of heat suited for you
- The digital LED controls are easy to operate
- It is custom designed with magnetic front closure and snaps closure to provide a comfortable fit.
- It’s slightly weighted edges keep it in place and directly on the applied body area the whole time of use.
- Its extra-large size affords increased contact with the body to provide deep relief to the neck, shoulder, and much of the back area.
- The fabric cover is washable and ensures daily use.
- You can use at home or at work.
- It comes with a 2-year warranty
- It has magnets in its front flaps, therefore not recommended for those who have implantable devices such as insulin pumps, pacemakers, and IUD on.
- Currently, it is not available for shipping outside the USA.
Who should use it?
The Sunbeam XL Massage Renue Heat Therapy Wrap provides relief from pain resulting from muscle spasms, pinched nerves, arthritis, and overuse injuries in the neck, shoulder and upper spine.Check More Reviews on Amazon
5. Venture Heat VH-KB-1250 At-Home Heat Therapy Neck and Shoulder Wrap
The Venture Heat VH-KB-1250 At-Home Heat Therapy Neck and Shoulder Wrap offers an effective remedy for stiff neck muscles and sore shoulders using Far Infrared Rays (FIR) which penetrates deep into the site of pain.
It is a safe, low-voltage wrap that sits in place on the neck and upper back providing immediate soothing relief from deep pain. It is manufactured in the USA by Venture Heat.
With a dimension of 10.4 x 6.9 x 2.4 inches, it uses a low-voltage wrap to provide heat therapy directly on stresses areas. It also comes with a temperature controller and a wall charger.
- It has an automatic 30 minutes safety timer to keep you safe from thermal burns and heat-related medical conditions.
- A personalized temperature controller to help you adjust temperature to what suites you.
- It also comes with a wall charger
- Its lightweight allows for comfortable use at work and at home.
- Only available for shipping within the US.
Who should use it?
With its comfortable wrap around the neck and shoulders, it provides deep relief of aches and pains from neck stiffness, nerve pinches, muscle spasms, and degenerative joint diseases of the neck. It also provides relief of pain from overuse and chronic pain diseases involving the shoulder.Check More Reviews on Amazon
6. Healthy Line Tourmaline Stones Neck Pillow
The Healthy Line Tourmaline Stones Neck Pillow is an electric heating pillow designed to provide relief of pain in the neck and lower back. It is manufactured in the USA by Healthy Line™.
The Healthy Line Tourmaline Stones Neck Pillow has a dimension of 16” x 5” x 3.5” with an LED digital controller which can regulate temperature up to 70° Celsius (160° Fahrenheit).
It also has an automated EMF filter inbuilt in a controller as well as extra layers of EMF-blocking materials contained in the mat.
- It makes use of Far Infrared Rays (FIR) which penetrates deep to provide soothing relief of pain in the muscles, bones, and joints of the neck and lower back.
- Employs negative ion therapy which in addition to providing heat therapy, boosts cell function and reduce acidity.
- It comes with 1-year replacement on the mat, and a 5-year warranty on the control for US-based users.
- It comes with an LED digital control with which you can select a suitable temperature up to 70° Celsius (160° Fahrenheit).
- It is available for shipping to other countries
- While a number of persons may feel relief after a few times of use, it usually takes close to 3 months of use before one feels significant relief
- It may be too heavy to carry around the house.
Who should use it?
The Healthy Line Tourmaline Stones Neck Pillow provides deep relief of pain resulting from overuse, acute injuries, and chronic inflammatory diseases of the joints and bones of the neck and lower back.Check More Reviews on Amazon
Mind & Body Neck and Shoulder Wrap (Microwavable)
The Mind & Body Neck and Shoulder Wrap is a microwavable heating pad designed to provide pain relief for the neck, shoulders, and upper back. It is manufactured in the USA.
The Mind & Body Neck and Shoulder Wrap provides flexible, moist heat that soothes pain and tension away from the neck and shoulders.
It uses therapeutic microbeads that fit well to your body to provide maximum pain relief and moisture.
- It is portable and fits comfortably
- It can be used cool or warm by cooling it in the freezer or warming in a microwave respectively
- It is washable.
- It provides 30 minutes of soothing pain relief.
- Does not cover a large body area
- Not weighted at its edges to hold it in place while heating your body
- Treatment duration may be too short for some kinds of pain
- Not electric
What to Know Before Buying Heat Pad
There are a lot of heating pads in the market, and there are a few essential things that make a heating pad efficient enough to provide relief of all aches and pains, even deep-seated pains.
The following are essential qualities of a good heating pad
- Buy electric, not microwavable heating pads. The electric heating pads ensure that the heat is provided for as long as you want, only limited by the automatic shut-off time of the pad as designed by the manufacturer. Microwavable heating pads only function for a few minutes until all the heat is dissipated. Additionally, electric heating pads heat up fast
- Buy heating pads long enough to cover the neck, shoulder, and back areas. This ensures maximum pain relief and comfort.
- Buy heating pads with weighted edges that keep the cover in place while you use them. Those without the weighted edges come off and therefore do not provide ample heat per body surface area.
- Buy heating pads with controls that are easy to use. Those with cumbersome modes of operation add more discomfort that may worsen the aches and pains.
- Buy heating pads made of soft microplush materials, those with low quality or heavy materials may add more discomfort to the aching body areas.
Conservative management is often all that is needed to relieve neck and muscle pain except in severe cases where surgery is necessitated. Conservative measures include heat therapy, cold therapy, postural modifications and physical therapy, compression, and rest of the site of pain.
Heat therapy is an effective treatment method of neck and shoulder pain. Heat relieves pain by lowering the inflammation in the site of pain, increasing blood flow, relaxing sore muscles, and inhibiting the initiation and transmission of brain signals from nerve endings to the brain.
There are a number of heating pads that provide deep relief from aches and pains in the neck and shoulders, and to get maximum benefit from heating pads, one needs to get those are powered by electricity, with soft micro plush materials and a broad cover to heat more areas, and which have a comfortable fit.