When aches and pains are troublesome and your senior needs some relief, nothing is more soothing than the warmth of a heating pad. Whether it’s an arthritis flare-up or a stiff shoulder, applying a heating pad may help increase blood flow and circulation, and minimize the discomfort.
A heating pad can also be a source of comfort, especially min the chilly winter months. While it can help seniors relax and sleep better, don’t allow an older adult to sleep with a heating pad. If they want continuous heat, heated mattress pads are safer to use than heating pads for long-term relief.
Heat therapy should be used for chronic symptoms, but if your senior falls and bruises a knee, for example, ice is the better treatment. Remember: Ice is used for acute pain, while heat is used for chronic pain.
Ice is used for acute pain, while heat is used for chronic pain.
Finally, be cautious when using heat therapy on people with neuropathy or diabetes. They may have reduced sensation in their legs and feet and may not feel the strength of the heat, which could result in burns to the skin.
Two kinds of heating pads are available: dry and moist heat. Dry heat therapy is preferred for keeping temperatures even, ease of use, portability and convenience. Moist heat is better for penetrating deeper into the muscle tissues and increasing blood flow. Below are some of the top recommendations for heating pads for older adults:
Best heating pads
A soft and flexible microwaveable heating pad with handles that allow you to pull the heat more snugly to your body, giving maximum relief.
This heating pad heats up quickly in your microwave and delivers moist heat to targeted spots on the body.
Best for joint pain
The slim design of this wrap makes it ideal for arms, legs, hands and feet, and its auto-off switch prevents overuse. If you prefer moist heat, you can spray this pad with water to increase its penetration into deeper muscles.
Best extra-large size
For large areas of the body – like the back or abdomen – that need heat relief, this heating pad is a great option. Six heat settings and a super-soft cover offer additional comfort.
With three heat settings, this heating pad includes a sponge that you can dampen to convert to moist heat.
Best portable relief
This system offers people who need continuous, on-the-go pain relief with eight hours of portable heat. It comes with four reusable pads that are good for 10 uses and three heat settings.
Best for neck pain
Get a warm hug from this wrap-style heating pad that weighs gently on your back and shoulders. It has nine different heat settings and an auto-off timer to keep your senior safe and warm.
Best with a built-in massager
Best foot warmer
If your feet are cold, the rest of your body will never get warm. This fleece-lined foot warmer offers comfort and pain relief for the most sensitive feet, and fits up to a men’s size 13 shoe.