Top heating pads for your neck
If you experience occasional pain or stiffness around your neck and shoulders, or if you take a lot of long trips, you could probably use a reliable heating pad. Designed to fit around your neck, they come with different features that can help reduce built-up tension, provide support and maximize comfort.
Uses and benefits
Heating pads apply heat to a specific area of the body. This, along with the warmth from the pad, sends signals to the brain to induce relaxation and reduce stress. These pads can also:
- Help loosen sore or tight muscles
- Increase blood circulation
- Reduce muscle stiffness
- Potentially repair damaged muscles
- Reduce inflammation
- Alleviate minor neck and joint pain
- Soothe stiff joints
- Help prevent spasms and cramps
Some people submerge their sore muscles in hot water to alleviate pain or reduce stress. The problem with this is that the relief does not usually last long once the water cools down. With a heating pad, you can ensure a consistent temperature, meaning the benefits last longer, too.
When using a neck heating pad for the first time, set it to the lowest setting until you get used to it. Feel free to make small adjustments until it feels comfortable.
Make sure you read the instructions before using the heating pad. Some need to be wrapped up in a cloth so they do not directly touch the skin. Others work better with direct application.
There are a few common types of neck heating pads. Each one applies heat in different ways and has its pros and cons. They are:
- Electric or corded heating pads: These usually come with a cord and require an outlet to function. They often have buttons that let you adjust the heat being emitted, which is handy if you want a precise temperature. Some have replaceable batteries while others come with a USB cord and can be connected to a power bank for mobile use. There are also infrared varieties, which could help eliminate muscle or joint pain.
- Gel pads: These reusable pads are malleable, making them great for anyone looking for a good balance of comfort and function. They can be heated up in the microwave. The biggest drawback is that you have to reheat them every so often since they don’t stay warm for long.
- Chemical pads: Chemical pads work by snapping or squeezing them to produce heat. They’re convenient for short-term use, such as while traveling on an airplane.
Settings and controls
Many electric or corded heating pads come with some type of temperature control, either through a remote or on the pad. This is especially useful if you need continuous heating.
Some neck heating pads have a shut-off feature that can turn the pad off automatically after a set period. With some models, you can adjust this setting to suit your needs.
Most heating pads for the neck are designed to wrap around the neck. They usually have a button or use velcro or a magnet to keep them firmly in place.
Size and weight
Typically, neck heating pads are relatively small and portable, meaning you can easily bring them with you wherever you’re going. Some provide more direct contact to a specific area, such as the back or sides of the neck, while others offer more uniform coverage. There is no standard size for these heating pads, but they are usually designed to fit comfortably around anyone’s neck.
The weight varies, too. Some heating pads are weighted, which can offer additional comfort and alleviate tension. Those that are designed for casual use or general heating are usually lighter. If you have a neck or shoulder injury, go with a lightweight option.
Certain heating pads include a cover that serves as a barrier between your skin and the pad. This cover lets enough heat through to be effective without scalding the skin.
Although uncommon, heating pads do come with a few safety concerns, including:
- Rash or contact dermatitis when using the highest settings with the heating pad directly on the skin. To prevent this, use a cover or put a small cloth between your skin and the pad.
- Faster heart rate since the targeted area often has increased blood flow. If this occurs, stop using the heating pad until your heart rate is normal.
- Infection if you use the heating pad on an open wound.
- Discomfort from using a pad that isn’t flexible enough to wrap around your neck and shoulders as needed.
For most people, and in most circumstances, heating pads are considered safe to use.
8 best neck heating pads
This portable shoulder and neck heating pad comes in either blue or gray and is designed with adjustable temperatures. It has four heat settings and an automatic shut-off after two hours of constant use and is also machine-washable. Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s
With soft plush fabric and the choice of being either scented or unscented, this microwavable heating pad can provide immediate relief. The material is hypoallergenic and weighs around 3.5 pounds. The pad is cordless, so it’s easy to use on the go. Sold by Amazon
This extra-large heating pad provides full coverage to the shoulders, neck and upper back. It comes with an ergonomic controller that lets you adjust the heat to a maximum of 140 degrees. It also has an elastic strap that keeps it in position even when you’re moving around. Sold by Amazon and Kohl’s
With a magnetic snap that keeps it in place, this heating pad is comfortable to wear for long periods and can provide constant heat at a consistent temperature. It can be set at either 107, 149 or 160 degrees. It also turns off automatically after two hours. Although it has a cord, it’s 11 feet long, so it doesn’t restrict mobility much. Sold by Amazon
This electric heating pad fits comfortably around the neck and shoulders. It weighs 2.2 pounds and has nine heat settings, 11 timer settings and an auto-off setting. The cover is machine-safe soft flannel. It’s ideal for people with a smaller neck. Sold by Amazon
These six reusable gel heating pads are designed for targeted pain relief. They can be heated up by boiling them in water or by snapping the metal disks. The pads are flexible enough to be fitted around your neck as needed. Sold by Amazon
Designed for the neck, shoulders and back, this large microwavable heating pad provides pain relief and helps ease soreness. It comes with two handles and is weighted to stay in place. Sold by Amazon
This neck heating pad is filled with flaxseed that can be microwaved, then positioned directly at the neck for maximum comfort. It has a flexible fit and can be snugly wrapped around the neck. It also comes in two sizes. Sold by Amazon
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