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I've always suffered horribly with period pain. I've tried all sorts of painkillers but direct, applied heat is definitely my best friend when the cramps strike. When I'm at home I can hug a hot water bottle, but what about when I'm out and about, or worse, at work?
PADS OR GELS?
From what I've learned, 'portable' heat technology works in one of two ways: either a reusable gel pack which has to be regenerated in boiling water, or single-use air-activated patches. Reusable gel packs are often sold in outdoors shops as hand/foot warmers and are bulky, heavy and expensive. Useless for my needs. However single-use air-activated patches are light, thin and cheap. For me they are a much better option, but again not every brand will do.
Quality and price vary wildly: some of the big brands can cost £3 for just one patch; some of the super-cheap ones throw out no heat at all. I want something that (a) doesn't cost too much, (b) that would stick to my clothing directly over the painful area and (c) a product that actually *worked*. I didn't think that was too much to ask!
THE ABC OF HEAT PADS
Problem (a) was solved quite easily. While expensive patches are sold in pharmacies, most discount toiletry shops like Bodycare and Savers sell heat patches, as do Poundland and Wilkinson. I found several brands retailing at £1 or thereabouts for 2-3 patches.
Problem (b) was trickier. Many heat patches are designed to be slotted into special holders on the body, particularly over painful elbows or knees. Poundland's selection are often of this type, but since they don't produce a holder to strap around a spasming uterus they're useless for me! However, some brands are designed to be self-adhesive and can be applied directly to clothes.
Problem (c) was the hardest to remedy. Heat patches work through air-activation, but if they haven't been packed properly they're exhausted before you even take them out of the packet! I've bought several £1 packs produced by various brands only to discover this had happened, rendering them useless.
The honourable exception to this is the Heataid brand. After three years of use I've never had a faulty pack.
Heataid heat pads come in a distinctive red box making them easy to spot in a shop display. Each £1 pack contains two pads, and since one throws out heat for around 12 hours, a couple of packs of this product will be enough to see me through the worst days of my period.
The back of the pack contains a comprehensive list of usage instructions and usage warnings. These heat pads contain activated carbon and iron, releasing heat through a chemical reaction which, whilst consistent, cannot be calibrated very precisely. CONSEQUENTLY, YOU CAN BURN YOUR SKIN IF YOU DO NOT USE THE PRODUCT WITH CARE! The instructions on the back of the pack are very clear, and if you are new to using this product please read them!
Inside the box are two, sealed plastic sachets, each containing a patch. Safety instructions are printed on the sachet too, so the manufacturer really has taken care to inform the consumer, which I think is excellent. The sachets are easily torn open to reveal the heat patch itself.
Once the sachet seal has been broken the chemical reaction in the patch begins. I've found it takes about 10 minutes for the product to heat up a noticeable amount, so it's worth getting a patch out before pain becomes unbearable.
The front of the Heataid patches is made of a soft, cottony material which does not catch or snag on clothes. The back is covered with a very sticky adhesive covered by two paper strips which are perforated down the middle. Easily removed, they reveal the glue which sticks easily to clothing. I've found it often takes me several attempts to position the patch directly where I need it, and the adhesive will tolerate this.
Inside the patch is a visible, black powder; the metal powders. They are well sealed within the sachet and I've never had one split.
I apply the Heataid patches to either the inside of my trousers, or the front of my knickers, directly over my pelvis. Since they are so thin they are completely invisible and undetectable so I am confident wearing them out and about, and even to work. The constant heat they throw out is very soothing and relaxes my spasming muscles during bad period days.
After a few hours the powder begins to solidify and so I sometimes hear a slight crackling sound when I sit down or stand up! It's very quiet though, and no-one else ever seems to hear it, again meaning the patches are very discrete.
On bad period days I apply a patch when I'm dressing and find that it provides soothing heat right through until bedtime. I don't wear the patch overnight as the packaging warns that if you are asleep you could burn yourself whilst unaware.
The patch is removed by simply pulling it off my clothes. I've never found any residue or damage on any fabric I've applied the patch to.
An absolute life-saver for bad period pain.
I used to suffer from bad period pains. I did of course visit a doctor for help with this, but the most helpful treatments I used were either hot water bottles, or their portable equivalent, heat soother pads. I do not suffer as often or as badly now, but I still like to have a heat patch always to hand. I formerly bought the Lilets brand most often but I have had trouble buying these recently. When I was looking for an alternative, I came across a brand called Heat Aid. As they were for sale in Poundland, I had some doubt that anything as cheap as that would be affective. I was used to paying £3-4 per patch, whereas the Heat Aid ones cost £1 for two. It was a big saving so I was willling to give them a try.
These patches are not solely for use for menstrual pain. The packet claims that they are easy and discreet to use and that the self warming action will last for up to 12 hours. Like all similar products, there are restrictions about who these are suitable for. It is recommended that pregnant women and those with diabetes seek medical advice first. They are intended only for adults, who should be able to remove the patch themselves if needed, and who do not have sensitive skin. As they grow to be quite hot, I think this advice is very wise.
The pads are air activated, so they do not begin to feel warm immediately. This makes it easier to position them than it would be if they were hot straight away. They are sealed in a plastic sachet, which is thankfully easy to open. The last thing you want when you are suffering is to struggle to access your pain solution! Each one is about 15cm long, and relatively thin. I would say that they are relatively discreet, but as they are not completely flat, it would be possible to see that they were there under tighter clothing in my opinion. The products that I have used before needed to be stuck directly to the skln. These pads are quite different, as they must be stuck to your clothes and positioned next to the afflicted area. I do prefer this method now I have used it, as I think it provides a little extra protection should they become to a little too warm. It does mean that I have to think about what I will wear when I want to use these. They are self adhesive, but you can't stick them to something flimsy or thin because of the need not to have them in contact with the skin. They do stick firmly and I have not felt as though they are moving around at all, even when I have been working in the garden and moving around a lot. This is reassuring. At the end of the day, they peel off my clothes without causing damage and they don't leave behind any gluey residue as I feared.
At first, there is only a very slight warm feeling. Heat Aid say that the pads will take 30-45 minutes to reach their full temperature. However, I think the process typically takes only 20 minutes or so. The process is gradual, and while they do get hot, it isn't to the point of making me feel uncomfortable. It feels like I am walking around with a comfortable hot water bottle attached to my middle. The heat is pleasant and soothing, and always helps me to feel better. It is something that I would normally wish to use in combination with other pain remedies, as it does not stop the pain and cramping totally. However, the instructions for use state that these should not be used at the same time as painkillers "as you will not be able to feel if the heat pad is becoming uncomfortably hot". I do not find that painkillers I use ever cause my skin to be insensitive to pain or heat, and I wonder if this warning is meant to apply to certain topical creams. I prefer not to risk ignoring advice such as this though, so as a precaution I haven't tried to use the pads alongside pain medication.
You can't use these pads in areas where you would lie or sit on the patch, which would limit their use under some circumstances. For example, I wanted to use one when I had a minor muscle pain in my lower back, but as it was too uncomfortable to lie on my side or front, I couldn't use a patch. They can't be used at night at all, as it is recommended to check them every couple of hours. I haven't experienced any irritation myself, nor added discomfort even after having kept them in place for several hours. The heat remains for at least 8 hours for me, but I have not achieved 12 hours from one patch. Eight hours is usually as long as I want anyway.
WOULD I RECOMMEND THESE PATCHES?
They are very reasonably priced, and actually heat up more and last longer than other more expensive brands I have tried. They are easy to use, and simple to put on and take off. I would recommend them, providing you can position them on your clothing near enough to the area you want to target, and you meet all the usage conditions listed on the packet. I will continue to use them, when my discomfort is not severe enough to need help from painkillers also. For a milder pain, they are very comforting.
[This review also appears on Ciao under my user name.]
These pads are ideal for back or joint pain. They are adhesive so you can stick them on and wear them without anyone knowing. I use a hot water bottle at home but you cant exactly do that on the move so these are ideal for when you are out and about or at work.
Heating pads are often expensive these are the cheapest I have found on the market.
They stick well and don't generally fall off until you have been wearing them for too long.
They have good longevity in terms of heating output and can last for 12 hours - I find that claim to be true.
The only negatives are that occasionally they are not that consistent - sometimes they will get very warm and others do not heat up that much I am not sure why that is. However, in saying that I still think they are the best option in terms of price and performance.
You use the heat patch by taking the adhesive seal off the back, giving it a shake then sticking on the affected area. I believe the packet recommends sticking onto your clothes however, I usually break the rules and stick it on my skin - I haven't suffered any adverse effects but maybe best to follow the instructions!
If you have mild back pain give them ago if more severe I would suggest you pop to your GP as their may be a more serious problem
I recently was diagnosed with a cracked rib by my Doctor, and painkillers were not touching it much, so I looked into all different ways to ease the pain even slightly. I was looking at the range of different pain killers in Wilkinsons to see if there was something I had not tried, and it was whilst I was there I spotted a box of HeatAid Self Warming Heat Pads and they were only 99p.
I thought that they could at least provide a slight amount of relief and at 99p for a packet of 2, it was totally worth a try! I bought a box and took them home ready for some pain relief. The box provides you with 2 seperate heat pad sheets, which are rectangular in shape, and they both come in seperate packets inside the box.
The reason that these sheets come in seperate packets is that they are air activated, so do not open them until they are ready for use, as there is no way to unactivate them once they have been started off.
I had used some single use heat pads in the past before, but from a different brand. The box has a good list of useage directions and warnings on the back, so if you have not used anything similiar before, you will easily know how to use them.
The pads are of a good size, I would say about the same length as my forearm, and I found them to be the perfect fit for one side of my ribs, at the front. I originally thought that these heat pads were meant to be applied straight to the skin, but after reading the box, I found out that they have to actually be applied on top of clothing over the affected area.
There is a peeling plastic on the back of the pad which is peeled to reveal a perfectly sticky backing, which is what you use to apply the pad to your skin.
As soon as you activate the pad, you can feel it start to slowly get warmer. It does take a little while to reach full heat, which is about half an hour, but you can feel it warming up gradually over that time. The stickiness is perfect for holding the pads in place, and I found that it never moved off my clothes, no matter what I was doing. Despite this, I found it was really easy to remove this from clothes when I was done, and it left no marks or damage to my clothing at all.
The main idea of this pad is to relieve pain, and relax muscles. I was hoping that this would at least reduce the pain in my ribs a little bit, and I was pleased to find that these did actually help somewhat as it relaxed the muscles, and gently relieved a little bit of the pain. I wasn't expecting a large amount of relief as pain killers did not help much, but combined with pain killers, this pad actually was quite helpful.
I left this heat pad on over night, whilst I slept, even though it says on the box not too, and it was actually still quite warm when I woke up in the morning! I was really surprised to find that this was still warm, as I expected it to only last a couple of hours.
It says on the box not to apply these to skin, as this can cause burns, even at low temperatures, so make sure this is always applied to clothing and not the skin. I think this pad is pretty suitable for most body parts that are hurting. It is soft and flexible, so can be used on straight body parts, or bent around things like arms, ribs, legs or necks.
If you feel like you could do with some heat therapy, I would totally recommend these HeatAid Self Warming Pads. I have used both that came in the box, and I am happy to buy these again. I will be going to buy some soon. These can be good for people suffering with joint problems like Arthritis or Fibromylgia, as well as other aches and pains.
I am not sure if these are available in other stores, but they are available in Wilkinsons stores for just 99p a box! Next time you are in Wilkinsons, be sure to grab some of these as they really are fantastic, and I can not rate them well enough.
I give these a 5 out of 5 stars, and I totally recommend them to everyone.
I always have a supply of HeatAid Self Warming heat pads in my medicine cabinet as my partner suffers from back ache rather frequently. He damaged his back at work a few years ago, and now as a result can be struck down by even the slightest of movements. And when he is in pain, he is in pain, but for a while he just sought refief from pain killers until he was introduced to heat pads and now swears by them.
I purchased this twin pack of HeatAid pads from Semi Chem for £1.99, but have seen them on offer for as little as £1.00.
They are individually packaged in clear plastic, each one showing instructions so it really doesn't matter if you decided to discard the original box. They measure approximately 5 inches by 4 inches in size and are very slim and discreet.
They are simple to use, open the packet and peel off the protective backing and you are ready to go. They must not be placed directly on to the skin as the could cause burns, yes that's right, they do get really hot. Don't open the packet until you are ready to use as they are air activated.
Place the adhesive side onto clothing in the area which requires treatment so that there is a layer of clothing between your skin and the heat pad.
Once activated they take approximately 30 - 45 minutes to heat up and can last for up to an impressive 12 hours.
When my partner is having an episode with his back he often reaches for one of these befor he reaches for his pain killers now, they really are that effective.
I too use them when I'm suffering from monthly cramps, they are a god send and offer really quick relief. I find them really soothing and quite relaxing, they do a much better job than my old hot water bottle used to. The heat is very strong, much stronger than I had expected, but if they get too much I tend to remove the patch for a while. A word of warning though, don't lie on them as they need air to circulate to keep them working.
The active ingredients are:
Like I said earlier I always have a supply, and I do prefer them to taking medication for muscular pain and cramps, a definite winner in my book.
Read instructions before use.