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I suffer from intermittent arthritis in my hands and have developed a suspect patch on my left knee which gets quite sore sometimes. I have not yet had this diagnosed as arthritis, but I'm sure that's what is developing over time. I mentioned it when I was on the phone to NHS Direct recently and the lovely nurse recommended a heat pad when it gets particularly troublesome just until I can hit on the best medication for me.
I have a wheat bag which I warm in the microwave and this is absolutely brilliant, but last week I was spending the day at my daughter's house and forgot to bring it with me. When we were out I nipped into the chemist to see what I could pick up and the first thing I saw on their 'reduced' shelves were boxes of Keep It Handy Instant Heat Packs. They were priced at only 99p for a box of two Heat Packs so I bought a couple of packs to find out what they would do for my knee.
These Heat Packs are tough plastic sachets which contain some concoction of chemicals which makes the pad heat up once you squeeze or slap the sachet a few times to activate. I found I wasn't able to squeeze hard enough to activate the heating up, and neither was my slap strong enough, so the only way I could get these blasted things to work was to hold one end tight and slap it against the wall! A novel way of doing it, but it worked!
Once I'd done this I had to massage the sachet to make sure the heat was evenly distributed and then I applied it to my poorly knee.
I have rather mixed feelings about these Heat Packs. It heated quickly, the information on the sachet suggested it would heat to 56° C but I very much doubt it got that warm. It did heat up nicely and provided a small amount of relief to my knee, but I know my wheat bag gets much warmer than this and the extra heat really does make all the difference when dealing with muscle pain. Also, the 'Therapeutic Time Duration' is indicated as 30 minutes on the sachet but I found I was only getting 20 minutes of really useable heat and then was having to fold and stretch the sachet to try and find a slightly warmer spot.
For the time that my Heat Pad was warm I found it extremely soothing on my knee and made the pain lessen a great deal. However, because the heat is only there for such a short space of time I did notice that once the sachet started cooling down my knee would immediately start paining again. When using my wheat bag I keep the heated bag on my knee for an hour while watching TV and the heat seems to penetrate deeper and the good effects remain for quite a time.
Also, I found these Heat Packs were a bit of a pain to hold on the area. I had to press down on the sachet slightly because it doesn't seem to transfer the heat so well when I just balanced it on my leg. This meant that I had to use one hand for this and could not sit and knit as I usually do when my wheat bag is slung across my knee. The reason for this is because the stuff inside the Heat Pack sets to quite a solid consistency when it has been activated and although I can bend and shape the sachet, it's much too stiff to be able to drape the pack across any area - particularly an area as knobbly and bony as my knee!
For 99p I think these are alright value for money as they do provide a little relief for a short space of time, they're handy to keep in the medicine cabinet I think. However, these very Heat Packs are selling on Ebay for £3.00 plus postage and they are certainly not worth this kind of money as they are single use only and do not work particularly well.
Helps to relieve sore muscles, leg cramps and stiff necks. Great for people with an active lifestyle.