Menstrual Pain

If you are a woman, you know how uncomfortable cramps can be during “that time of the month”. Essentially, the uterus tightens when the blood supply is reduced, resulting in contractions similar to those experienced during childbirth. This can be extremely painful, to the point where women may have difficulty working, walking or standing upright. Even milder cases of menstrual cramps can cause a woman to reach for medications or home remedies.

One such home remedy involves the use of a heating pad or heat pack placed on the lower abdomen or back to reduce discomfort. According to the Mayo Clinic, “applying heat may be just as effective as over-the-counter pain medication for relieving menstrual cramps.”

How does heat help with menstrual cramps?

There has been some debate on this point. In 2001, Dr. Michael Zinger of the University of Cincinnati set out to determine whether heat causes increased blood flow to the uterus and thereby reduces period pain. He reported that his team “did find a significant decrease in the amount of pain the patients had” during a four-hour heat treatment session. However, the researchers were not able to confirm an increase in average blood flow to the uterus. Another possible reason for heat aiding with menstrual cramps is muscle relaxation. When it comes to other muscle soreness, a heating pad or warm pad increases tissue elasticity, provides comfort and allows tension to melt away. The same principle can be applied to the lower abdomen or back. Whatever the cause, medical professionals agree that using heat therapy is beneficial.

What is the best way to apply heat?

Since menstrual cramps and period pain can occur anytime, anywhere, you need a convenient, on-the-go method. Using an electrical heat pad gets the job done, but its electrical cord keeps you tethered to an outlet. A hot bath can provide some relief, but certainly isn’t useful while you are at work. Arguably, the most convenient way to apply heat is with a disposable heating pad. Unlike other methods, a heating pad is not dependent on electricity or water; it allows you to continue with work or other daily activities while relieving your pain. Some heating pads even have an adhesive backing, that you stick to your clothes so that you can move freely. The heating pad should be applied to the stomach or lower back area, depending on where you are feeling the most discomfort. The pad should never be applied directly to the skin but on the outside of the clothing, therefore tight fitted clothing is recommended to get the best transfer of heat to the affected area. Women have been passing this advice down through the generations that placing a hot water bottle on your belly can really ease your period pain, and now many researchers and scientists agree that granny knew the secret!

Heat can really alleviate your pain in a similar way to painkillers, and even scientists from University College London proved that heat treatments block the pain messages to the brain and deactivate the pain at a molecular level, so why not get one step closer to a pain-free period.

Menstrual cramps are no laughing matter. The pain that a woman experiences during her cycle can interfere with her work, daily activities and ability to move. Using a heating pad can greatly reduce symptoms and make it easier to function. Even if heat may not actually increase blood flow to the uterus, it certainly is helpful in making you feel much better. Whether your menstrual cramps are severe or mild, heat therapy will make your muscles relax and feel more comfortable. So, the next time you feel like reaching for that over-the-counter pain medication, consider grabbing a heating pad first.

Did you know? 2 in 10 women are not able to manage their daily activities because the pain is so intense! It's not just unbearable, it's uncomfortable as well. If you are one of those women, a heating pad is the best solution for you.

Aged Care

5 Benefits of Hotteeze in Aged Care

  1. One use only -- this limits the risk of cross infection between patients.
  2. Time saving -- staff don't have to keep reheating them as they last for up to 16 hours. 
  3. Made in Japan -- this means that our pads have been made with the strictest of quality standards.
  4. Registered with the TGA -- Hotteeze Heat Pads have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
  5. Helps with Congestive Heart Failure Patients. Topical Thermal Therapy with heat pads applied to the upper torso of patients with stable heart failure can provide comfort when applied on a routine basis. “Heat is a natural vasodilator. Judicious use of heat in the form of thermal baths, saunas and/or heating pads” can be offered to patients with chronic, stable HF.” (Weber, Silver 2007)

Hotteeze have been used in Australian private and public aged care facilities, hospitals and physiotherapy clinics since 2005. People who are not physically mobile can feel cold even on a hot day.
Hotteeze body warmers, hand warmers, and toe warmers can be a cost-effective comfort for the elderly and infirm.

Things to be Cautious of

  1. Do not apply to people who are too frail to recognize how hot the heat pad feels. There are risks of low-temperature burns if you keep applying to the same place day after day. For some elderly, their skin is thin, so care must be taken. Make sure they move the pad to a different place a few times a day.
  2. Never apply directly on skin. Try sticking a Hotteeze on a pillow and covering with a pillowcase to help protect frail skin. Hotteeze are designed to create moist heat and need a layer of clothes to allow the skin to lightly sweat - ensuring a deeper heat.

For patients with no feeling from advanced neuropathy, heat pad usage should be limited to 30 minutes at a time on unaffected areas of the body.

Back Pain

Heat therapy as a treatment for soothing aching muscles in the back has been in use since before recorded history, a restorative for tired regions of the spine. Use of everything from hot baths to heating pads has exploded in popularity in the West as the therapy’s efficacy at easing the body’s ills has become increasingly well-known.

Heat therapy is so effective because of the three channels it activates that get the body working to soothe itself.

3 reasons why heat therapy works for back pain

                  1. Stretching of soft tissue. One of the most common reasons for the employment of heat therapy is stiff, sore muscles around the lumbar region of the spine. What heat therapy does here is to stretch and relax the muscles it’s applied to, allowing them to untighten and ease into more natural positions.
  1. Dilating skin and muscle blood vessels. Another prime function of heat therapy is its dilation of blood vessels in the skin and muscles of the back. This widening of vessels increases the blood flow to the areas where the heat is applied, raising oxygen and nutrient levels and leading to more rapid repair of damaged tissue.
  2. Stimulating dermal sense receptors. Heat therapy activates sensation in the skin where it’s used, effectively crowding out a portion of signals from stiff and sore muscles of the back. Because of the brain’s limited ability to handle incoming sensation, anything you do that raises sensory “noise” to the brain – from pinching yourself to heating sore parts – can be effective at reducing the effects of tender muscles.

Muscle Soreness

When it comes to treating muscle soreness, the application of heat can be very beneficial. For centuries, athletes have known that in order to avoid serious injury and recover faster, aching muscles should be warmed. Even non-athletes can attest to the healing powers of a hot bath or shower; you’ve probably experienced this at some point in your life. Today, many medical professionals recommend the use of heat packs to relieve pain and prevent muscle stiffness.

So, how does heat heal injury?

First, increasing the temperature of a certain area also increases circulation and blood flow. This helps your body to heal itself faster by bringing more nutrients to the area. Increased circulation can also carry away toxins that result from trauma. Second, heat feels good to most people. We instinctively associate heat with comfort and safety. According to physiotherapist John Miller, “the heat stimulates your sensory receptors to block the transmission of pain signals to the brain, resulting in instant and effective pain relief.” *So, even if the pain is still there, it’s less noticeable. Last, heat improves tissue elasticity and allows your tense muscles to relax. This is similar to the effects of getting a massage.

What’s the best way to apply heat?

Perhaps the most convenient way to apply heat to aching muscles is with a heat pack. They can be applied anytime, anywhere, with minimal interruption to your day. Having a hot bath feels wonderful, but it also takes time and can typically only be done at home. An electric heating pad is also a terrific alternative, but the electrical cord can cause movement limitations. A heat pack is not dependent on electricity or water; it allows you to continue with work or other daily activities while relieving your pain. Some heat packs even have an adhesive backing that you stick to your clothes this allows them to stay in place during a full range of motion. The pad should never be applied directly to the skin but on the outside of the clothing, therefore tight fitted clothing is recommended to get the best transfer of heat to the affected area.

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In many cases, a heat pack can be the answer to muscle soreness, stiffness, and aches. The application of warmth not only provides immediate relief of pain, but also speeds up the recovery process. Heat stimulates circulation, relaxation and tissue elasticity. For athletes and active individuals, heat treatment can aid in getting back to normal activities after experiencing trauma. A heat pack can even stop muscles from “seizing up” after repeated training sessions and encourage physical improvement. Whatever the cause of muscle discomfort, it is clear that the use of heat can be extremely beneficial. As physiotherapist John Miller noted, “a heat pack could be the best investment you make this year”.

As compared to many other therapies, heat therapy is extremely affordable, and in some cases, completely free (such as taking hot bath). You can use heat therapy (or heating pads) at your home while relaxing, or even at your work.

Heating therapy facilitates stretching the soft tissues, including connective tissue, muscles or adhesions. Ultimately, with heating pads or heating therapy, a decrease in stiffness as well as injury will be noticed, and you will also become more flexible. Flexibility is really crucial for healthy muscles.

Some Guidelines for Heat Application

  • Never use a heat pack or heating device while sleeping. Even low heat has the potential to cause burns if left unattended. And always apply to the outside of an article of clothing.
  • Women who are pregnant should never place a heat source near the abdomen as this can cause overheating or damage to an unborn child.
  • Diabetic patients should consult their physician before using a heat pack since it may be harder for them to judge whether a heat pack is too hot.

Heat Therapy

Hotteeze Heat Pads provide 12-hours of soothing, continuous, moist heat therapy (or thermotherapy), and are endorsed by the Australian Physiotherapy Association. Heat therapy has been used by the Japanese for hundreds of years, being believed to boost the immune system, prevent colds and sickness, and keep the chi energy flowing throughout the body.

Health Benefits

Clinical studies have found that moist heat therapy, like that produced by Hotteeze Heat Pads, is an effective, non-invasive and drug-free option for the treatment of many health conditions. Heat therapy can provide relief to sufferers of:

  • Chronic back pain
  • Muscle spasms and tightness
  • Arthritis and joint stiffness
  • Endometriosis and menstrual pain
  • Raynaud's Disease
  • A range of other conditions

How Does it Work?

The application of moist heat helps blood vessels relax and open up, increasing the flow of blood, nutrients and oxygen to the affected area. This relieves pain and helps the area to heal, via the quick regeneration of damaged tissues and the removal of toxins from the area. It also increases the ability of the muscle-tendon unit to relax and stretch, thereby easing muscle stiffness and improving joint mobility and flexibility.

The application of heat also switches on heat receptors at the site of pain, which in turn block the effect of the chemical messengers that cause pain to be detected by the body. This means the brain focuses more on the heat and less on the feeling of pain, reducing pain and discomfort (see more here; King et al 2006).

Lower Back Pain-According to clinical studies, persons suffering from lower back pain report significant pain relief following the use of continuous, low-level heat therapy, with relief persisting for up to 24 hours after therapy (Steiner et al 2000). Heat therapy has been found to provide greater relief for lower back pain than ice therapy, Naproxen, Ibuprofen and Paracetamol (Denghan & Farahbod 2014; Nadler et al 2002).

Muscle Soreness and Flexibility-Application of moist heat therapy has been shown to help reduce athletic injuries and improve muscle and ligament flexibility (Petrofsky, Laymon & Lee 2003). Heat therapy can increase soft tissue flexibility, tissue blood flow and muscle resistance; improve contraction of smooth muscles and muscles' motor function; and decrease muscle seizures (Szymanski 2001; Kent 2006).

Continuous, low-level heat, applied after exercise, has been found to reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness (Petrofsky 2017; Weingand 1999). Heat therapy following exercise also decreased the amount of muscle strength lost, preserved muscle activity, and prevented elastic tissue damage (Petrosfky 2013; Petrofsky 2015).

Menstrual Pain and Endometriosis-Continuous, low-level heat therapy has been shown to be superior to Paracetamol and Ibuprofen in relieving pain caused by menstrual cramps, reducing tightness and cramping, and significantly decreasing fatigue (Akin et al 2001; Akin et al 2004).

Arthritis and Joint Pain-Moist heat therapy has been found to be effective in alleviating pain, and improving stiffness and gait impairment in patients with knee osteoarthritis, with the effects persisting for at least 6 weeks after application (Seto 2008). Heat application every other day has also been shown to improve the sub-dimensions of quality of life scores of physical function, pain and general health perception of patients with knee osteoarthritis (Yildrim, Ulusory & Bodur 2010).

Patients with wrist pain associated with strains, sprains and osteoarthritis reported greater pain relief following continuous, low-level heat therapy, when compared with a placebo. Pain relief progressively increased with each successive day of therapy, and persisted for two days after therapy was stopped. Patients also experienced a significant increase in grip strength (Michlovitz 2002).

Other Forms of Chronic Pain-Clinical studies have reported the effective use of heat therapy to reduce pain, anxiety, nausea and heart rate in patients suffering from numerous other chronic health conditions. Examples include gallstones (Kober et al 2003a), abdominal pain from renal colic (Kober et al 2003b), pelvic pain from cystitis, urolithiasis, appendicitis, colitis and rectal trauma (Bertalanffy et al 2006).