Home > Store > Blog > Heat Therapy With Electrical Heat Pack

Heat Therapy With Electrical Heat Pack

As an occupational therapist and specializing in hand therapy - I use heat pack every day and for every single one of my patients, multiple times during each hand therapy sessions. A typical session would begin with moist heat, followed by scar management and mobilization, then ranging, strengthening and peppered with sessions of hands being sandwiched in double of my favorite electrical heat pack.

Heat therapy is great (when precautions are met and used safely), as you will read more in the article below. It helps patients'

  • joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons to loosen for easier and more effective therapy,
  • decreases pain experience
  • helps injured and sore tissues heal faster due to vasodilation
  • improves comfort and muscle cramps
  • helps in cold spaces, rooms or when one is feeling cold due to hunger, illness or old age

I highly recommend heat therapy for all ages, but please note safety measures.

Heat therapy, also called thermotherapy, is the use of heat in therapy, such as for pain relief and health. It can take the form of a hot cloth, hot water bottle, ultrasound, heating pad, hydrocollator packs, whirlpool baths, cordless FIR heat therapy wraps, and others. It can be beneficial to those with arthritis and stiff muscles and injuries to the deep tissue of the skin. Heat may be an effective self-care treatment for conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.[1]

Heat therapy is most commonly used for rehabilitation purposes. The therapeutic effects of heat include increasing the extensibility of collagen tissues; decreasing joint stiffness; reducing pain; relieving muscle spasms; reducing inflammation, edema, and aids in the post acute phase of healing; and increasing blood flow. The increased blood flow to the affected area provides proteins, nutrients, and oxygen for better healing.[2]

Mechanism of action, and indications

Heat creates higher tissue temperatures, which produces vasodilation that increases the supply of oxygen and nutrients and the elimination of carbon dioxide and metabolic waste.[4]

Heat therapy is useful for muscle spasms, myalgia, fibromyalgia, contracture, bursitis.[4]

Moist heat can be used on abscesses to help drain the abscess faster. [5] A study from 2005 showed heat therapy to be effective in treating leishmaniasis, a tropical parasitic skin infection. [6]

Heat therapy is also sometimes used in cancer treatment to augment the effect of chemotherapy or radiotherapy, but it is not enough to kill cancer cells on its own. [7]

Heat therapy is contraindicated in case of acute injury and bleeding disorders (because of vasodilation), tissues with a severe lack of sensitivity, scars[4] and in tissues with inadequate vascular supply (because of increased metabolic rate and demand which a tissue with poor blood supply may fail to meet resulting in ischemia).[8]

The use of Heat therapy for deep-seated tissue can be treated with shortwave, microwave, and ultrasonic waves. This produces a high temperature that penetrates deeper. Shortwave produces a 27MHz current, microwaves use 915 and 2456 MHz, and ultrasound is an acoustic vibration of 1MHz. The way ultrasonic waves work is they selectively superimpose the incoming wave and increase the energy for absorption, and the significant part of the longitudinal compression gets converted into shear waves. When they are rapidly absorbed, the interface between soft tissue and bone is selectively heated. [9]

For headaches

Heat therapy can be used for the treatment of headaches and migraines.

Many people who suffer from chronic headaches also suffer from tight muscles in their neck and upper back. The application of constant heat to the back/upper back area can help to release the tension associated with headache pain. In order to achieve heat therapy for headaches, many use microwaveable pads which can often overheat, potentially leading to injury, and lose their heat after a few minutes.

Some new products use heated water, running through pads, to maintain a constant temperature, allowing headache sufferers to use hands-free heat therapy in the treatment of their headache pain.

heat therapy Therapeutic Benefits

Thermotherapy increase the extensibility of collagen tissues. Using heat, it can relieve the stiffness in joints in different cases. Shortwave and Microwave heat application may reduce muscle spasms, and selective heating with microwaves can accelerate absorption of hematomas.

This will, in turn, allow the stiff muscle to stretch. Ultrasounds are not absorbed significantly in homogenous muscle. Heat therapy using hyperthermia has been used to treat cancer in combination with ionizing radiation. [10]

references

  1. Thermotherapy for treating rheumatoid arthritis, from Cochrane Library
  2. Prentice, William E. Arnheim’s Principles of Athletic Training: a Competency Based Approach. New York. McGraw-Hill. 2008.
  3. The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). "ICNIRP Statement on Far Infrared Radiation Protection" (PDF). Health Physics Society. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2011-02-12.
  4. Raj, P. Pritvi, Practical Management of Pain. Mosby. 2.000. ISBN 978-0-8151-2569-3.
  5. "Skin abscess: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia". medlineplus.gov. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  6. Reithinger, R.; Mohsen, M.; Wahid, M.; Bismullah, M.; Quinnell, R. J.; Davies, C. R.; Kolaczinski, J.; David, J. R. (2005-04-15). "Efficacy of Thermotherapy to Treat Cutaneous Leishmaniasis Caused by Leishmania tropica in Kabul, Afghanistan: A Randomized, Controlled Trial". Clinical Infectious Diseases. 40 (8): 1148–1155. doi:10.1086/428736. ISSN 1058-4838. PMID 15791515.
  7. "Hyperthermia to Treat Cancer". www.cancer.org. Retrieved 2016-08-03.
  8. West, Sterling (2014-10-23). Rheumatology Secrets. Elsevier Health Sciences. ISBN 9780323172875.
  9. Lehmann, Justus F. “Thermotherapy.” AccessScience. McGraw-Hill Education, 2014. Web. 2 May 2015.
  10. Lehmann, Justus F. “Thermotherapy.” AccessScience. McGraw-Hill Education, 2014. Web. 3 May 2015.
  11. Israel, Beth. “Pain”. Stoppain.org. 2005. Date Assessed: 28 April 2009. [1]
  12. "Deep Heat Treatment.." CRS - Adult Health Advisor (Jan. 2009): 1-1. Health Source - Consumer Edition. EBSCO. Kent Library, Cape Girardeau, MO. 30 Apr. 2009 [2]
  13. Scott F. Nadler, DO, FACSM, Kurt Weingand, PhD, DVM, and Roger J. Kruse, MD. “The Physiologic Basis and Clinical Applications of Cryotherapy and Thermotherapy for the Pain Practitioner”. Pain Physician. 7 (2004): 395-399.


Back To Top Of Page


Where To Next?

  1. Return to Heat Pack Pro Home Page

  2. See our #1 Recommended Electric Heat Pack that we'd been using and recommend patients, friends and family since 2011/2012

  3. Visit our Store to order our electrical heat packs and see retail and bulk prices

  4. See Where To Buy to look for our electrical heat pack distributors near you

  5. Read all the health benefits and applications of our electrical heat pack

  6. Why our electric heat packs (and not other types of heat)?

  7. Not sure how to order? Visit our How To Order Page to learn more

  8. Visit the Blog to see the latest updates and articles

  9. Have you read the Safety Precautions? Please do so here.

  10. If you'd like to get in touch with me, visit the Contact page =)