Are Heating Pads Bad For You?

Heating pads are often used to help relieve aches and pains and reduce stiffness. When used correctly, heating pads are a perfectly safe and effective way to help manage your pain (via Healthline). But can they actually be bad for your health?

Heating pads use heat therapy to increase blood flow and boost circulation in certain areas of the body, allowing oxygen and nutrients to reach your muscles. This can help reduce inflammation and repair damaged tissue. As a result, heating pads are commonly used to help treat muscle spasms, menstrual cramps, and joint pain, among other body aches.

Since heating pads are portable and electric, they can be used anywhere with electricity, which makes them particularly convenient. However, this also means that they can be dangerous when used incorrectly. That's why it's important to follow the instructions and take safety precautions in order to avoid injuring yourself. Make sure to start your heating pad on the lowest setting and gradually increase the heat, if necessary. You don't want it to overheat too quickly. You also shouldn't place it directly on your skin. This could potentially result in burns. For best use, wrap the heating pad in a towel before placing it on the affected area. Also, if the pad or cord is broken or damaged in any way, don't use it.

Can you sleep with a heating pad?

For many people experiencing aches and pains, it can be tempting to leave your heating pad on as you drift off the sleep. While this might seem like a good idea, it can actually be quite dangerous (via Elite Daily). In fact, doing so could potentially lead to injury.

"As a general rule, it's not a good idea to sleep with a heating pad," Dr. Robert Glatter, an assistant professor of emergency medicine at Lenox Hill Hospital, Northwell Health, told Elite Daily. "Not only is there a risk of sustaining a burn, but there is the added risk of fire if it overheats."

Though the risk of this happening is relatively small, it's still better to exercise caution when using a heating pad. You don't want to run the risk of having the heating coil or element overheat while you're asleep. This could potentially result in burns, especially if you fall asleep with the heating pad resting directly on your skin. That's why it's best to use heating pads only while you're awake.