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Please note: this section is not written by a qualified medical practitioner and is based on information freely provided by reputable sources such as the NHS Choices, Everyday Health and University Research. Any information found on this site should not be considered as a substitute for professional medical advice or care. Hotwaterbottleshop.co.uk is not liable for any advice or information provided on this site.

Pains and aches can be the result of a wide range of problems. This said however, many aches and pains, e.g. neck aches, are common and generally nothing to be overly worried about. Assuming that you are suffering from an uncomplicated form of pain or ache then our heat/cold products could be just the thing you are looking for. If problems persist for a significant period of time then you would be best advised to seek medical advice.

It is possible to use both hot and cold therapies to treat pains and aches. Most of our microwave products can double up as both: they can be heated in a microwave or frozen in a freezer. On the contrary, our hot water bottles can only be used as a source of warm heat.

Heat is generally relaxing, and can relax stiff and/or sore muscles and joints. Not only does the heat relax muscles it also stimulates blood flow and improves circulation, thereby increasing range of motion and reducing soreness and stiffness.

Dr. Brian King, of University College London says that, “Heat deactivates the pain at a molecular level in much the same way as pharmaceutical painkillers work." His research showed that when heat of over 40oC was applied to the skin it switched on heat receptors at the site of the pain. These temporarily blocked chemical messengers that caused pain to be recognised by the brain.

On the contrary, cold heat numbs the injury by narrowing blood vessels and slowing down blood flow. This in turn, reduces the build-up of fluid in the affected area. Cold is also believed to aid in control of inflammation and swelling. It relieves pain, but does not necessary treat the underlying cause.

Our products can be used for pretty much any type of pain or ache, including:

Arthritis

If you experience stiff, tense or sore joints as a result of arthritic pain then apply a heat product for 15-20 minutes. If arthritic pain causes a burning sensation then cool it off with a cold product to help numb the affected area.  

Backaches

Cold or hot treatments can both be useful. Apply the product to the area of pain. It may be beneficial to alternate between cold and hot products after 15-20 minute periods. We recommend trying this lying down on a sofa or bed in a prostrate position.  We have a range of microwave back warmers which can also be used for cold therapy.

Stomach aches or cramps

If you are experiencing stomach aches or cramps (including those associated with digestion), then lie down for 15-20 minutes with the hot water bottle or microwave body warmer, perhaps a microwave bottle, gently resting above your stomach. Re-heat the product if necessary. We recommend trying this lying on your back on a sofa or bed. It is also possible to sit down normally and prop the product against your stomach. 

Preganancy and Period Pains

Similarly to stomach aches or cramps, pains experienced during pregnancy and periods can be relieved using a hot water bottle or microwave body warmer. Simply rest the heat product on your stomach, groin or back depending on where the pain is. Do not use too much heat if possible, and if you choose to use a hot water bottle remember to wrap it in a towel.

Neckaches

Try holding a heat product to your neck or alternatively wrap a microwave neck warmer around. This will help reduce pain and muscle spasms. Leave for around 15-20 minutes, re-heating if necessary.

New injuries

If you are suffering from a new injury then apply cold heat. Ice is best for when the injury is recent, red, inflamed or sensitive. Cold therapy may also be used to relieve any inflammation or pain that occurs after exercise.  Using cold heat can reduce post-exercise inflammation. This is why you often hear about sportsmen talk about going into an ice bath after a race, game or match.

Ongoing injuries

If you are suffering from an ongoing injury then apply warm heat only before exercising as applying heat after may aggravate the existing pain. Depending on the type of injury, a microwave neck warmer can often be used.

It is important that if you feel any pains or discomfort as a result of using any of our products then stop using the product immediately. Remember if you are using a heat pack that it should be warm but not too hot. It may be necessary to wrap a towel or small blanket around the product. Never let your skin come in direct contact with ice for any significant amount of time as this can cause cold burn. Avoid prolonged exposure to heat or cold therapies.