Where do I find the perfect heating pad?
August 21, 2009 7:06 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for the perfect heating pad for the lower back of a side sleeper.

I need a heating pad that will fit against the lower back of a side sleeper without bunching or clumping in a puddle on the bed. It could be electric (I found a nice one for Europeans, but I'm in the US) or something that heats in the microwave. It can't be too thick, it can't be too heavy, and it has to stay in place. What's available locally isn't working very well, and what I'm seeing online doesn't look much different. I know it has to be out there, if someone can help me find it. Bonus points if you've used said heating pad personally. I'd like to hear what did work and what didn't.
posted by clarkstonian to Shopping (9 answers total)
Perhaps Thermacare wraps are the sort of product you're looking for. They are like cordless heating pads and they come in various shapes and configurations so you can target just about any spot you need.
posted by DrGail at 7:18 AM on August 21, 2009

Most heating pads that I've seen have a big note that says not to sleep with the pads in use. However, I personally have disregarded that warning many, many times with no adverse effects. This is not to say that the pads couldn't cause burns, I just have never experienced any.

Having said that, the only way I've found to keep a pad on while sleeping on my side is to use the type of bandages that stick to themselves and wrap the bandage around my stomach/hip area and around the back to the heating pad. I don't move a lot though, it wouldn't work so well if the person was tossing and turning. Obviously, don't tie it tightly, don't put the pad directly on bare skin, etc.
posted by crankylex at 7:20 AM on August 21, 2009

I second the Thermacare wraps (or any similar wraps, like BodyHeat). They're very thin, disposable heating pads that provide a steady level of warmth for 8 hours or more. They're sticky so they can stick to either your clothes or your skin (check the package, some say they shouldn't be stuck directly to skin). I used to use reusable heating pads, and I still do when I can, but these are much more practical for wearing under clothes (they're extremely thin, almost like a bandage) and for night-time, when I want something to stay in place all night long.
posted by ourobouros at 8:22 AM on August 21, 2009

Thermal Clay heating pad from Thermionics. It is reusable, and can be frozen for cold relief or warmed for heat relief, and because it is non-electric you can safely fall asleep with it because it will cool on it's own. Comes in two sizes, and can be found at places like drug stores and mass merchandise stores for less than 20$. I make it a point to tell everyone I can how wonderful this thing is. There is NOTHING so wonderful as radiant heat...
posted by goml at 9:31 AM on August 21, 2009

Oops, I forgot to tell you it's called a "Thermipaq".
posted by goml at 9:33 AM on August 21, 2009

We're using the Thermipaq wraps, thanks (they were suggested by a MeFite). And they're great for controlling and retaining heat. Plus, they don't freeze solid when they're cold, so they're great as cold wraps. But they're a little heavy, and they slowly shift or ooze downward. The Thermacare wraps might be what we're looking for - I'll check them out.
posted by clarkstonian at 10:17 AM on August 21, 2009

If you don't mind ignoring the prominently printed warnings never to lie on it or fall asleep with it on, I found the Sunbeam flexible heating pad to work pretty well until the controller went on the fritz the way they so often do. *sigh*
posted by Lexica at 7:07 PM on August 21, 2009

Bother — I meant to also mention the Salonpas Hot topical capsaicin patches. These things are amazing. Capsaicin, in this form at least, is a sign that the Universe loves us. Depending on what kind of pain/discomfort the heating pad is being used for, these might work well. They helped immensely back when I was dealing with sciatica.

As I understand it, they work by overloading the nerve circuits. The nerves are so busy sending the message "OMG it's HOT here!" to the brain, they don't have the bandwidth to also send the message "hey, it hurts."
posted by Lexica at 7:10 PM on August 21, 2009

All good possibilities. We'll try anything. I found a website with a roll-style heating pad specifically designed for side sleepers. Has anyone seen anything like that in the US?
posted by clarkstonian at 7:20 PM on August 21, 2009

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