A hot water bottle isn’t just for a cold winter’s night
Whether it is helping babies sleep or easing period cramps, there is a long list of health benefits associated with using the trusty hot water bottle. They’re great for relieving muscle pains, neck pains, and abdominal pains as well. But one long standing benefit is just how effective they are in easing back pain too.
Applying heat in general can help ease back pain. The practice of thermotherapy or cryotherapy is growing in popularity as people suffering from long-term pains discover the efficacy of such a treatment.
Some people find that heat (such as a hot bath or a hot water bottle placed on the affected area) helps to ease the pain when back pain first starts.NHS UK
Hot or cold: Which is better for back pain?
Back pains and injuries can often be relieved by either heat or cold therapies, and alternating between the two can be more helpful at times. They’re also some of the most inexpensive ways that one can ease any type of muscle pain.
Both cold and hot water bottles are good for easing chronic pain and muscle soreness. Cold water bottles are more effective for strains, sprains, swelling, pulled muscles, new injuries, and bruising. Whenever we suffer a bruise or bump it is common practice to place cold peas from the freezer inside a tea towel and apply indirectly to the skin.
On the other hand, hot water bottles are more effective for aching muscles, arthritis, muscle stiffness, and chronic back pain.
How does heat therapy work?
How does applying heat to affected muscles help them heal, and how does heat reduce the pain? Well, according to the experts heat opens up the blood vessels, making blood flow more freely around the area where heat is applied. The increased blood flow helps the tissues heal.
Blood also transports excess lactic acid away from the muscles and lessens pain in the process. As long as it isn’t a new injury and there isn’t any kind of swelling or bruising involved, easing pain with heat therapy is almost always a good idea.
How do you use a hot water bottle for back pain?
First, you need to unscrew the plug and fill the bottle with hot water. You need to make sure that it’s hot but not boiling so you still get the warmth that you need without subjecting the rubber material to continuously boiling hot temperatures and risk possibly degrading the material.
More importantly, be careful not to burn your skin, or you will need to apply some direct cold therapy by running your skin under a cold tap. Stop when the water is at least half-full or if it’s filled at most up to two-thirds of its capacity.
Hot water bottles aren’t meant to be filled to the brim, as hot water produces steam and steam takes up space. If there isn’t any space for the steam to go to, the hot water bottle can burst at the seams or bubble right up to the top when the stopper is loosened. This is why it’s important to let the excess air out.
After you’ve done this and securely replaced the plug, you can now use your hot water bottle to relieve your back pain. Use a hot water bottle cover to make sure that the hot surface of the bottle doesn’t directly touch your skin.
Place it on your back where your muscles hurt, but don’t leave it for more than 20 minutes at one area. Remember that you never should sit or lie on top of your hot water bottle, even if it’s just half-full. Excessive pressure can lead to a burst seam and nobody wants that to happen.
You can also alternate between a hot water bottle and a cold pack. If you’re using ice instead, make sure that you don’t place the ice directly on your skin as it could cause something that is known as a cold burn. You will know from personal and practice experience, plus professional medical advice, what works for you.
The extra benefits of using extra long hot water bottles
There are several benefits to owning extra long hot water bottles instead of just the regular-sized ones. For one, longer shaped bottles are perfect for pain that covers the length of your back. They are also great for easing pain in multiple areas all at the same time.
Items with a loop and string can perfectly slide around the body and be easily attached. All of our extra long hot water bottles come with a spare cover so you can tie it around you and easily wash and dry the original, while continuing to use your bottle with the second cover.
If you’re suffering from menstrual cramps, abdominal muscle pains, and lower back pains, you can just simply wrap it around your tummy and soothe all three at once. It also helps that you can use your hands and your thighs to cuddle it and hold it in place.
This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult a qualified practitioner if you are unsure.