Your hot water bottle as a heat treatment

Hot water bottles can be great therapeutic tools

After being made redundant in the pandemic, Emma Watts was looking for her next big opportunity.

With a “heated igloo” craze apparently sweeping the country, Emma decided to make an affordable version and a new business was born.

One year later and the Hertfordshire-based endevour is proving to be extremely popular as customers dine outside in the warmth of a pod.

While the traditional icy surround of an igloo might be missing, there are plenty of items inside the pod to make it a comfortable experience. Cushion, blankets, a heater and, of course, the trusty hot water bottle.

Hot and cold treatments

If you get any bumps and bruises in Emma’s igloo you won’t be able to scrape off a handful of ice to press on the area! But should you be applying hot or cold pressure at all? Is it best to treat an ailment or injury with heat or ice?

Applying heat often feels like a quick fix pain reliver. Therefore, it’s normal for people to assume that it’s healed and the injury better. However, it’s only true with certain kinds of injuries – particularly chronic injuries.

How many times as a child did you bump or bruise your head and your parents reached for a cold compress? The bag of frozen peas went into a tea towel and a few minutes later all was well again.

Dealing with chronic injuries

Oddly enough, chronic injuries are more common than other kinds of injuries. They are usually the result of past injuries that did not properly heal.

Acute vs. Chronic Pain

They are also known as ‘overuse’ injuries. They develop slowly from repetitive activities such as running, cycling, and swimming but can last for a while.

Chronic injuries include the following:

  • Stress fractures
  • Hamstring strain
  • Groin pull
  • Tennis elbow
  • Shin splints
  • Runner’s knee
  • Heel inflammation
  • Ankle sprain

These injuries could bring you moderate to severe pain. The pain can be conservatively treated through heat therapies or thermotherapy treatments.

Using heat to treat these injuries has been highlighted as an extremely effective method. It widens blood vessels, increases extensibility of tissues, and improves blood circulation.

Heat therapy benefits can be achieved in several ways. Below are the most common heat therapy techniques:

#1 Taking a hot bath/sauna

Getting drenched in a hot tub or basking in a sauna has lots of benefits. Not only can it treat symptoms of chronic injuries and muscle spasms, but it can likewise prevent heart attacks and strokes as several studies indicate.

Dr. Adolph Hutter, who is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said that the temperatures in a sauna or hot tub widens blood vessels and causes blood pressure to go lower.

Hot baths can give you the same benefits you get from your daily workouts. Although, you won’t shed the calories as quickly!

Woman in Sauna
Sauna as heat therapy

#2 Filling a Hot Water bottle

Using a hot water bottle is a convenient technique for heat therapy. Hot water bottles are great companions when you are chilling on the couch.

We often fill one up while watching our favourite television shows. A hot water bottle usually maintains its highest temperature for approximately twenty to thirty minutes.

There are several hot water bottles available on the market. Extra long hot water bottles are slightly different from traditional hot water bottles.

Cuddly Comforts’ stylish 72cm bottles get to those hard-to-reach places. The 2 litre capacity holds more hot water as well.

#3 Applying Heat Wraps

Heat wraps are most appropriate for chronic lower back pain. A heat wrap is an effective and convenient pain relief medication.

They are especially useful when you have to work at a desk all day. Here, lower back pain can become an issue. Simply apply a heat wrap under your clothes for some discreet warmth.

Socks with coffee mug
Wrap up warm!

#4 Using gel packs

Heated gel packs are available on the market just like hot water bottles. They maintain their high temperature for approximately thirty minutes.

Some gel packs come with moist heat, which most people actually prefer.

#5 Have you tried an electric heating pad?

An electric heating pad is an effective method to manage pain. However, you have to be careful when using it. Start using it on the lowest level and then gradually increase the heat level.

Do not use it if the cord is broken or cracked. Moreover, it cannot be applied to damaged skin. It also comes in various sizes.

#6 Heated paraffin wax treatment

Sounds like a fancy option. It is, but also surprisingly effective. Paraffin wax is helpful at relieving pain associated with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other joint mobility issues. It provides lots of benefits to your joints.

When it comes to deep heat to ease pain and stiffness, it’s hard to beat warm paraffin wax. Spas offer paraffin to soothe and moisturize the skin. You can get all these benefits at home by buying a portable paraffin warmer.

Arthritis Health

You can enjoy this treatment at home by preparing the following materials:

  • 4 pounds of paraffin wax, food-grade
  • Double boiler
  • Measuring cup
  • Mineral oil
  • Greased plastic container
  • Thermometer
  • Olive oil
  • Plastic bag, sealable
  • Towel
  • Timer
  • Tissue
  • Moisturizer

You do not have to spend as much money on pain relief. It’s always nice to save a pound or two. Something as simple as a hot water bottle can ease that pain away.

If you need to take the edge off persistent pain, or simply require some relaxation, heat therapy would be a very comforting idea.

This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult a qualified practitioner if you are unsure.

How an extra long hot water bottle eases back pain

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.


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.

Frozen items can be effective

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.

Boiling kettles need handled with care

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.

Treatments for back pain

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.

extra long hot water bottle pink cover
Loop and string for attachment

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.