What Conditions Should You Avoid Using Heating Pads?

Heating pads are great treatment for so many different ailments.

This includes using them after a workout, after you've been injured, or to treatment a recurring injury.

But there are certain conditions where you should try to avoid using heating pads.  These include, but are not limited to, if you have the following: dermatitis, diabetes, heart failure, deep vein thrombosis, peripheral vascular disease, cognitive impairment, or open wounds.

Read on to find out the reasons why heating pad therapy should not be used.

Dermatitis

What is dermatitis?

According to the Cleveland Clinic:

"“Dermatitis” is a word used to describe a number of skin irritations and rashes caused by genetics, an overactive immune system, infections, allergies, irritating substances and more. Common symptoms include dry skin, redness and itchiness.

Dermatitis causes no serious harm to your body. It is not contagious, and it does not mean that your skin is unclean or infected. There are treatment methods and medications that can manage your symptoms."

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/4089-dermatitis

So dermatitis is a general term used to describe many different irritations and rashes on the skin.

There are many different ways to treat dermatitis and if you believe you have it, then you should see your local doctor and get checked out before you start any treatment.

From there, you can understand why treating any aches or pains around your dermatitis might be the best idea.

Typically your heating pad (in our case the lava sand heating pad is the best) will present a certain amount of heat on your body.

And if leave that heating pad on your body for too long, it could make things like rashes and irritations even worse.

So it is more than preferable to not use the heating pad at all to treat your aches and pains if you have dermatitis.

Diabetes

What is diabetes?

According to the Mayo Clinic:

"Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is vital to your health because it's an important source of energy for the cells that make up your muscles and tissues. It's also your brain's main source of fuel."

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371444

There is so much that can be said about what diabetes is, probably more than I can cover in an article.

But suffice it to say that it is a disease that affects how you use glucose.

Some of the symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Always hungry
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent infections

If you have a combination of any of the above, then you might have diabetes.

And if you think you have diabetes, you should see your local doctor so you can get tested to make sure.

Why you shouldn't treat yourself with heating pads

If you are or know anyone who has diabetes, you understand that it is a very thin line they have to run on a day to day basis.

Almost any time they eat food, they have to check their blood glucose levels and then pay close attention to the food they eat.

If they don't pay attention to that close balance, this could lead a visit to the hospital.

Now, how this deals with using heating pads, is the heating pad is typically going to dehydrate the body and lead to higher blood glucose levels.

And for someone with diabetes, the higher the blood glucose levels, the worse it is for the diabetic person.

So if you are a diabetic, don't use a heating pad.

Heart failure

What is heart failure?

According to Heart.org:

"Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen. Basically, the heart can’t keep up with its workload.

At first the heart tries to make up for this by:

  • Enlarging. The heart stretches to contract more strongly and keep up with the demand to pump more blood. Over time this causes the heart to become enlarged.
  • Developing more muscle mass. The increase in muscle mass occurs because the contracting cells of the heart get bigger. This lets the heart pump more strongly, at least initially.
  • Pumping faster. This helps increase the heart’s output."

https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-failure/what-is-heart-failure

Heart failure can be such a devastating condition to have.

It makes working harder and being happy even more difficult.

Symptoms of having heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight gain
  • Swelling in the legs
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Nausea, abdominal pain, less of appetite
  • Persistent cough

Any combination of these symptoms and you might have height failure.

In that case, please see your local doctor as soon as possible.

Why you shouldn't use a heating pad

With heart failure, your body has to work especially hard to pump the blood around your body.

If people with heart failure use some type of heat treatment, including going into a sauna, they have to gradually bring their body temperature instead of doing it all at once.

Using a heating pad, that helps to increase blood flow to an area when you are trying to help it heal.

When you have heart failure, your body has to work especially hard to get the blood moved around.

So if you are applying a heating pad, then is going to signal to the body to get more blood moved to that area.

This will overwhelm the body.

So if you know for certain that you have heart failure issues, then stay away from using a heating pad for your aches and pains.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

What is deep vein thrombosis?

According to the Mayo Clinic:

"Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs. Deep vein thrombosis can cause leg pain or swelling but also can occur with no symptoms."

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/deep-vein-thrombosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20352557

There isn't much more that needs to be said about deep vein thrombosis.

Outside of leg pain and swelling, you can also have a red or discolored area on your leg or the feeling of warmth in the afflicted area.

As suggested previously in this article, if you believe you show the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis, then please see your local doctor to get checked out and diagnosed.

Why to avoid using a heating pad

Most of the time, if someone is treating deep vein thrombosis, it is suggested that they elevate their legs and then apply heat to the area the pain is coming from.

Sometimes, though, the heating pad can increase the swelling and the pain in the area.

So for your particular case, it might be better to test it out and see whether it makes the pain better or worse.

If the pain is worse, then of course don't use it anymore.

It is also possible that the increased blood flow to the area caused by the heating pad could also cause the clot to move to vital organs to your body, which could lead to death.

If you visit your local doctor and they do tell you that you have deep vein thrombosis, then consult with them on if you think you should use a heating pad.

Peripheral Vascular Disease

What is peripheral vascular disease?

According to John Hopkins Medicine:

"Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a slow and progressive circulation disorder. Narrowing, blockage, or spasms in a blood vessel can cause PVD.

PVD may affect any blood vessel outside of the heart including the arteries, veins, or lymphatic vessels. Organs supplied by these vessels, such as the brain, and legs, may not get enough blood flow for proper function. However, the legs and feet are most commonly affected."

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/peripheral-vascular-disease

At its simplest, peripheral vascular disease is a circulation issue in your body.

Your blood vessels are narrowing or there could be a blockage.

And just like deep vein thrombosis, the legs and feet are most commonly affected.

Unlike deep vein thrombosis, peripheral vascular disease is caused by a buildup of plaque in the veins.

PVD can also be caused by injury to the legs or infections.

Why you shouldn't use a heating pad

As mentioned, PVD is relatively similar to deep vein thrombosis and the reasoning behind not using a heating pad is much the same.

This includes the fact that increased heat to the affected area could move clots or blockages to other vital organs in the body, thus leading to death.

Cognitive impairment

What is cognitive impairment?

There are many different things that fall under the umbrella of "cognitive impairment".

Dementia is one of those things.

Really it is anything that affects your cognitive abilities or your abilities to think clearly.

Therefore, it also includes being drunk or being high on drugs.

Why you shouldn't use a heating pad

If you don't have 100% of your faculties, you shouldn't be using a heating pad.

If you are drunk, then you might forget to turn off your electric heating pad or you might leave your microwavable one on for too long.

If you have dementia, you might forget you have the heating pad on at all.

And leaving the heating pad on or plugged in for too long could lead to severe burns or electrocution.

So avoid using heating pads if you know you are going to consume alcohol or if you suffer from other cognitive impairments.

Open wounds

I don't think we need to cover too much what open wounds are.

In general, open wounds are when you get a cut or laceration on your skin.

According to Wound Care Clinic:

"Beware of heating pads – they should never be used near an open wound or after surgery. The temporary relief causes unseen damage.  Many times burning under the skin can occur, without seeing the visible signs first."

https://www.woundcareclinic.net/2013/beware-of-heating-pads-during-treatment-or-post-surgery/#:~:text=Beware%20of%20heating%20pads%20%E2%80%93%20they,seeing%20the%20visible%20signs%20first.

The heating pad will also increase blood flow to the area, which in the case of open wounds means more blood flowing to the open wound.

Summary

Heating pads can do many great things for your body.

In the case of swelling and pain, a heating pad can help to reduce the pain and make the swelling considerably less.

But there are situations where a heating pad should not be used.

So keep these in mind before you go and grab your lava sand heating pad.