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Neck pain is one of the most restrictive kinds of pain you can experience. If you’re at all limited in how much you can move your head, everyday tasks like washing and driving can become very difficult. Like many kinds of pain, neck pain can be caused by a variety of things, from injuries to whiplash to simply sleeping awkwardly. It can also be brought on by underlying conditions like arthritis. As the causes of neck pain vary so much, the vast majority of people will suffer from it at some point in their lives.
Applying heat to any area of your body improves the blood flow to this area. The increased circulation to your neck will help increase your range of motion and get you moving normally again, making heat pads ideal for neck pain which is often accompanied by stiffness.
Electric heat pads are your best bet for a thermotherapy neck treatment as you can control their temperature easily. Hot water bottles and heat packs are often too hot or too cold and not as effective; if an electric heat pad isn’t working on your neck pain, you can simply turn it up or down until you’re comfortable.
Depending on what kind of neck pain you have, you may want to choose between a regular all-purpose heat pad or a specialist neck heat pad. Neck heat pads fasten loosely around your neck like a cervical collar, but as they’re loose-fitting they don’t restrict your movement. This means you can apply the heat pad’s soothing warmth directly onto your neck, while still having the freedom to move around and turn your head.
Don’t use heat treatment for neck pain if your neck is swollen, red, and warm. Usually this will only be the case immediately after an injury. If your neck is swollen and tender, use an ice pack to reduce the swelling and dull the pain. After the swelling has gone down, you can then use a heat treatment to help improve flexibility.