No matter how much you warm up, hydrate and ensure you’re exercising properly, gym injuries are an inevitability. Whether it’s a strain, sprain or another more serious activity-related problem, taking the right approach to recovery can be the difference between sitting on the sideline for days, and being out for the entire season.
When it comes to injury treatment, it’s usually best to apply a cold treatment to the site of injury for the first 48 hours. However, after this initial period, many recommend switching from cold compresses to heat applications in the form of pads or wraps.
Choosing the right way to apply heat to your injury depends on several factors, from personal preference to the site of injury. There’s also a difference between electric and non-electric options that create dry or moist heat, respectively. Either option can help relax your muscles, increase blood flow and reduce inflammation.
We’ve put together a list of the best heating pads, wraps and warmers. Options include both plug-in electric and microwavable options. You’ll also find pads which can deliver dry heat or moist heat, along with remote devices which are capable of giving you heat therapy on the go.
1. Mighty Bliss Large Electric Heating Pad
With over 3,000 five-star reviews, the Mighty Bliss Large Electric Heating Pad is a well-reviewed and hugely popular option for delivering pain relief to sore muscles and other sites of discomfort. The large size provides plenty of coverage for your aches and pains, while the near-instant heat means you don’t have to wait long after workouts to get the relief you’re after. The pad is made from soft microfiber plush to ensure maximum comfort during your treatment. It also features three different heat settings and can be used wet or dry, depending on your preference.
2. Attmu Classic Hot Water Bottle
The Attmu Classic Hot Water Bottle is a budget-friendly way to relieve your pains. It’s available in six different colors and includes a soft knit cover for a comfortable feel against your skin. It’s made from a thermoplastic material, which is both odorless and recyclable. It also includes a wide mouth for easy filling and emptying, and it’s transparent to prevent any unwanted over or under filling. In addition to providing relief for sore muscles, the water bottle is great for staying warm on cooler nights, too.
3. Thermalon Microwave Moist Heat Pad
BEST FOR HAND WARMTH
The Thermalon Microwave Moist Heat Pad is ideal for providing relief to your hands, feet, back, shoulders and more. It’s made from polyester and spandex and is designed to deliver a heat treatment for pain relief or simply a warmer environment. These heating pads are simple to use and require only a quick spin in the microwave to warm up before application to the site of discomfort. The pads are non-toxic and free from unwanted odors.
4. Tempthera Reusable Hot and Cold Gel Packs
If you’re treating a sports injury, you’ll likely need to apply both hot and cold compresses. So, it only makes sense to have a heating pad that can do both. The Tempthera Reusable Hot and Cold Gel Packs can be microwaved for a hot treatment or placed in the freezer for a cold one. Plus, the gel inside the packs always remains evenly distributed throughout. This fact alone sets the Tempthera gel packs apart from many of its competitors.
5. Mr Relief Large Heating Pad
BEST AS A GIFT
This heating pad may look a little bit like the floor mats from your car, but the Mr Relief Large Heating Pad is actually a versatile answer to relieving your back, neck, shoulder and abdominal pain. The device makes a great gift idea for the winter season. This particular heating pad is made from an ultra soft flannel for maximum comfort during use and is fast heating. The pad also offers four different heating options (including a moist heating setting) to deliver the exact temperature you’re after.
6. Happy Wraps Microwavable Herbal Neck Wrap
The Happy Wraps Microwavable Herbal Neck Wrap is a USA-made answer to neck pain, which is made from 100% cotton and can fit most adults who weigh under 250 pounds. This versatile wrap can also be used for other body parts and conditions, including migraines, arthritis and more. Plus, the wrap comes with a free Lights Out Sleep Mask, which helps lull users to sleep with its ability to block out light and sooth with a nice, calming lavender scent.
7. Relief Sciences Microwavable Heating Pad
After a warming burst in the microwave, the Relief Sciences Microwavable Heating Pad is ideal for relieving pain and soreness across the body. The heating pad is made from medical grade materials to boost effectiveness. These same materials work to match the contours of your body while providing heat therapy. When the heat has left the pad, you can easily reuse it by reheating it in the microwave. The versatile shape makes it perfect for pain relief in your stomach, shoulders, back and more.
8. Gintao Electric Foot Warmer
BEST FOR FOOT PAIN RELIEF
If you have regular pain around your foot muscles and joints, the Gintao Electric Foot Warmer might be the answer to your problems. The device uses heating technology to encourage increased circulation and provide constant warmth to help relieve stiffness and soreness. Measuring 20 by 22 inches, the device is the right size for a pair of feet. Furthermore, this heating pad is made from ultra-soft flannel, delivers three different levels of heating and includes an automatic shutoff after two hours of use.
9. Pure Enrichment PureRelief Heating Pad
BEST FOR BACK PAIN RELIEF
The Pure Enrichment PureRelief Heating Pad is a stylish way to deal with back pain. The jacket-style device is available in either grey or sea glass and provides warming relief for your shoulders, neck and back at four different heating levels. The pad is made from a super soft micromink and includes a magnetic closure for wrap-around comfort. It’s also machine washable and features a convenient two-hour automatic shut-off.
10. Pure Enrichment PureRelief Lumbar Heat Pad
For targeted pain relief around the lumbar and abdominal areas, turn to the Pure Enrichment PureRelief Lumbar Heat Pad. This ergonomic heating pad acts like a belt with adjustable straps to sit around your lower back. The machine washable fabric is complemented by a built-in LED controller that allows you to turn the pad onto one of four heat settings. In addition, this device includes a therapeutic gel pack that can be used cold or hot and inserted into the belt for injury therapy.
11. PURE 3in1 Cordless Infrared Heating Pad
The PURE 3in1 Cordless Infrared Heating Pad is the most multifunctional device on our list thanks to its use as a heating pad, as a cooling pad, as a back massage tool and as a lumbar support belt. The adjustable belt is portable thanks to the fact that it’s cordless, meaning you can use the belt anywhere. Plus, the built-in battery can last for up to five hours on a full charge and has USB 3.0 fast charging capability for when you need some extra juice on short notice.
12. Sunbeam GoHeat Portable Heated Patches
The Sunbeam GoHeat Portable Heated Patches let you treat your sore joints and muscles while performing other tasks at the same time. The two included gel patches attach to your skin to help you target the site of pain. You can then clip on the rechargeable battery pack and start enjoying your preference of the three different heating settings. The device can provide up to eight hours of heat from a single charge.
13. HailiCare Wireless Heated Knee Wraps
BEST FOR KNEE PAIN RELIEF
If you often have problems with your knees or elbows, the HailiCare Wireless Heated Knee Wraps can help. This pair of devices heats up in seconds and delivers adjustable heating between 113 degrees Fahrenheit and 150 degrees F to deliver effective pain relief. Furthermore, these devices feature a massage mode, which uses a built-in vibration motor to further aid relief and leave your joints feeling pain free. You’ll also find adjustable straps, which help ensure a secure fit to your arms, thighs or calves.
14. UTK Far Infrared Heating Pad
With its simple rectangular design, the UTK Far Infrared Heating Pad is a versatile way to deliver pain relief to your back, shoulders, legs, arms and more. The pad can reach temperatures up to 159 degrees F and is composed of 126 certified natural jade stone pills, which transfer heat to the site of pain. The flexible pad can also wrap around limbs and joints for greater coverage, while the 110-inch power cord gives you the freedom to enjoy the treatment on the couch or in bed.