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Heat therapy can soothe and relax muscles after injury. Heating pads are a convenient way to treat neck pain. However, people should always contact a doctor if their neck pain is severe or does not go away by itself.
- Best plush heating pad: Huggaroo Original
- Best for a relaxing scent: Bed Buddy Aromatherapy Heating Pad
- Best for longer treatments: SuzziPad Microwave Heating Pad
- Best for an adjustable fit: Pure Enrichment PureRelief
- Best for adjustable heat settings: Sunbeam Heating Pad
- Best for natural filling: Carex Bed Buddy Heat Pad
- Best for aromatherapy: Happy Wraps Microwaveable Herbal Neck Wrap
- Best for applying heat to a larger area: Snailax Heating Pads
- Best infrared heating pad: UTK Jade Infrared Neck Heating Pad
Please note, the writer has not tested these products. All information is research-based.
Heated pads are a form of heat therapy. This type of therapy involves placing a heated object on the affected area.
A 2016 study investigated which non-pharmacological management methods nursing students in Eastern Turkey used when experiencing pain. The study authors found that heat therapy was one of the most common treatments.
A person may wish to consider the following when seeking a heated pad for neck pain:
- Versatility: Some products are suitable for use on the neck and other areas of the body. People who also experience pain in different body areas may wish to purchase a larger or more versatile heating pad.
- Material: Individuals may use heating pads for extended periods. It is important to purchase a product that uses comfortable materials.
- Portability: If a person wishes to use a heating pad while traveling or moving around, they may wish to purchase products that do not rely on utility power.
Below are some of the best heating pads for neck pain available online:
Best plush heating pad
This microwavable heating pad is 100% polyester. The company states that the pad can deliver 10–15 minutes of deep heat therapy to the neck and shoulders.
People can also use the Huggaroo Original as a cold compress.
At the time of publication, the Huggaroo Original had a list price of around $35.
Best for a relaxing scent
This heating pad is suitable for use on the neck and shoulders. The company states the product contains natural grains that release a soothing heat when a person warms up the pad in the microwave.
This product naturally moistens as it heats up, and includes a lavender essential oil and a mix of other scents to promote relaxation.
People can also use the pad for cold therapy by placing it in the freezer.
At the time of publication, the Bed Buddy Aromatherapy Heating Pad had a list price of around $13.
Best for longer treatments
This heating pad is microwavable, and the company states it provides 20 minutes of heating time.
It contains flaxseed, millet, and clay beads, which mold to a person’s body shape.
One side of the pad is a fleece minky material. The other side is soft velvet, and a person can choose which side they prefer.
Additionally, people can place the pad in the freezer for cold therapy.
At the time of publication, the SuzziPad Microwave Heating Pad had a list price of around $25.
Best for an adjustable fit
This heated pad offers relief to the back, shoulders, and neck. People need to plug the product into a wall socket.
The Pure Enrichment PureRelief has an adjustable fit, and the material is double-sided micromink. This product is machine washable.
The heating pad features a 2-hour automatic shut-off timer and four heat settings. People can turn the product on and off and change the heat settings by using the included controller.
At the time of publication, the Pure Enrichment PureRelief had a list price of around $60.
Best for adjustable heat settings
This electric micromink pad is suitable for the neck and shoulders. It features a magnetic clasp with weights to stay in place.
People can choose from four heat settings. The heating pad has an extra-long power cord enabling people to move around when it is plugged in.
At the time of publication, the Sunbeam Heating Pad had a list price of around $60.
Best for natural filling
This microwavable heating pad contains a 100% organic filling consisting of natural grains, herbs, and flowers.
The company states that this product is suitable for the neck, shoulders, knees, and back.
The heating pad provides moist heat therapy. Alternatively, a person can store the pad in the freezer for cold therapy.
At the time of publication, the Carex Bed Buddy Heat Pad had a list price of around $13.
Best for aromatherapy
This herbal heated neck pad takes 1 minute to heat up in the microwave.
It is available in eight different colors and contains 12 herbs, including:
The company states that this heating pad is suitable for people who weigh up to 250 pounds. It is suitable for use on the neck and shoulders.
At the time of publication, the Happy Wraps Microwaveable Herbal Neck Wrap had a list price of around $50.
Best for applying heat to a larger area
This large heating pad fully covers the neck, shoulders, and back. The heating pad material is velvet with magnetic clasps to keep the product in place.
The company states that this pad heats up within 2 minutes.
People can choose from two levels of heat. Moreover, the heating pad features an automatic shut-off timer and has a low voltage output.
Additionally, this product can provide a vibration massage to the back.
At the time of publication, the Snailax Heating Pads had a list price of around $55.
Best infrared heating pad
This heating pad uses infrared technology and utility power.
It contains neoprene and PU material. The company states that the heating pad is lightweight, durable, waterproof, and portable.
People can adjust the temperature and length of treatment time by using the included remote control.
At the time of publication, the UTK Jade Infrared Neck Heating Pad had a list price of around $40.
Usually, neck pain will resolve by itself within a few weeks.
However, individuals should seek guidance from a doctor if:
- the pain does not go away after a few weeks
- over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, does not ease the pain
- they experience pins and needles
- they have a cold arm
A doctor will be able to advise a person on any further steps and other treatment methods.
Below are some frequently asked questions about heating pads:
Should people use hot or cold therapy for pain?
The Arthritis Foundation (AF) recommends people use cold therapy if they experience sudden onset muscle soreness. It also suggests heat therapy to ease joint pain and alleviate symptoms of fibromyalgia, arthritis, or chronic pain.
What can people do to ease neck pain?
The United Kingdom’s National Health Service states that there are several ways to ease neck pain, including:
- taking OTC pain relief medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
- using a low loft pillow
- doing neck exercises, such as stretching and rotating the neck
Additionally, people can help prevent neck pain by:
Heating pads may be useful for those with neck pain, as the heat increases blood and oxygen flow to the area, soothing aching muscles.
There are various styles and types of neck heating pads available on the market. Some of the heating pads can also target other areas of the body, and many can provide cold therapy in addition to heat therapy.