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Neck and shoulder heating pads may help to loosen stiff joints and ease muscle aches and pains. Most of these devices warm up quickly, helping to alleviate soreness within minutes.

This article outlines seven of the best heating pads for the neck and shoulders. We also provide tips on how to choose a heating pad and suggest alternative methods for helping to alleviate neck and shoulder pain.

Neck and shoulder heating pads are heated devices that a person can place against the neck or shoulders to help alleviate pain and discomfort in the joints and muscles. They can also help to ease muscle tension in these areas.

Some heating pads are microwaveable, while others require a person to plug them into an electrical outlet.

How we choose products

Medical News Today chooses products that meet the following criteria:

  • Price: MNT will choose products available for a wide range of budgets.
  • Features: MNT selectsproducts with useful features, such as an auto-shutoff, overheating protection mechanism, or adjustable straps.
  • Suitability: MNTselectsproducts to suit a range of needs, such as portability and extra temperature functions.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.

For neck, back, and shoulder cover: Pure Enrichment PureRelief XL Heating Pad

  • Who needs it: Anyone looking for full back coverage in a heating pad.
  • Pros:
    • adjustable fit
    • machine washable cover
    • 5-year limited warranty
  • Cons: Shuts off quickly when on a high heat setting.
  • Heat type: Dry.
  • Cord length: Over 7 feet.
  • Size: 29”x24”.
  • Pricing: $59.99

This large electronic heating pad covers the neck, shoulders, and the full length of the back. It is fully adjustable, catering to most body shapes and sizes.

Other features include:

  • a hands-free design
  • four therapeutic heat settings
  • an automatic shut-off

For a weighted heating pad: Huggaroo Microwave Heating Pad for Neck and Shoulders

  • Who needs it: Anyone looking for a weighted, dual heat/cold therapy for sore joints and muscles.
  • Pros:
    • dual-purpose heat and cold therapy
    • hypoallergenic cover
    • cordless design
    • suitable for travel
  • Cons: Provides only 15 minutes of intense heat therapy.
  • Heat type: Moist.
  • Cord length: Not applicable.
  • Size: 18”x14”, with a 3.5″ collar.
  • Pricing: $35.99

This weighted heating pad contains clay beads. A person can heat the product by placing it in the microwave for around 90 seconds.

For additional heat, a person can increase the heating time in increments of 30 seconds up to 4 minutes.

The company claims that the product provides 10–15 minutes of deep heat and remains warm for an additional 10–15 minutes.

People can also chill the pad in the freezer and use it as a cold pack.

For moist or dry heat: Sunbeam Heating Pad for Neck and Shoulder Pain Relief

  • Who needs it: Anyone looking for a comfortable and non-bulky heating pad.
  • Pros:
    • rapid heating
    • automatic switch-off safety mechanism
    • machine washable cover
  • Cons: Some reviewers report that the product does not stay hot for long.
  • Heat type: Dry
  • Cord length: 9 feet.
  • Size: 16.5”x25.5”.
  • Pricing: Around $49.99.

This electric heating pad comes with a sponge that a person can moisten for moist heat therapy.

Other product features include:

  • six temperature settings
  • rapid heating
  • automatic switch-off after 90 minutes
  • an adjustable neck collar with a magnetic clasp
  • machine washable microfleece cover

For a weighted edge: ZXU Heating Pad for Neck and Shoulder

  • Who needs it: Anyone looking for a weighted heating pad.
  • Pros:
    • rapid heating
    • even heat distribution
    • ETL certification
  • Cons:
    • cord location
    • lack of an off button
  • Heat type: Dry and moist.
  • Cord length: 11 feet.
  • Size: 20”x25”.
  • Pricing: Around $49.99.

This adjustable electric heating pad weighs 1.9 lbs, and the company describes it as extra large.

The pad has the following features:

  • three heat settings
  • options for dry or moist heat
  • automatic shut-off
  • ultra-soft fabric
  • a magnetic strap

The product is also reportedly suitable for moist or dry heat.

For a micro-glass bead filling: Comfytemp Weighted Heating Pad for Neck and Shoulders

  • Who needs it: Anyone looking for an extra-weighted heating pad.
  • Pros:
    • multiple heat settings
    • automatic shut-off
    • machine washable cover
  • Cons: Some reviewers complain that the pad does not get hot enough, and that the product stopped working shortly after purchase.
  • Heat type: Dry.
  • Cord length: 9 feet.
  • Size: 19”x22”.
  • Pricing: Around $45.99.

This electric heating pad features a micro-glass bead filling for a weighted feel. The product weighs 2.2 pounds.

Other product features include:

  • nine heat settings
  • 11 automatic shut-off timers
  • a multifunctional controller with a backlight and countdown display
  • a soft and machine washable cover

For a long power cord: hellomoto Electric Heating Pad for Neck and Shoulders

  • Who needs it: A person who wants the freedom to move around a little while also receiving sustained heat therapy.
  • Pros:
    • an 11-foot power cord
    • rapid heating technology
    • ETL Certification
    • machine washable cover
  • Cons:
    • Some customers report that the product stopped working after several uses
    • no refund policy
  • Heat type: Dry.
  • Cord length: 11 feet.
  • Size: 25”x20”.
  • Pricing: Around $35.99.

This electric heating pad features an 11-foot power cord and three heat settings.

Other product features include:

  • rapid heating technology
  • a 2-hour automatic shut-off setting
  • weighted edges
  • a magnetic clasp to hold the product in place
  • a machine washable cover

For natural pain relief: REVIX Heated Neck Wrap

  • Who needs it: Anyone looking for natural pain relief.
  • Pros:
    • travel-friendly
    • budget-friendly
    • options for heat or cold therapy
  • Cons:
    • Heat does not last long
    • smaller size compared to other products
  • Heat type: Moist.
  • Cord length: Not applicable.
  • Size: 27.5”x5.1”.
  • Pricing: Around $15.99.

This microwaveable heat wrap contains a filling composed of organic flaxseed, organic millet, and clay beads. The product can deliver both heat and cold therapy.

The table below provides a snapshot of how the best neck and shoulder heating pads compare to each other:

ProductBest forProConPrice
Pure EnrichmentNeck, back,
and shoulders
Adjustable fitHeat shuts off
too quickly
HugarooWeighted heating padCordlessOnly 15 minutes
intense heat
SunbeamFor moist or dry heatDry/moist
heat options
Heat does not last$49.99
ZXUFor weighted edgeFast heatingCord location$49.99
ComfytempWith micro-glass beads9 heat settingsWears out quickly$45.99
HellomotoWith long power cordETL-certifiedWears out quickly$35.99
REVIXFor natural pain reliefTravel-friendlyHeat does not last$15.99

In addition to safety features, a person may wish to consider the following before purchasing a heating pad:

  • Heat type: Electronic neck and shoulder heating pads provide dry heat, while microwaveable heating pads produce moist heat.
  • Cord length: People using electronic neck and shoulder heating pads should consider the product’s cord length. Those using pads with short cables may need to sit near a power outlet or purchase an extension cord.
  • Size: A person may wish to review the product’s measurements and decide which product will best suit their body size.

Neck and shoulder heating pads are relatively safe products. However, they do pose some risks and require users to take precautions.

People should consider a product’s safety features, including:

  • Temperature control: Most electric heating pads come with a temperature control function. People who use microwavable heating pads should take care when removing the product from the microwave to avoid burns.
  • Automatic shut-off: People may consider purchasing an electronic neck and shoulder heating pad with an automated shut-off feature, which shuts off the device after a set time to minimize the risk of fire.
  • Heat-resistant cover: Neck and shoulder heating pads include a material cover that serves as a buffer between the pad and the user’s skin to prevent scalding.

Anyone experiencing chronic neck and shoulder pain should consider seeing a healthcare professional for a diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

People may consider other products for relieving neck and shoulder pain, including:

  • neck or shoulder massagers
  • cervical neck pillows
  • topical analgesic creams
  • cooling gels and sprays
  • herbal pain relief patches

A person may also wish to try a massage with a professional massage therapist.

Learn more about neck and shoulder massagers.

Heat therapy helps to boost circulation, which increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the body’s tissues. According to the Arthritis Foundation, this can help to loosen stiff joints and alleviate sore muscles.

A 2021 meta-analysis into heat and cold therapy for delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) found that applying heat therapy within 1 hour of exercise could promote recovery. Both heat and cold therapy were effective in reducing DOMS pain. The researchers concluded that higher-quality research is necessary to determine whether heat or cold therapy is more effective.

An older 2010 study found that using heat or cold pads alongside ibuprofen was mildly effective in reducing neck and back pain. However, the researchers noted the possibility that the pain relief was largely attributable to the ibuprofen.

Importantly, people should not use heat therapy to replace more conventional forms of treatment. A person should talk with their doctor about any long-term aches or pains and whether heat or cold therapy will be more suitable.

Learn more about heat and cold therapy.

Below are some frequently asked questions about neck and shoulder heating pads.

Is a heating pad good for neck and shoulder pain?

Heating pads boost circulation. This, in turn, increases the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the joints and muscles, easing pain and discomfort.

Most neck and shoulder heating pads warm up quickly and may help alleviate soreness within minutes.

Which is better for neck pain, heat or ice?

Both heat and ice can help to alleviate neck pain. Applying heat boosts circulation, helping to alleviate stiffness and soothe aching muscles. In contrast, applying cold reduces blood flow, helping to reduce swelling and associated pain following an injury.

A person can ask their doctor or pharmacist for further advice on which type of treatment is right for them.

Can I use a heating pad on my shoulder?

The products listed in this article are specially designed to provide heat to the shoulder area. Heat therapy can ease joint and muscle aches by improving circulation.

Will a heating pad help my neck?

A heating pad that heats the neck will boost circulation in this area, helping to alleviate neck pain or discomfort.

Neck and shoulder heating pads can help to loosen stiff joints in the upper body, and alleviate sore muscles. People can choose between microwaveable heating pads offering moist heat, or electric heating pads offering dry heat.

When choosing a heating pad, people may wish to consider various factors, including product size and adjustability, temperature control, and product cost.

A person should speak with their doctor if they are experiencing ongoing pain in their neck or shoulders. They may also wish to ask them if heat therapy or cold therapy would be more suitable as a treatment.