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Are there health risks to using electric heating pads excessively?

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Rowdyboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 08:44 PM
Original message
Are there health risks to using electric heating pads excessively?
I screwed up my lower back recently from over-exertion (the unseemly details are titillating and sordid :evilgrin: but not essential to my question).

Anyway, I bought a great heating pad and it has really eased the pain and is relaxing in general. I've used it for around 2 hours a night for a week or so but a friend suggested it might be dangerous to use every day.

DUers have a wide range of knowledge and I appreciate any of it you can share with me. Do I need to lay off or can I enjoy my "back-buddy" without guilt?




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carolinalady Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 08:45 PM
Response to Original message
1. Enjoy! No risk except burns and fire. Use common sense. n/t
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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 08:45 PM
Response to Original message
2. Just don't burn yourself and you'll be ok
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Atman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 08:46 PM
Response to Original message
3. Only if you use them in the bathtub.
:)
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drb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 08:48 PM
Response to Original message
4. If you just purchased it new....
...you're fine. The older electric heating pads gave out some EMF, which may or may not be bad for you. FYI - your electric can opener probably emits much more EMF than even an old heating pad.

The new pads (and blankets, etc) are wired differently to greatly reduce EMF. I'm an electrical engineer, and I plan to use a heating pad on my neck tonite.

Bottom line: Not to worry.
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 09:14 PM
Response to Reply #4
20. "EMF" is still in dispute.
Edited on Thu Oct-27-05 09:15 PM by BiggJawn
I have read (unfortunately, I can not find a cite in a quick search) that the "scientist" who published the original study linking 60-Hz electrical fields to cancer had falsified much of his information in an attempt to pursue a personal vendetta against the Power Industry.

That stuff we were told years ago about electric blankets, waterbed heaters and even electric alarm clocks and lamps on the nightstand is just so much Woo-woo-ism.

I'm curious, though, just how "New" heating pads differ from "old" pads? They both pass current through resistance wire in order to produce heat.
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sendero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 08:48 PM
Response to Original message
5. There are those who claim...
.. it might be bad for you, but I think they are in the minority.

You are basically exposing yourself to 60 Hz electromagnetic radiation. If it were 600 MHz, then there is wider agreement that it might be harmful.

As far as I know, there has been no study that proves that heating pads and electric blankets (same thing) are dangerous. I use an electric blanket now and then, I'm not worried. :)
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 08:50 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. cool. i just asked about the blanket.
i stopped a couple years ago. sure was nice getting into a warmed bed, instead of a freezing could one, half hour of shiverin
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 08:48 PM
Response to Original message
6. how about electrical blanket. my room is freezing in winter
but stopped using electrical blankets a couple years cause it sits on top of me all night and just didnt like that idea
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Gloria Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 08:51 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. Electric blankets have been the subject of warnings.....
electrical fields or something.....no go.
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postulater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 09:04 PM
Response to Reply #6
18. Why not just warm the bed up for the half hour before getting in
and then turning it off. By the time you are settled in your body will be keeping the blanket warm and you should be fine.
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cynatnite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 08:49 PM
Response to Original message
7. Don't fall asleep with one...
That's all I can remember. Two hours a night sounds good.
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 08:52 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. I can fall asleep with mine - it has an auto cutoff
:D
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cynatnite Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 08:54 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Oh, yeah...we've got one of those, too
I forgot about it :blush: :D
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Skittles Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. see I had to get one like that
because that's the only time I use a heating pad - when misery is keeping me awake. :D
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Gloria Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 08:50 PM
Response to Original message
9. I actually did read that there was a problem with all that
electricity running through electric blankets......

But I guess short term use of heating pads is ok... it better be, I used one for my back, too...
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 08:51 PM
Response to Original message
11. So long as your pop up timer doesn't go off...
I have used them for years and I'm.... uh oh, you might be in trouble ;)
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bettyellen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 08:55 PM
Response to Original message
14. my phys therapist always said, you should ice up - i know it's a bitch!--
after using heat. or take asprin at least to reduce any inflammation that comes from the heat.
the drill is, heating up, therapy, cooling down ice/or advil or asprin.
if you skip the last part, you do feel stiffer the next day.
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Kagemusha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 09:01 PM
Response to Original message
16. Absolutely never use a pad AND heat rub together.
That's one rule to remember. Again, common sense if you appreciate just how strong heat rubs can get but, still.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 09:02 PM
Response to Original message
17. I've been using heat, often from electrical heating pads or other devices
Edited on Thu Oct-27-05 09:03 PM by Cleita
for decades now to relieve various aches and pains that come with increasing old age and back problems. It hasn't screwed me up anymore than I was originally, and it certainly has made life more bearable, as well as cut down on my use of pain killers, which can't be that good for you either.

Also, if you can afford a gym membership, using the sauna, hot tub, or steam room is a blessing.
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shraby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 09:05 PM
Response to Original message
19. Unless there is an auto cut-off, don't go
to sleep with it on. My husband burned his knee with one like that.
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bluedawg12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 09:23 PM
Response to Original message
21. *Generally, keeping it on medium heat with a towel
between it and the skin to prevent burns.

One hour on two to three off, because heat can increase inflammation.

Consider alternate ice packs 5 minutes on, in between heating pads sessions.

Never fall asleep on one as they can lead to burns.

However, since you mentioned that you have had LBP for one week it would be prudent to seek medical care and have a check up and possibly some medications prescribed.

Lumbar strains do get better on their own, the majority with-in one week, and 85% by six weeks,

Physical therapy is a good educational tool to evaluate and correct any errors in body mechanics.

** The information is provided as general information and not meant to medically treat anyone on the inter net. Medical care requires an in person evaluation by a trained health care provider.
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Rowdyboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-27-05 10:46 PM
Response to Original message
22. You guys are so great....My guy and I thank you deeply and you're words
have been heard. Thanks to all for the help and solid information-thats what DU is best at!
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