Let’s wrap this up!

May 18, 2023 by Lisa Bywaters


Low-level heat wraps:
The gentle solution for managing musculoskeletal pain

By: Dr Peter McCann MRes (c), MAppSc, BAppSc, FASLM, FAICE

Musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis, back pain, tendonitis, and the pain and stiffness they cause can be debilitating, causing a significant impact on a person’s quality of life.

Fortunately, many treatments are available to help manage these symptoms and improve overall wellbeing. This article will explore one such option – low-level continuous heat wraps and their benefits for people with musculoskeletal conditions.

How do they work?

Low-level continuous heat wraps provide gentle, consistent heat therapy to pain-affected areas. Unlike traditional heat products such as wheat bags or hot water bottles, which can quickly become too hot and uncomfortable, heat wraps use low-level heat, penetrating deep into the affected area without causing discomfort. This helps increase blood flow to the region, reducing inflammation and promoting healing. Heat wraps can help relieve pain and stiffness by reducing inflammation and promoting blood flow, making it easier to move and enjoy your daily activities. Unlike other heat therapy options requiring frequent reheating or readjustment, heat wraps provide continuous heat for up to 10 hours, allowing for long-lasting relief without constant reheating.

What are the benefits?

The benefits of low-level continuous heat wraps for musculoskeletal conditions are numerous. First and foremost, they provide immediate pain relief, making it easier to manage discomfort and carry out daily activities.

Additionally, heat wraps have been shown to increase the range of motion and improve joint function, making it easier to move and engage in physical activity. This is key to promoting recovery from back pain.

Heat wraps keep you mobile, unlike a wheat bag or hot water bottle that requires you to sit or lay down. By reducing inflammation, these wraps can enhance healing, speeding up the recovery process and helping to prevent further injury.

Heat wraps may reduce the need for medication, making it possible to manage symptoms without relying on potentially addictive or harmful drugs.

Finally, heat wraps can significantly improve your quality of life by relieving pain and stiffness, allowing you to focus on the activities and experiences that bring you joy and fulfilment.

What’s the evidence?

The Australian Clinical Care Standard for low back pain recommends using heat wraps as a first-line approach alongside other treatments, such as regular physical activity, to relieve back pain. Heat wraps are Australian Physiotherapy Association and Osteopathy Australia Association endorsed products and are registered medical devices used in major hospitals for pain relief.

How are they used?

Using low-level continuous heat wraps is simple. To begin, remove the wrap from its packaging and gently unfold it. Next, open one or two heat patches. They activate on exposure to air, taking 20 – 30 minutes to warm up.

Insert the patches into the wrap and apply them over the affected area, ensuring it covers the entire region of pain or stiffness.

Finally, secure the wrap using the included Velcro strips, careful not to apply too much pressure. Once in place, the wrap will provide low-level continuous heat therapy, which can be used for up to eight hours.

For best results, using heat wraps regularly as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes exercise, medication, and other therapies as needed is recommended.

The ingredients are non-toxic and eco-friendly, so they can be disposed of in the garden as a soil improver.

Are there any precautions?

Users should also be aware of any precautions or warnings associated with using the wraps, such as avoiding use on open wounds or irritated skin and sleeping with the heat wrap on. Before use, read the information provided carefully, or discuss this with your pharmacist.

The wrap-up 😉

In conclusion, low-level continuous heat wraps are safe and effective for managing musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia and the pain and stiffness they cause.

By providing low-level continuous heat therapy, heat wraps can offer immediate pain relief, increased range of motion, improved joint function, reduced inflammation, enhanced healing, and improved quality of life.

Heat wraps can be used alongside other treatments to create a comprehensive care plan. I encourage readers to try these heat wraps and experience the benefits firsthand.

Talk with your doctor, pharmacist, physiotherapist or exercise physiologist for more information.

Contact our free national Help Line

Call our nurses if you have questions about managing your painmusculoskeletal condition, treatment options, mental health issuestelehealth, or accessing services. They’re available weekdays between 9am-5pm on 1800 263 265; email (helpline@msk.org.au) or via Messenger.

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