Pros: Convenient for traveling
Cons: Expensive, the stick part hurts, not warm enough to be effective.
I am reviewing ThermaCare Therapeutic Heat Wraps one of many attempts to ease the pain of sore body parts.
About the product:
I bought the wrap that is for the neck and arm. They are called Neck to Arm Wraps and are also for the upper back and shoulder. ThermaCare makes wraps for various parts of the body and various conditions such as menstrual cramp pain and lower back pain. In some instances they come in different sizes. Mine do not. My wraps come packaged as a group of 3. The 3 wraps are in a foil package and the foil package is in a cardboard box. I paid $6.99 for my package. I chose this for my chronic shoulder pain, although I must say now that
The wrap is designed to mold to the contours of my body; in this case Ill use my shoulder. The neck to arm wrap is 11 1/4" long and 3 1/2" at its widest. The 2 widest sections contain heat discs and that is what this product is all about. There are twelve heat discs in all and they are between what feels like a cross between paper and cotton. The heat discs are made of natural heat-generating materials such as iron, charcoal, table salt and water. We are told that when we open the pouch, the discs react with the oxygen in the air. That reaction causes them to gradually warm up. We are told that it will take about 30 minutes for the heat wrap to warm up.
The discs look hard, sort of like magnets, but in fact they are soft and pliable.
ThermaCare claims that the wraps will provide temporary relief of minor muscular and joint aches and pains associated with overexertion, strains, sprains and arthritis. I was very excited about using this product. I do not have arthritis but my muscles are often overexerted and at times I do get a strain. My shoulder injury was not strained and it is much better after months of physical therapy but I do find it bothering me at times. I work out at a gym and on various days my shoulder will bother me after my workout.
How to use ThermaCare:
The first thing you do is open the airtight pouch to start activating the heat. You can see that one side has a darker shade and that is the side that goes over the injury. There is paper on that side that gets peeled away and adhesive is on it. The adhesive is on each end of the wrap very similar to a band-aid. The middle has the healing part and the ends have the sticky part. The ends are very sticky which is great since if I wanted to wear it for 8 hours as suggested, whether it is during the day or night, I want it to stay on. For the best benefits you should use it for 2 or 3 days in a row.
We are told that if after 30 minutes the wrap doesnt feel warm take it off and fold it back up. It comes folded in the package. I have never used one that did not start warming up right away.
~ThermaCare can cause skin irritation and even burns so dont wear it in the same place for more than 8 hours in any 24-hour period.
~The heat discs have iron in them, which can be harmful if ingested so please keep these away from children. The discs look very inviting to a child who will want to rip this apart to get to them. Obviously call the poison control center if a disc is ingested! If a disc comes into contact with your skin or eyes, wash the area with water.
~This is a one-time use product. Dont heat it again in any way and certainly not in a microwave.
~You should not use the ThermaCare wrap if you have medicated lotions on the area (For example if you put on Bengay thinking you would do double duty.), if your skin is broken, if your skin has been swollen or bruised within 48 hours (So those of you who want to put this on after you have tripped and your ankle is now black and blue and swollen dont.) Use ice for the first 48 hours.
~This is not for children or anyone who cant take the product off themselves.
~If there is any part of your shoulder, for example, that cant be felt, dont put it on that area, dont use it if you are prone to skin ulcers or with any other kind of heat (like a heating pad).
~If your skin gets red and stays that way for more than a few hours stop using it. Your skin might get a bit red and you will see that when you take off the wrap. My skin does get a bit red but it goes away quickly. Personally I think the redness is more the result of the sticky adhesive being ripped of than the amount of heat.
~Keep this out of the reach of your pets as well.
~Talk with your doctor about using a ThermaCare wrap if you are pregnant, have diabetes, a problem with your blood circulation or have rheumatoid arthritis.
More suggestions: (I am not making up the warnings or suggestions. Although I am not quoting directly, these are the instructions in a very nice, detailed pamphlet that goes with the product for over $2.33 each there should be a nice pamphlet!)
In order to avoid redness you can wear it for shorter periods of time, wear looser clothing or put it over some clothing. If you know or think your skin is sensitive to heat (which mine is not) use this during the day rather than when you are sleeping so you can check the area.
1. I find the sticky ends to be so sticky that they can be painful.
2. If I am using ice I want it cold, if I am using heat I want it warm. I only have found the ThermaCare to be lukewarm and I have folded them as told. They are not warm enough, in my opinion, to feel great and I do love heat. They are supposed to reach 104 degrees. I have never taken their temperature and perhaps that is how hot they are, but they dont feel that hot to me.
3. Obviously I find that they stay on very well and I have worn one during the day and one at night. I can do almost anything with it on and it stays in place.
4. I feel no relief from these wraps at all. Heat is an effective way to relieve muscle pain as well as loosen up tight muscles. We never started my physical therapy sessions without heating my shoulder. That was heat! This is not.
5. Since the heat is supposed to increase circulation to my shoulder which then helps my bodys natural repair process to return muscles to their normal state of health and I feel little heat, I obviously have little increased circulation.
6. They are expensive. I can buy Bengay for less and it lasts a lot longer than 3 uses.
My final thoughts:
I think this is a decent concept especially for traveling when I might not have an electrical outlet for a heating pad or using a lotion is inconvenient. The wraps just dont warm up enough to my liking so I wont buy them again and I am not going to recommend them.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment.