There is a definitive better and worse in this debate but there is no definitive winner and loser. That’s because while Moist Heat definitely delivers the best results, Dry Heat can be very effective and more mobile. It’s really about using the combination of the two to get the very best self therapy results.
Heat is an effective tool when dealing with both acute and chronic injuries, it can sooth and relax muscles in addition to increasing circulation to the targeted area. Where Moist Heat reigns supreme is in its ability to penetrate deeper into the muscles to relax tight muscles and increase circulation to the area through vasodilatation.
You can argue the effectiveness of Moist Heat even further when you realize that it is used everyday by Physical Therapists, Chiropractors, Masseur’s, and Sports Trainers to rehabilitate both athletes and patients with chronic injuries. Moist Heat can be a hot bath, whirlpool, steamed towels or even a steam room.
Dry Heat is less effective but much more mobile especially in the form of the long lasting temporary heat patches. There are many different brands available out in the market today. I have tried a great variety of them and I’ve settled on the definite winner as the Thermacare Heatwraps, my particular favorite being the Neck, Wrist, and Shoulder model since it is very adaptable to different parts of your body and I use it mainly for my neck area. It’s available in many local stores. The Thermacare Heatwraps provided me with relief during the workday and was unobtrusive, nobody knew I was even wearing it. I used it nearly everyday a few months after I separated my shoulder, ibuprofen did not even come close to providing the same relief. It is not recommended that you wear it directly on your skin but I have never had an issue with burns that are sometimes associated with it’s use.
I have semi chronic shoulder pain from a separated shoulder a few years ago and I used to use a sunbeam dry heat electrical heating pad and a microwaveable bean bag, but the sunbeam heating pad was a very dry dull heat and I always had to make multiple trips to the microwave with the bean bag
I got frustrated with trips to the microwave and I knew there had to be a better product out there to meet my needs and did a lot of research to find the right product and it’s been a home run winner for me. It’s a Moist Heat pad that is electric and programmable (no continuous trips to the microwave). It wicks moisture from the air and it feels just like what a chiropractors office used on my back when I went in for an adjustment. Many of the Chiropractors, Masseurs, and even Sports Trainers use a heavy pad that is left inside heated water; the heated pad is taken out and placed inside a towel which is then placed on the patient. Anyone who has experienced this moist heat therapy knows how amazing and relaxing it feels but it is expensive to go to the chiropractor and masseuse multiple times.
If you think you could benefit from moist heat you can try the TheraTherm Digital Moist Heating Pad. I use mine frequently; especially sitting in front of the computer or watching TV, no need to get back up to warm it up in the microwave!
Do you use something that is comparable? Please share in the comments!