If you're suffering from chronic neck pain, a heated shoulder wrap could be what you need to eliminate the pain. In this article we'll cover the benefits of microwavable neck and shoulder wraps and provide a list of recommended products for you.
As we all know, muscle tension can build up in our neck and shoulders, it's one the most common complaints among patients. Sore neck, back, and shoulders are extremely common, and not many people know how to reduce the pain.
Continue reading to find out.
What is a Microwable Neck and Shoulder Wrap?
Microwavable neck and shoulder wraps looks like a travel pillow that you wrap around your neck.
Except, in most cases, the material is designed to absorb either heat or cold for physical therapy. When heated, the soft and heavy material relaxes your muscles and provides relief from pain and soreness.
Most neck and shoulder wraps are designed to have extra weight, and that extra weight usually comes from seeds, rice, or other material inside the stitching. You can think of these wraps like a weighted blanket but only for your upper body.
Most of the people who use microwavable neck and shoulder wraps instantly feel more relaxed. It also helps alleviate pain and muscle tension, similar to a warm massage.
How to Use Shoulder Wraps:
There are several different types of neck and shoulder wraps, but we'll cover the products that are designed for heat and cold therapy. To use the product just wrap the sides around your shoulders, it should be a snug fit.
To use the microwavable neck and shoulder wrap just heat it in the microwave per the product recommendations. If the particular product is thicker and heavier, a longer period will be necessary. Be careful not to leave the product in the microwave for longer than recommended, otherwise it might burn.
For cold therapy, seal the wrap in a plastic bag to eliminate moisture, and leave it the freezer. It will take longer for the product to absorb the cold, sometimes up to two hours, and you can leave it in the freezer for as long as you want. No dangers there.
Most people prefer the heat therapy, as it's more comfortable and soothing but cold therapy can provide numerous benefits as well.
As a matter of fact, you should start off with cold therapy, especially if the shoulder and neck pain is chronic (meaning you've had the pain for quit sometime, maybe years). Also, if you apply the heated wraps and the pain increases, stop immediately. You want to switch to cold instead of heat.
For a better understanding of when to use Cold Vs. Heat Therapy, check out this article...Therapy 101 - When to Use Heat Vs. Cold Therapy!
Benefits of Neck & Shoulder Wraps:
There are numerous benefits to using a microwavable neck and shoulder wrap. We'll discuss some of the most important benefits in this section.
1. Relax Neck Muscles
For starters, the heat can relieve muscle tension. You probably know prolonged muscle tension can lead to all kinds of issues such as cramps and soreness. If you pulled a muscle in your neck, then you know how painful it can be. Relaxing the muscles in your neck is important, but it's often overlooked.
2. Relieve Pain
Secondly, it relieves pain. When you have a tension headache, placing a hot towel over your head helps bring the pain down to manageable levels. The shoulder wrap does the same, except it's specifically designed to fit your neck and shoulders. The weight keeps the wrap in place and provides a calming effect.
Not only is it great for general soreness due to tension, but also helps heal muscle related injuries, such as bruises, or other issues.
Those are just some of the many benefits of using a neck and shoulder wrap.
Recommended Neck and Shoulder Wraps:
After reading about the benefits of these products, you're probably ready to give them a shot. Most the products have similar designs, the only differences being the materials used. Below is a list of our recommended neck and shoulder wraps:
1. PhysioCare Neck and Shoulder Wrap
PhysioCare's neck and shoulder wrap is a favorite on Amazon. Most of the people who use it claim it offers almost instant pain relief and deep muscle relaxation. The soft fabric with the tall collar offers even more comfort to your shoulders and lower neck, a very snug fit.
The great thing about this shoulder wrap is not only can you use it as a heating pad but also a cold pad. In other words, you can heat it up in the microwave or the freezer; your preference. One thing I liked about this particular wrap is the incredibly soft mink fabric. Honestly, it feels like a weighted blanket, but for your neck and shoulders.
Not only that, there are a wide variety of seeds and herbs inside the material, such as lemongrass, clay-beads, flax seed, lavender, and peppermint. Great for aromatherapy too!
All in all, a decent neck and shoulder wrap for anyone suffering from neck and shoulder pains!
2. Sharper Image Microwavable Neck & Shoulder Wrap
This is one of the more budget friendly neck and shoulder wraps. It also contains similar herbs as the PhysioCare's version, but the material is a little thinner and lighter. It also has a collar area for rear neck massages. Overall, think of it as a cheaper version of the PhysioCare.
One thing to keep in mind is there is wheat inside, so if you're allergic to wheat you might want to avoid this one. Otherwise, it's an excellent budget microwavable neck and shoulder wrap.
Colors: Light grey.
3. Mars Wellness Aromatherapy Shoulder Wrap
This microwavable neck and shoulder wrap by Mars Wellness is a best seller on Amazon and for a good reason. The product resembles most shoulder wraps, but this one has 12 aromatic seeds inside. It's also 100% organic.
When heated, these seeds emit a sweet fragrance that's supposed to calm your nerves, a touch of aromatherapy. The seeds also provide more weight to the product, so there's constant contact with your neck and shoulders.
We like this particular neck and shoulder wrap because its very easy to use, smells great, and retains heat longer than other products. It's also incredibly soft with no sharp edges or metal.
Concerns with Neck and Shoulder Wraps:
Before you take the plunge, there are a couple things about this products you need to keep in mind.
For starters, if you're sensitive to smells, some of these products can emit a strong smell that can irritate you. I guess smell is subjective, as some reviewers love the smells, while others can't stand it.
Secondly, sometimes to seeds can fall out of the product. The stitching on some of these wraps is a little low quality so keep that in mind. Small holes can open up if you aren't gentle.
It's also important to follow the seller's instructions when it comes to heating up the wraps. Each wrap is made from a different material so the speed it can absorb and retain heat varies depending on the manufacturer. Generally, polyester heats up the fastest.
Other than that, the benefits of heated neck and shoulder wraps far outweigh the downsides, and I highly recommend them.
The neck and shoulders are one of the main areas of the body where stress can accumulate, and not many people care for massages. This product essentially massages the area and eliminates the muscle stress.
Overall, if you struggle with chronic neck muscle strain and soreness, I recommend trying out one of these shoulder wraps.