These are the best pain-relieving heating pads for every issue — from facial soreness and shoulder aches to foot pain and period cramp discomfort.

By Brittany Loggins
December 30, 2020
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If you’ve been experiencing body aches, soreness, or even pain from menstrual cramps, after a quick Google search, you might have decided that purchasing a heating pad is in your best interest. 

When it comes to general pain relief, while medicines can help, “very often, a heating pad used the right way can accomplish the same pain-relieving purpose," says Gbolahan Okubadejo, M.D., a New York-based spinal and orthopedic surgeon. Why? Heat therapy has numerous benefits. “It boosts circulation, which enables oxygen and nutrients to reach muscles and joints. The increased circulation serves to repair damaged muscles, improve stiffness, and relieve inflammation," he adds. Not to mention, heating pads work quickly to relieve discomfort, and are also great natural pain-relieving options for those who prefer to not take over-the-counter meds, such as Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen.

While heating pads can be effective, Dr. Okubadejo cautions that you want to make sure you are using them correctly — and pay close attention to how fast they heat up so you don't burn yourself. “If you're using a high setting, don't leave the heating pad on for more than 30 minutes, and don't allow yourself to fall asleep while using one,” warns Dr. Okubadejo. “On lower settings, they can be used for a longer time period with a max of one hour," he points out. (Related: Should You Try CBD or Cannabis Creams for Pain Relief?)

With so many heating pads out there, it can be difficult to know which ones are worth your money. Ahead, a guide to the best heating pad options for every body part, according to customers.

Best Overall for Pain Relief: Sunbeam Heating Pad

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Credit: AMAZON

One of Amazon's top-selling heating pads, with more than 22,500 five-star ratings, this heating pad also comes at a $25 price tag. The LED controller features four heat settings, as well as a two-hour auto shut-off, so that you can conserve energy and not worry about overheating. The 12-by-24-inch size means it's large enough to cover any area, or wrap around your leg or arm, and shoppers love that it feels like a soft blanket. (Related: 8 Unconventional Ways to Treat Sore Muscles)

One reviewer wrote: "Fantastic, soft warmth (I use it on the lowest setting, which feels more natural to me and not so "fried"). I highly recommend this for anyone experiencing chronic morning stiffness in their neck and shoulders, or during any time of the day!"

Best for Neck and Shoulders: iTeknic Heating Pad

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This drapes perfectly around your neck and over your shoulders and is secure like a vest (so you don't have to keep adjusting it), making it the ideal solution for neck, shoulder, and upper-back pain. It boasts six heat settings, and you can spray it with water for a moist heat option. Bonus: It automatically turns off after 2 hours, so you have peace of mind if you end up dozing off while using it. (Related: The Best Neck Massagers You Can Buy)

“Unlike other neck and shoulder heating pads, this one is weighted so it stays put. It's the best one I've ever tried for my aching neck, shoulders and upper back,” shared a customer.

Best for Back Pain: Sunbeam Heating Pad Back Wrap with Adjustable Strap

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Great for anyone experiencing middle or lower back pain, this heating pad contours to your back to relieve aches and soreness. It has four heat settings you can easily control with a remote, including a moist heat option, and a nine-foot cord so you're not held captive in one area by a power outlet. (Related: The Best Personal Back Massagers to Relieve Tension and Sore Muscles)

"Bought it for my mom, who suffered a back injury in Feb," said a shopper. "She was using an older heating pad. She LOVES how this one "gives her a hug" and really does help improve her pain (T12 injury site). Good for mid-to-low back areas."

Best for Face: LotFancy Gel Pack with Wrap

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If you're dealing with TMJ, post-dental surgery pain, or jaw, tooth, or implant aches (any teeth grinders in the house?), you need this adjustable facial heating pad that wraps snuggly around your head. It contains four gel packs that you can heat (or freeze) — depending on whether you want hot or cold treatment — and it provides relief for pain and discomfort on either side of your face, simultaneously.

One reviewer wrote: "Wow! This is such an awesome product. I have had TMJ issues for most of my life, but a few months ago I started experiencing popping and extreme pain in my jaw from grinding my teeth. I grind my teeth when I'm awake and stressed, but the dentist insisted I should get a night guard that cost $500! He also recommended doing warm compresses and I discovered this wonderful wrap. There has been such a difference for my jaw since using this that I'm extremely grateful for it."

Best for Feet: DONECO King Size Heating Pad

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Whether you're looking to relieve aching feet or just wanting to keep your tootsies warm, this heating pad acts as a foot warmer with it pockets — but it's also larger enough for other parts of your body, like your back. It has four temperature settings and shuts off after two hours of use. Curl up with it on the couch or layer it on top of your bed on a cold winter night. (Related: The Best Foot Massagers, According to Customer Reviews)

"This is the BEST heating pad EVER. This Doneco is soft and warm and works so well, let me tell you why! I get horrible cramps every month during my cycle so heating pads have been a staple in my life for a while. This heating pad caught my eye because it’s foot pocket! (I get cold feet too!) The first time I used the pad, it was for some muscle pain and it felt like I was using a warm soft cloud and my muscle pain melted away. I would recommend this Doneco heating pad to anyone!" raved a buyer.

Best for Joint Pain: Sunbeam Flexfit Heating Pad Wrap

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Credit: AMAZON

This heating pad is perfect for joint pain since it allows you to wrap it around your problem areas. It can easily contour around ankles, elbows, wrists, and other hard-to-reach spots. It has three heat settings and a two-hour auto shut-off.

"I suffer from severe arthritis as well as very bad joints," shared a customer. "Right now I am dealing with tennis elbow for the 2nd time in 2 years and a strained rotator cuff both on the right side. This makes it it hard to sleep. Basic heating pads weren't cutting it.  ordered this and it was expensive and I debated on ordering it at all....but I'm glad I finally ordered it. So far I'm loving it and super happy with my purchase. Heats up really well and wraps nice and tight."

Best for Cramps: Comfier Cordless Heating Pad

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Credit: AMAZON

When it's ~that time of the month~, strap this heating pad around your waist to help manage and relieve menstrual cramps. It has adjustable straps for a comfy fit and three adjustable heat settings, is wireless (read: portable) and washable, and can be worn underneath your clothing, making it discreet enough to even use at the office.

"This is a great heating pad, I use it for period cramps and back pain. The battery life is great; it lasts for 2 and a half hours on the highest setting. It lasts even longer than that on lower heat settings. It is also very comfortable and discreet to wear; it fits under the waistband of my jeans and doesn't show at all. I can wear it to work when I'm having bad cramps," said a shopper.

Best Microwavable Option: Carex Bed Buddy Heat Pad and Cooling Neck Wrap

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Credit: AMAZON

This heating pad has convenient straps on the ends so that you can hold it, stretch it, and really contour it to whatever part of your body needs some pain relief. As an added bonus, it's filled with natural grains and flowers, which provides aromatherapy when it's heated up in the microwave. Finally, it can also fit an ice pack, just in case you want to repurpose it in the hot summer months. 

"Honestly, I thought it was pretty stupid and worthless but I needed something for my aching neck so I thought I would give it a try. HOLY!! Did that stupid thing help! I came home from my trip and jumped on Amazon to find this awesome-ness. I don't know why it works better on my neck pain than a heating pad... Maybe it's because the heat is also on the side vs just the back? It just works. No wires. I pop this in the microwave for a 1.5 mins and BAM. Instant relief," commented a buyer.

Best Full Body Heating Pad: Sunbeam Heated Mattress Pad

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Made to fit a queen mattress (read: mattresses up to 18-inches deep), this heating bed pad has a 10-hour auto shut-off and features 10 different heat settings, so that you can truly tailor it to your tastes. One reviewer, who suffers from chronic nerve pain (specifically leg pain), noted how much they loved the dual controls, which allows them to reap the benefits of the warming pad without overheating their husband. (Related: The Best Mattresses for Back Pain, According to Chiropractors)

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