Hot packs can provide temporary relief from lower back pain, neck pain or headaches. They have other uses beyond first aid, tooas hand and foot warmers and as protection against winters cold. In previous generations, a hot water bottle sufficed as a hot first aid treatment, but there are a number of newer technologies available.
Chemical Hot packs
Most commercial hot packs today work by popping or clicking a disk inside a water pack. This causes a chemical reaction that renders instant heat. These have the advantage of being usable anywhere (for example, ski trips, etc.) After use, the hot pack is disposed of.
Curious about the chemistry involved? These rely on a chemical reaction between the water in the gel and supersaturated sodium acetate solution. This is called an exothermic process, as it releases heat; cold packs rely on an endothermic reaction (absorbing heat) with another chemical, ammonium-nitrate.
You can also buy hot packs that are gel packs (for example, Techni-Ice) that you heat to whatever temperature you prefer. These can be kneaded to fit whatever form you require and also have the advantage of being reusable. However, these can be more dangerous than chemical ice packs, especially for children, as gel packs can be overheated.
Herbal Hot packs
You can actually make your own hot packs with rice and/or barley. You can also purchase specially formulated herbal hot packs made with varieties of microwaveable herbal products and flax seed.
If you have persistent aches and pains, you may want to invest in specially designed hot packs for the treatment of any of the following ailments:
Be aware that hot packs can stimulate inflammation in strains and muscle pulls. See: