Back Pain

Updated 10 June 2019

Heat patch designed to relieve muscle pain

SPONSORED: ThermaCare® heat patches - how heat therapy works.


ThermaCare® is an air-activated heat patch designed to provide therapeutic heat to relieve muscle pain associated with overexertion, strains and sprains. The heat patch is available in customized versions for a comfortable fit for each body part: lower back and hip patch and neck, shoulder and wrist patch.

How ThermaCare® works2:

  • The ThermaCare® heat patch begins to heat immediately upon exposure to oxygen with temperature gradually increasing over time, reaching therapeutic levels (40 degrees Celsius) within approximately 30 minutes.
  • When applied to the site of pain, ThermaCare® will provide consistent uniform heat and associated pain relief for 8 hours while you wear it and up to an additional 8 hours after you remove it.
  • Each heat cell contains iron, charcoal, salt and water and once exposed to oxygen an exothermic reaction activates the discs to release heat.

How heat therapy works3?

  • Heat therapy has readily been used to provide relief of pain from muscle soreness/stiffness.
  • Heat helps to relax the muscles and also stimulates thermoreceptors in the skin to decrease the brain’s perception of pain. Relaxation of the muscle in turn helps increase the range of motion.1
  • Heat dilates blood vessels around muscles and joints.  This results in increased blood flow to the affected area which provides more oxygen to the damaged cells and removes muscle waste products, such as lactic acid that builds up in overused muscles and contribute to the pain.1


Thermacare®: The facts 4,5,6

As with any heat product, care should always be taken when using ThermaCare®, so here are a few safety tips to keep in mind when using the product.

ThermaCare® should not be used:

  • with medicated topical preparations
  • on unhealthy, damaged or broken skin
  • on areas of bruising or swelling that have occurred within the last 48 hours
  • on areas of the body where heat cannot be felt
  • on people unable to remove the product, including children, infants and some elderly
  • if heat cell contents leak and/or patch is damaged or torn
  • with other forms of heat
  • on people unable to follow all use instructions

Heat products have the potential to cause skin irritation or burns or blisters, so to reduce this risk, make sure not to wear the product for more than 8 hours in any 24 hour period.

Periodically check your skin:

  • If your skin is sensitive to heat.
  • If product feels too hot - stop use or wear over a layer of clothing, not directly against your skin.
  • If you are 55 or older, wear ThermaCare® over a layer of clothing, and do not use while sleeping.
  • Do not place extra pressure over the product such as leaning against hard surfaces, wearing under tight clothing, a tight waistband or belt.
  • Be careful when applying to the wrist - do not overlap the heat cells.
  • If you have diabetes, poor circulation, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis or are pregnant, make sure to consult a doctor or pharmacist before using ThermaCare® Heat Patch.

Stop use and ask a doctor:

  • If pain worsens or persists for more than 7 days.
  • If you experience any discomfort, burning, swelling, rash or other changes in your skin that persist where the patch is worn.

Keep out of reach of children and pets:

  • Can be harmful if ingested.  If ingested, rinse mouth with water and call Poison Control centre immediately.
  • If heat cell content comes in contact with your skin or eyes, remove patch, rinse affected area with water, and seek professional assistance immediately.

*For product information including warnings, precautions, directions of use, refer to product packaging.

1. T hermacare South Africa, 2016.What is Thermacare. [Online]Available at:[Accessed April2019]
2. Thermacare South Africa, 2016.How Thermacare works. [Online]Available at: [Accessed April2019]
3. Thermacare South Africa, 2016. How heat therapy works. [Online]Available at: [Accessed April2019]
4. Thermacare South Africa, 2016. Thermacare:The Facts. [Online]Available at:[Accessed April2019]
5. Thermacare Neck & Shoulder Heat Patch product packaging
6. Thermacare Lower Back and Hip Heat Patch product packaging