Ease your back pain with a DIY heating pad

One of the most popular pieces of advice physicians give patients for back pain is using hot and cold therapy to ease sore muscles. For those who don’t have ice packs to freeze or a heating pad in their closet, try a do-it-yourself version for a quick fix. There are many different ways to go about making a heating pad yourself, so pick your favorite and get on the road to a pain-free back or neck.

First, pick the type of heating pad material you want. Household items handy would include a sock, washcloth, towel, pillow case or old flannel shirt. If you want to get more creative with fabric, head to your local craft store and pick out your pattern. Small pieces of fabric are usually inexpensive or on clearance.

Next, pick your shape. The easiest and most standard shape is a square or rectangle. If using a towel or pillowcase, it would be easiest to just leave its original shape. Store-bought fabric can be cut into whatever shape you desire – hearts, stars and circles are great options.

Now it’s time to choose your filling. Popular options are dried beans, dry rice, barley and oatmeal. One of the best fillers is feed corn, which can be found at your local farm supply store. Whichever you choose, it must be microwavable. Another way to add fun to the project is by making your heating pad scented. Experiment with your favorite spices, essential oils and herbs. Try soothing scents such as lavender, peppermint, cinnamon or eucalyptus.

It’s time to start assembling your heating pad! You’ll need all of the items above, plus something to enclose the fabric. You could use thread, which is the best choice, or hot glue. If using a sock or something already closed on three sides, you can either tie it in a knot or secure it shut with a piece of string.


  1. Cut your fabric into two matching shapes. Sandwich pieces together, with the outside patterns facing each other.
  2. Start stitching. Sew three sides together, leaving the fourth side open so you can stuff it.
  3. Flip the fabric right side out.
  4. Fill with your scented or unscented rice, beans, or whichever filler you chose.
  5. Sew together the open side.
  6. Pop in the microwave!

The great thing about a DIY heating pad is it’s inexpensive and effective. Electric heating pads can be expensive. Also, the heat holds longer than a hot water bottle, and you can throw it in the freezer to make an icepack.

This multi-use pack is also a great DIY gift. Personalize it for the recipient with fabric for their favorite sports team or color. There are many uses for heating pads besides a back ache, so the gift could suit almost anyone.


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