One of the spin-off problems with cerebral palsy is intermittent joint pain. I feel as if I’ve tried ten million solutions, from gel packs to painkillers to sleeping in certain positions to avoiding movement to increasing movement, and none of them have provided more than temporary relief. Gel packs were particularly bad, as they lose their heat very quickly, so any heat relief is fleeting.
I’m not entirely sure why it took me 18 years and so much discomfort to actually go and check out electric heating pads. In my head, they seemed to be gel packs, but improved: adjustable levels of localized heat that stayed constant, since it was connected to an electric socket. To clarify: this wasn’t a heating pad that you slept on — I was thinking more along the lines of blankets rather than sheets.
I wasn’t sure where to turn when it came to heating pads — what retailers sell them? Based on Amazon recommendations and the fact that if it didn’t work out, it wasn’t overly expensive, I went with the Sunbeam 732-500 King Size Heating Pad. It’s worth noting that the socket is an American one, so you might need to get an adaptor.
I’m happy to report that it’s rather excellent. The exterior is polyester, fairly comfortable against fabric or bare skin. There are three heating settings, which I can match to my level of discomfort. It allows me to sit at a desk and comfortably work for several hours — previously, my joints would have pained me too much to stay in one position for that length of time. This has been especially useful considering I’m studying for my Leaving Cert. this year, and I spend a lot of time sitting and studying.
If you’ve got joint pain, I highly recommend you check heating pads out. There may be better models out there, but I’m exceedingly happy with mine.