Heating Pads for Kidney Stones: Types, Benefits, and Usage

Heating Pads For Kidney Stone Pain Relief: Exploring the benefits, and usage

Kidney stones are known to be one of the most painful experiences a person can have, even with being so small in size. Kidney stones are hard deposits within your kidneys that are made of minerals and salts. They typically form when your urine has more crystal-forming substances than the fluid can dilute. These crystal-forming substances are things like uric acid, oxalate, and calcium. You may be experiencing kidney stones if you have a sharp pain in your side and back below the ribs, pain or burning while peeing, or cloudy and foul-smelling urine. But why are kidney stones so painful?

Understanding Kidney Stones

Well, the part of your body that connects the kidneys to the bladder is the ureter. The ureter is small and inflexible, which means it cannot let a stone pass. The ureter ends up clamping down on the stone which is what causes the pain to be so severe. In severe cases, the stone is blocking the ureter, causing urine to get backed up into the kidney which is painful and life-threatening. So in the midst of receiving medical relief, the best kidney stone pain relief is a microwavable heating pad. This article will explore why heating pads are so great for kidney stone pain.

The Role of Heating Pads in Pain Management 

Heat is a great therapy for pain management. The way it works is that heat reduces pain by relaxing the muscles. Contractions are eased and blood vessels are opened up, allowing for proper blood flow to affected areas. Using a heating pad for kidney stones will help the ureter contract less and give you more relief in between seeing your primary care physician for treatment. 

Of course, heating pads aren't without their side effects, as using a heating pad for too long and too hot can cause burns. Proper use of a heating pad for pain relief will require discipline in keeping use at 10 to 20 minutes each hour. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's guidelines on how long to heat a microwavable heating pad.


heart heat pad

Choosing the Right Heating Pad 

So how do you know which is the right heating pad for pain relief? There are various types out there. See them below:

Electric heating pads: Features and benefits

Electric heating pads are simple to use as you only need to plug them in and adjust the settings to your liking. Some electric heating pads are also battery-operated, allowing for more freedom of movement.

Microwavable heating pads: Advantages and considerations 

Microwavable heating pads are unique in that they do not use any electricity themselves and can be easily heated up in the microwave at a moment's notice. You don't have to be tethered to an electrical outlet to use them and can use them wherever in your home (or on the go). They also tend to be more versatile in material type as well as design. Warmies heart heat pads are incredibly soft and can hold heat for up to two hours.

Disposable heating pads: Convenience and portability 

Disposable heating pads are great in that they provide convenient relief in the most remote of locations. There is no need for an electrical outlet, batteries, or appliances. They also fit in most purses, bags, and large pockets. This is ideal if you have chronic kidney stone pain that happens without warning.

Heat wraps and patches: Targeted relief and flexibility 

Heat wraps and patches are nice because they can adjust and adhere to specific areas of the body providing relief even when moving around during the day. If you're going through some kidney stone pain but still have to get errands done, you can stick these on and go about your day. These are also popular heating pads for period cramps.

Herbal heating pads: Aromatherapy benefits and natural ingredients 

Herbal heating pads provide the heat therapy you need in addition to the aromatherapy you didn't know you needed. These herbal therapies help relieve anxiety, stress, and other conditions exacerbated by the most extreme of pain. The inclusion of natural ingredients will help you feel at ease.

Water-based heating pads: Moist heat for enhanced comfort 

A warm compress, like a water-based heating pad, gives you the comfort of heat and that moist feeling that soothes. This offers an enhanced feeling of comfort that will soothe most aches and pains, including kidney stone pain.

Correct Application of Heating Pads for Kidney Stone Pain 

Use your heating pad whenever you are experiencing kidney stone pain. Be sure to use it in small increments to avoid burns and overuse. You'll want to place the pad on your back, just under your ribs in order to cover the kidney area. 

If your kidney stone pain is too much that the heating pad is no longer providing adequate relief, consult your primary care physician. 

Why Do Heating Pads Help With Pain Relief? 

Heating pads are effective at pain relief because of the science of circulation. Heat helps dilate the blood vessels which improves blood flow to an area. Increased blood flow means damaged tissue will be mended at a faster rate. Any pain associated with muscle soreness will also be helped by heat since heat helps with muscle relaxation. This is also why heat therapy is so great for conditions like menstruation, as the heat helps relax the muscles with the uterus that are contracting and causing menstrual cramps.

What precautions should you take when using a heating pad for pain relief? 

There are several precautions you should taken when using a heating pad, whether for pain relief or simple comfort:

  • Time Limits - In order to prevent your skin from getting burned and your condition from worsening, be sure to only use the pad for short increments of 10 to 20 minutes at a time each hour. Consult your primary care physician to learn more about how to best treat your conditions with heat therapy.
  • Temperature Control - If your pad is too hot, you risk burning your skin and even damaging the pad itself. Certain heating pads are made from natural materials that can catch fire if left in the microwave for too long, causing it to become unusable. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's heating instructions to prevent such issues from occurring. 
  • Health Conditions - Conditions like diabetes and circulatory issues can be exacerbated from using a heating pad. Consult your primary care physician should you have any of the aforementioned conditions.
  • Hygiene - While using the heating pad, you may consider covering the pad in a small clean cloth or pillowcase. This will help keep the pad clean from things such as debris and sweat. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's guidelines on how to properly clean your heating pad. 

Frequently Asked Questions for Using a Heating Pad for Kidney Stone Pain Relief:  

  • Where should I place the heating pad for kidney stone pain relief?
    • Place the heating pad over the area where you are experiencing kidney stone pain, typically the lower back or side. Be sure to cover the affected area entirely. 
  • How long should I use the heating pad each time? 
    • Start with 15-20 minutes of heat application initially, and gradually increase the duration if needed. Avoid using the heating pad for an extended period to prevent skin damage. 
  • How frequently can I use the heating pad for kidney stone pain? 
    • You can use the heating pad multiple times a day, but allow your skin to cool down completely between sessions. Avoid overusing it to prevent any adverse effects. 
  • Can I sleep with the heating pad on for kidney stone pain relief? 
    • No, it's not safe to sleep with the heating pad on, as it can increase the risk of burns or fire hazards. Always turn off the heating pad before sleeping. 
  • Are there any side effects of using a heating pad for kidney stone pain relief? 
    • When used properly, heating pads typically have minimal side effects. However, prolonged or improper use can cause skin irritation, burns, or worsen existing injuries. 
  • Can I use a heating pad if I'm pregnant and experiencing kidney stone pain?
    • Pregnant individuals should consult their healthcare provider before using a heating pad, especially on the abdomen or lower back, to avoid potential risks to the baby. 
  • Can children use a heating pad for kidney stone pain relief? 
    • It's essential to supervise children while using a heating pad to prevent accidents. Consult a pediatrician for guidance on appropriate use for children. 
  • Can a heating pad help in passing kidney stones? 
    • While heating pads can provide pain relief, they do not directly aid in passing kidney stones. It's crucial to stay hydrated and follow medical advice for kidney stone treatment. 
  • Is it okay to use a moist heating pad for kidney stone pain? 
    • It is generally not recommended to use moist heating pads for kidney stone pain relief, as they may pose an infection risk or damage the heating pad. 
  • Can I use a heating pad if I have diabetes or other chronic conditions? 
    • Individuals with diabetes, poor circulation, or other chronic health conditions should consult their healthcare provider before using a heating pad, as it may require special consideration. 


Heating pads are a great way to remedy kidney stone pain in between medical treatments. They are easy to use, easy to find, and even easier to love. The benefits they offer the average person are tenfold and will keep you cozy, pain-free, and comfortable. While heating pads are a great way to keep pain at bay, they are no replacement for quality medical treatment. So be sure to consult a physician for all of your kidney stone pain relief and care.