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I suffer from a certain amount of joint pain - mainly in my back and if I took painkillers every day then that would not be good for my health. For this reason we decided I would invest in some Robinson Care Heat Pads which I buy individually from Boots the Chemist. They are a wonder worker!
The patches themselves are in a clear plastic container which you just remove and apply the pad to your skin, making really sure it is properly dry beforehand otherwise you will find the patch will not stick properly and it will just peel back off again - I made this expensive mistake once.
They are approximatly 4 inches by 5 inches (rough guide as I have not taken a tape measure to them) and they stick great to dry skin with no creases or bumps. There are no chemicals in them and all they do is release heat to the affected area. You cannot feel it immediately, but I find if I wait about five or six minutes I can very gradualyl feel it start to work until the heat builds up and the pain generally subsides to something I am able to bear better.
They can be used for up to eight hours in one day so although they seem expensive initially, they are reasonably long lasting and so much better I think than keeping poppping a painkiller every four hours or so.
I use these on my back and my neck and I have also used them on my calf muscles if I have had a game of football with the little lad and have hurt a muscle. Used in conjunction with a painkiller at the same time is bliss because you will find the pain has completely gone.