No, my little corner of the blogsphere isn’t known for life hacks or DIY home projects, but after so many recent questions from people much like me asking why I carry around a funky coloured sock… I figured some explanations were in order.
Actually. It would be more accurate to say I was inspired by how many people I have run into (at doctors offices, physiotherapy, or even online) had no idea that you could make your own microwaveable heating pad. Even better, that you could do it without a sewing machine (or needle and thread of any kind) and probably using the change crammed in your sofa.
If cheap and easy aren’t already two good enough reasons to give it a shot I’ll give you a third reason. Really this is the initial reason I needed to make one of these things in the first place. They contort, wrap and twist. When you need soothing relief AROUND a joint something flat, bulky and stiff just isn’t going to cut it. Not to mention they’re also portable, washable (more on that later), adjustable and child safe.
I’ve been carrying one of these bad boys around with me almost everywhere I go lately because my SI pain has been so severe. Even in the hospital, it retained heat way better/longer than any heated blanked (and nurses have better things to do than grab me one of those every 5 minutes I tell ya). It’s convenient to heat and grab before a car trip because I can wrap it around my side so sitting isn’t as uncomfortable and because it’s not electronic it’s perfectly safe to bring to bed and fall asleep with for soothing comfort (ugh years of having to get up to unplug the heating pad when dealing with teen menstrual cramps…).
All you’ll need is is 1 pair of NEW socks, preferably knee high ones (jr. or teen sizing will make for a thinner ‘snake’ shaped pack, regular flexible socks will make for a much wider surface area) and rice (dry packaged rice of any kind but a smaller grain is best for overall feel).
The hardest part here is efficiently getting the rice…into one of the socks. There you have it…the secret. If you’re like me and you suffer from finger and hand pain/stiffness it can lead to a possibly messy situation. The use of a strainer and/or help from a friendly counterpart would be useful. Or you could just be like me and be stubborn about it.
*Cue inspirational music about not needing a man to do my handy-work for me*
TA-DA! Now that the nerve wracking and possibly messy part is over, it’s time to just tie up loose ends…quite literally.
The closer you tie your knot to the rice the more compact your hot pack will be keeping it stiff, the higher you place it to the edge and away from the rice the more flexible it will move. The amount of rice you use and where you tie your knot can give you a lot of control over the size and uses for your hot pack. A small jr size sock tied tight might not be great for your lower back, but would work wonderful to aid hand numbness with PN or Raynaud’s. A large mens sock tied loose may not work great for portability and discretion at work but might be great for dual shoulder pain at bed time.
Now what about the other sock? I guess you could single layer it and make yourself a second hot pack, but my go-to is to create use it as a washable cover. It can be removed and thrown in the laundry any time it gets dirty (lets face it microwaves usually don’t get cleaned as often as they should, and spills happen everywhere!).
I usually make 2 or 3 at a time just in case I leave one in the car or somewhere else I can’t grab it when I need (or when Mr. Mango or one of the kids decide to use one). Every so often the rice should be replaced, if the sock is still in decent condition there’s no reason for it to go to waste, but after enough uses they usually feel pretty shabby too (I usually replace mine every 6 months or so of REGULAR use). The important thing is to keep it as clean and dry as possible (that’s why we second socked as a cover).
There you have it. I’m not sure if it would be of any use to anyone else, but I know for sure it’s one of my most used ways of relieving minor pain and attempting to ease the more major ones.