Friday, January 25, 2013

When we're sick #2....Pain relief

Please refer to my other post for the FDA disclaimer before reading on if you haven't yet....

I tend to get migraines about monthly for the last few years.  My mom described hers to me and I am glad that I could refer to that when I got my first one with an aura about 15 years ago.  When I get an aura, I thankfully don't get the pain with it, but I get it at a different time in the month.  I just can't see right for a couple hours until they fade. But when the pain comes, it takes over my whole head, starting as a kink-like tightness at the base of my skull, traveling to the sides of my head, into my ears/jaws, and then down both jugulars.  Worse, if it is during the night, it travels to whatever side my head is resting on, making sleep impossible. It is unbearable, and for this I sometimes do resort to aspirin, naproxen sodium, or ibuprofen out of desperation.  These work sometimes, but mostly I have to do various things to get relief.  I first make ginger tea (cup of hot water, 1/4-1/2 t ground ginger, honey to taste) and it usually makes a dent in the pain, if not removing entirely it for a while. I also made a rice sock out of a new tube sock with the stripes and everything. At least this makes me laugh when I pull it out. I filled it with a couple pounds of white rice out of my cupboard and tied a knot at the end.  You might want to put some essential oil on the sock and worked it in because hot rice smells like, well, hot rice.  I microwave this for 3 minutes and use it wherever the pain has traveled.  If these is not entirely effective, I also massage a menthol muscle salve into my scalp.  Yes, it is a bit messy on the hair, but my image and smelling like sushi cough drop is the last thing on my mind. Besides, the almost instant cold tingling is such a break from the pain. On that note, the menthol gel works great anywhere there is pain from headaches to muscle/bone aches and is a natural alternative to messing with your gut.  However, not all are the same, so read the ingredients. I have read about using cinnamon, mustard, or cayenne for the same effect, but do some research as they can be irritating to the skin. As with anything, do not put anything near your eyes, or on the skin surrounding your eyes.  The skin there is the thinnest on your body and absorbs right into your eye; protect your vision for as long as possible! 

Another use of the rice sock is, of course, when we strain a muscle, or just have a hard time getting into a cold bed :)  It can also be placed on an ear for earaches as the moist heat is very soothing. The rice sock has it over a heating pad because it does not produce electromagnetic fields and it is not a fire hazard, unless you warm it too long.  I might need to start a blog on how many times I've been my own fire hazard...but I digress. For more about the dangers of heating pads, see this.... 

I also seem to have issues with an ovarian cyst rupturing abnormally every few months.  It hits me without warning a few minutes or hours after starting my day and sends me to bed in pain that reminds me what early labor was like.  Not cool, as I am a textbook example about how you 'forget all about the pain.' My rice sock and ginger tea come to the rescue again as I lay as motionless as possible for a few hours.

My last pain reliever is for splinter removal or addressing an infection around a nail, etc.  We use the cheapest throat spray analgesic or baby teething formula on the area, leave it for a minute, and then go at it.  Works terrific!

***UPDATE: Cold sores: Make lemon balm tincture ahead of time and use on spot the minute the tingling starts.  Also, rubbing an ice cube on the tingling spot can quelled an outbreak.  Lastly, if it ruptures or threatens to, grind an aspirin with a drop or two of hydrogen peroxide to make a paste and dab this with a clean cotton swab a few times; let it air dry preferably when you do not have to go out.  This made a very angry, weepy one go away overnight with minimal residual redness. Note: this stings a little bit, according to my 11 year old, but is not painful. 

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