Prescription for Disaster

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

PSA: Great for chronic pain - but for the love of God not on your neck!

Great for Chronic Pain, but for the love of God not on your neck!

Living in Britain as a Canadian that formerly lived in China (try to keep up now), I'm a big fan of Chinese medicine. With my 'super-lucky-rare-disease' I'm also a pretty big fan of Western medicine, which I fully credit for generally keeping me alive at the moment. 

But that doesn't mean I'm always comfortable.

I've got refractory multi-systemic and neuro sarcoiodosis with Heerfordt's syndrome. This includes the quite lovely effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). With this comes the occasional bout of rather excruciating bone, muscle and joint pain - which can be barrels of fun, of course. I'll often pop some more painkillers but sometimes I want something different. Something to take care of the pain locally without having to stone myself out. 

I have the usual arsenal of a person with chronic illness: A hot water bottle, heating pad, heated blanket, magic bag, ice packs, cool bags and some sort of electro-magnetic device that is supposed to help somehow.

And then there is Chinese medicine, my good old standby.

Although hot cupping is a hoot and a half, my steroids and blood-thinners would probably result in a scene from CSI, so that's out. Acupuncture isn't something that I can (erm... should) just do at home on my couch - as a cactus is apparently "not an acceptable replacement for proper needles and training, even if you 'fall on it correctly'. "

So I've been turned on to White Flower Oil (similar to Red Flower Oil, but stronger and cheaper)

Alright, now THAT is some strong smelling stuff! Like liquid Tiger Balm, you dab (note: DAB for God's sake!) some right where it is hurting over a joint and then you just chillax and let it work its magic. And it does. It goes through a soothing period of warmth, then a refreshing, deep cooling sensation - and then my joint pain is pretty much tamed. It is quite wonderful.

But I'm an idiot, so I couldn't just leave it at that.

Having bought some cheap, crappy Ikea pillows, my neck had been in quite a bit of pain for a couple of days. A recent flare up after bike riding on the weekend (I know, I know) had caused it to radiate down into my shoulder and arm - so I did the best thing I could think of and lathered my arm, elbow, shoulder and the back of my neck (my brainstem) in white flower oil, grabbed my shihtsu and went up to bed. 


My arm, elbow and shoulder felt fine. Just a bit warm and tingly. Quite pleasant. But not my neck. The back of my neck felt warm. Unusually warm. Kind of alarmingly warm. Hang on... this isn't supposed to be getting this hot

I darted to the bathroom with thoughts of frying my brainstem running through my head - splashing cold water on the back of my neck in an awkward spinal twist. Here's the thing with white flower oil though - YOU CAN'T WASH IT OFF!

That shit STAYS ON and then you end up SPREADING IT. And it buuuuuurrrrrrnnnnssss!

Okay. Okay. At the very least I can cover it with cold wet towels to cool it down - the skin on the back of my neck was bright red and tingling like I'd snorted pop-rocks. I looked around for a facecloth, a towel - anything. Laundry day - there was nothing. I dashed around my bathroom looking for something to wet like a squirrel, twitching with the tingles from my brainstem with the paranoia of triggering another stroke. I had a sudden stroke of genius and was back in bed three minutes later, resting comfortably with soaking wet tube socks wrapped around my neck.

My arm felt wonderful, however.

At around 3am I woke up again, freezing. Absolutely shuddering with the cold - yet the only thing cold was the back of my neck. 

I was shivering violently and my husband was nowhere to be found, because there was a game on that night.

I was seriously freezing - what was WRONG with this stuff? (my arm didn't hurt though) Back to the bathroom to douse the back of my neck in another spinal twist position with warm water, and layering on warm, wet socks. It didn't work, the socks cooled too quickly to be effective, then just made me colder. I needed something warm, really warm. Consistently warm. 

Sorry Huar Huar, you're going to have to do! I wrangled my poor, 14 year old grumpy shihtsu up to the top of the bed and wrapped him around the back of my neck like some sort of growling travel pillow, relaxing us both into the soft pillows and pulling the blankets up to my chin.

Sure I felt a  little bit bad, but 'technically' it was cuddles, and he loves cuddles. But the best part? 

He vibrates. Alllllll  night long.

So in the end, I completely, wholeheartedly recommend that if you have chronic joint, bone or muscle pain that you try Chinese White Flower Oil - you can get it from pretty much any Chinese medical shop, it's cheap and effective. Also, maybe pick up a cheap shihtsu while you're at the Chinese shop too.

But for the love of God and all that is holy in this world, do NOT put it on the back of your neck!

No comments:

Post a Comment