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Home Forums First Aid My “hot” pack for frozen shoulder syndrome

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    This is what I’m calling the 2 things I put on my shoulder to help with pain.

    Capsaicin and DMSO

    I have what is referred to as “frozen shoulder syndrome”,  it’s basically a temporary problem that keeps me from lifting my left arm up much past my shoulder, it’s as if something physical is stopping my arm, that and the pain which at times has been all but unbearable, on a scale of 1-10, it sometimes hits a 12. The medical community has no answers as to why it happens, it typically happens to females more than males, in the 40+ age group, usually the non-dominant arm, it usually lasts anywhere from a year up to three years. Sleeping is a most painful experience and probably the worst of all the symptoms, there is no comfortable position, it hurts and aches all night long, waking me up fully each time I need to turn over.

    It almost always goes away on its own, you can take shots, pain pills and get physical therapy but these aren’t known to really help shorten the duration. In very severe cases there is a surgery you can have that goes in and cleans out the inflammation and any scar tissue, all of the latter things require going to the doctor, something I pretty much will not do because I have no insurance and earn very little money (not complaining, I chose to live this way).

    When I found out the name of what I have and the fact that my symptoms match exactly down the line, I was relieved that it wasn’t something more serious. I have turned the corner on this and it’s on its way to becoming healed, all I have to do is deal with the pain until this is completely gone. And as the pain diminishes, I slowly work on getting my strength and flexibility back, ie doing my own therapy.

    The two things I found that worked best for my pain and had no side effects is capsaicin and DMSO. I looked high and low to find a rub that contained capsaicin but no menthols or the other “cold” ingredients, I wanted the heat, I also wanted what capsaicin does. Here is the one I finally found: Capzasin Arthritis Pain Relief, 1 Fluid Ounces (Pack of 2), this one had the least other ingredients of anything I could find.

    Capsaicin is actually an irritant to humans, producing a burning sensation in any tissue it touches. Capsaicin works by depleting or interfering with substance P, a chemical involved in transmitting pain impulses to the brain. The properties of capsaicin make it an option for relieving pain associated with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetic neuropathy. Capsaicin is used to relieve muscle pain, joint pain, or nerve pain. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in peppers, the hotter the pepper the more capsaicin it contains. The effect is not immediate, but used properly, over a few days, it did help me.

    When I noticed it was helping were the 2 nights in a row that I didn’t use it, the first night was no big deal, BUT the second night I ached all night long. Now this doesn’t eliminate the pain, but it takes it down to a bearable level for me. I don’t go to bed now without putting it on my shoulder. When I apply it, for me it has a pleasant warming, tingling sensation, I have used it on other areas of my body that have more sensitive skin, my inner arm for example, and felt it burning, but it was never bad, not enough to make me want to remove it or stop using it.

    The second part to this is the DMSO, it is essentially a solvent derived from trees, it penetrates skin easily and can be a carrier of medicines IF the substance has a small enough molecule to pass through, ie germs are said to be too large so that isn’t a worry about carrying germs into your skin. Used alone, it is good for inflammation, arthritis, pain, there is a lot more this does, but I’ll leave you to look that up if you wish. For my purposes, I use it for pain relief.

    You can listen to an expert, Janet Perry, she has a Masters in Pharmacology and 35 years consulting with people and animals in natural healing.

    You can learn more about DMSO here:

    OK, so for my “hot pack”, I apply the capsaicin rub, allow it to dry which takes less than a minute, then I apply the DMSO over the capsaicin, the two together create a heat that lasts many hours, I like the sensation, some may not, I would suggest trying it on a small spot before using it on a larger area. You should be able to find DMSO at any good feed store, it us commonly used on livestock, and is not expensive at all. I purchased a 16 oz bottle and a 3 oz roll on bottle.

    This spring, when my big bottle of DMSO thaws out, it freezes at about 65 F, so in the sky castle which we don’t keep very warm, it doesn’t have a chance of being liquid, fortunately the roll on container being smaller has thawed with our somewhat warmer temps these last few weeks. This spring I’ll take the DMSO and add habenero peppers to make my own hot pack, I know it will be hot, I’ll start out with just a little pepper and add more if I think it needs it.

    This works for me, your mileage may vary. :)



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