Friday, February 20, 2015

The Magic Cure? Tales from Injury Row

What would you be willing to try to see progress or get relief?

 photo Bed-Soap-2_zps4a4ab99f.jpg

"Check this out," my friend wrote. "I've been trying it for about 24 hours now and I think it's helping. Sounds crazy, I know, but if it takes away the pain in my hip and piriformis, I'm in."

Attached was a link to an article on People's Pharmacy that told of the benefits, so to speak, of putting soap under the bed sheets. Bar soap has been used, it says, to treat sciatica, bursitis and leg and arm cramps. As the sciatic nerve goes straight through the piriformis, it only makes sense that the home remedy could be used for alleviating the pain of the tight muscle.

So my friend had taken a bar of soap and used a knife to make flakes. The flakes were put in a knee-high stocking, and she was able to put it under the sheets, on her chair cushion or in her waistband.

And yes, it did sound crazy but the idea was not 100 percent alien to me. We ran a medical column in the paper for years, and the author repeatedly suggested putting a bar of soap to cure, well, anything. His advice was so frequent that it was a running joke in the newsroom.

It's understandable then that I laughed when my friend shared her story. Her results, though? They made me pause. Could I be crazy, too?

The answer: Obviously.

Wednesday night, I took a travel-size bar of soap and wrapped it in a sweat towel that I had accidentally taken from the Y. As I have to sleep on my side, I wasn't sure how a bar of soap under the sheets would help the hip if it was in the air so I decided to try something new with placement. As in, I tucked it in my pajama pants. It stayed there through the night as I rolled from right to left and struggled to get comfortable, a near impossibility at this point.

I was curious but not necessarily hopeful when I woke up Thursday morning. I did the old lady roll out of bed and took a few steps toward the bathroom.

Oochy, ouchy, OH! The soap had not worked. Not. At. All.

"Nothing lost, nothing gained," I thought to my self as I proceeded to finish the jaunt to the toilet to eliminate my pregnant bladder. But in the, oh, 45 seconds that it took, I forgot about the soap in my pants. And it fell out. Into the toilet. So not only did the experiment not work, I was fishing a bar of soap out of toilet water before I had my coffee. It's not only disgusting but tricky, taking far longer than one would expect.

I then washed my hands 7 times and lathered them in rubbing alcohol. And then I had coffee. Lots of it.

The whole experiment made me wonder just what one would be willing to do to get better? Right now, I'd probably do salacious things to get a cortisone shot in my bum ... which is probably the least crazy thing I've found/considered to ease my pain.

Essential oils. I have taken to using these occasionally after reader Sara reached out to me and wrote a GUEST POST about its use. When I strained my hip in 2013, I used the Deep Blue blend from doTERRA to give myself an edge during healing and therapy. I've continued to use it when I've felt niggles and have tried it with my bum. But, it's a little hard to apply oil to the back side and get it in the right spot. Also, the piriformis is so deep that I'm not sure the oil gets to where it needs to go. I have been interested in trying the Deep Blue Rub, especially since my massage therapist used it last week.

Diet. My grandma had a big book of home remedies that she left on the TV stand and often referred to when things went awry. It's from that book where she got the idea to eat cherries when her gout flared up. Tart cherries have anti-inflammatory properties and after a few days of eating them by the bowl, her gout gimp would improve and within a week she was back to normal. There are some other foods, according to my resources {aka Google}, that improve inflammation. Since PS is agitation/muscle inflammation, I'm hoping a cherry smoothie a day will keep the therapist away. Or maybe I should start with cherry pie ...

Salt caves. I found this one thanks to Groupon and a deal about an hour away from me. The owner claims that visitors to the salt cave, filled with salt from the Himalayas in Pakistan, experience relief for chronic pain, respiratory conditions, skin conditions and more. The cost is $30 and from what I can tell, you sit in a room with a bunch of salt. Please note: I am not doing this. It seems even more ridiculous than the soap.

Tell me: Have you had success with a non-traditional therapy? What's the craziest thing you've tried?


  1. The best thing that ever happened to my piriformis (and partially ruptured hamstring) was the myofascial release guy from the Romanian gymnastics team who had me lay on a bed of pin-like nails before he started his therapy. It was horrific but it freaking worked.

  2. I have never heard of soap. Interesting!

  3. I have never heard of soap. Interesting!

  4. My mother in law puts soap in her linen closet between the sheets and towels...I've always wondered why? Maybe this is why? As for injuries I've been dealing with SUPER tight hip flexors that are pulling on my low back. I haven't been running and doing the grandma roll out of bed in the morning because my low back and SI joint feel all locked up. I think I may need to call the PT:/

  5. Tart cherry juice works! I make my husband drink a glass daily to prevent kidney stones. It's amazing. I would cut sugar to help with inflammation. Doing a sugar detox was the only thing that made my horrible lower back pain go away after injuring it doing yard work.

  6. I have never heard about the soap remedy. I don't think I'll tell my dad. He will start suggesting that along with his two other cures for whatever ails a person: a drink of water and gargling salt water.

    I'm glad you have had some relief from the Deep Blue. I've been having some success with White Fir and Marjoram underneath the Deep Blue for some muscle issues my husband is having, and then used it on a crazy sciatica thing that came out of the blue to my own body a couple weeks ago. If you want me to send you samples of those two to add to your regimen, along with some Deep Blue rub (if I didn't give you that, I should's divine), just holler.

    Your comment about the salt caves made me laugh outloud. Some friends here swear by them, and I've been tempted to try a groupon for it, but kept saying the same thing you did. Heck, if a cheery pie can do what salt and soap cannot do, I'm all over that. ;)

    1. If only I could gargle salt water for my bum! It would make life easier. (Stories like those always remind me of Windex from "Big Fat Greek Wedding"!)

      Do you put the White Fir and Marjoram on and then deep blue? Are you using carriers? I've put the Deep Blue in coconut oil to make my own rub but the massage guy had the actual rub, and it was divine.

    2. I usually count the rub as the carrier, so I put a couple drops of each oil on and then top with the rub. I did learn the hard way not to do that straight out of the bath though, but to wait until my pores aren't so wide open. Yes, that deep blue rub is totally divine. My husband says it works longer than the oil for him, so if I do use the oil (or any other oils), I just put them underneath the rub.

  7. Using soap for different cures has always been a running joke in pharmacies. When people ask you're supposed to tell them it has to be Irish Springs. When you start getting specific like that it sure helps the placebo effect work! But hey, even if it is placebo effect, if it helps then it's better than nothing.

  8. I'm so sorry to hear you are dealing with this. I will be thinking about you and hoping you get relief soon! xoxo

  9. I'm so sorry to hear you are dealing with this. I will be thinking about you and hoping you get relief soon! xoxo