Ice Your Muscle Pain Away

Bette Dowdell

Muscle problems tend to accompany endocrine issues, especially adrenal glands that can’t or won’t keep up.

Of course, they also tend to accompany life as a jock or a do-it-yourselfer. But with endocrine people, muscles act up without a cause. As the song says, that’s life.

Our muscles get inflamed and “knotted up,” worse on some days than others.

Accupressure massage helps, but few physical therapists do it right. Several therapists have had at my back. Some seemed to be tickling me; some bruised my muscles, leaving me sore for days. Only one, Glenn Kippes, the therapist who treated me when I lived in Tucson, made a real difference. He’s a massage magician. But what to do without Glenn?

Doctors usually advise hot baths–the exact wrong thing to do. Heat just inflames muscles all the more.

I know, I know. Heat feels really good. Problem is, all the while it’s feeling good, it’s making things worse.

Answer me this: A half hour or so after you get out of a hot bath or the Jacuzzi, are your muscles better or worse? And how much progress have you made with your muscle pain since you started treating yourself with heat?

A lot of people, especially men and senior citizens for some reason, won’t even consider giving up hot soaks, fully persuaded that some day they’ll work, and all the pain will disappear. It reminds me of when my kid brother was very young and liked to watch the same movie over and over–in case the ending changed.

The answer? Ice. Sheesh! Even in the Phoenix summer, lying on ice packs doesn’t make me burst into song. It’s more in the a-girl’s-gotta-do-what-a-girl’s-gotta-do category than the oh-yippee-it’s-time-for-my-ice category.

Several years ago, a man veered out of his lane and hit my car–right next to where I sat–at about 50 mph. Seat belt or no, my body parts flew in all directions, most of which God never intended. Besides a concussion and whiplash, I hurt in places I didn’t know I had places.

Doctors poked, prodded and x-rayed, then pronounced me fit as a fiddle. Good as new. And every muscle in my body said, “You’re kidding, right?” Well, no, they weren’t.

But I could hardly move. And wincing from the pain was giving me crow’s feet, which wasn’t a look to which I aspired.

So Glenn went to work. He told me I would get better, faster results if I went to bed each night on ice packs. He gave me three 10″ X 13″ packs so I could start right away.

So every night for months, I lined up my three ice packs–which went from my neck to my tukus–covered them with a towel, and eased into bed. Ever so slowly, my muscles healed.

I keep my ice packs in the freezer, ready for duty, to this day. If I’ve overdone it, or twisted something–somehow done something to make my muscles unhappy–out come the ice packs.

If my arms hurt, I ice the area where my neck meets my spine. If my legs hurt, I ice my lower back. If the pain s general, I line up the three amigos and park myself on them.

Life goes better with ice packs.

A closing word: Muscles that scream at top volume can’t always take the full power and glory of ice packs at first. Cover the packs with two or three towels to tone down the effect. You’ll build tolerance for full power over time–as you heal.

Resource: Ice packs are wonderful at home, but traveling, not so much. I found an old-fashioned ice bag for you. Fill it with ice cubes, screw on the lid and let it take on your hurt. Just dump the ice when you’re ready to move on. Get your
Ice Bag here.

About the author: Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be one. She’s a patient who’s been studying the endocrine system and successfully handling her own endocrine problems for more than 30 years. Now she wants to share her years of knowledge with you. Bette offers a free e-zine on endocrine health topics, more-in-depth teleseminars and an as-deep-as-it-gets 12-month subscription program, “Moving to Health.” She explains how the endocrine system works-or doesn’t, discusses what things in the environment-food, cosmetics, water, etc.-damage the endocrine system, suggests vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs and super foods that help, and answers questions. Get a free subscription to Bette’s e-zine at

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