Monday, 13 August 2012

Hocus pocus

I am forever being surprised by the different panaceas promulgated by people, people who, in my view, very often should know better.  Granted, some of these remedies are based on scientific fact and many are based on old-fashioned do-it-yourself medicine using the healing properties of plants.  But there are still many that are little more than old wives' tales or the snake oil remedies of the wild west.

The Old Bat's favourite remedy is what she calls "hot and cold".  First, a cold compress (a bag of frozen peas does the job very well) is applied to the afflicted part.  Then, just before frostbite sets in, it is replaced by a hot water bottle.  If ever I, or anyone else, complains of pain in a joint, the old duck will ask, "Have you tried hot and cold?"  I sometimes think that if I were to announce myself pregnant she would simply ask, "Have you tried hot and cold?" As you might imagine, during this latest longer-lasting-than-usual attack of arthritis of mine, she has nagged me to use her cure-all.  I have tried it several times and eventually plucked up the courage to tell her it was not doing me the slightest bit of good.

Her next suggestion rather surprised me.  I was to use an analgesic cream.  The pain-killing capsules with the same brand name are excellent so I was happy to fall in with this suggestion.  It did seem to work, but only very little so I have given that the elbow.

I have been swallowing a daily cod liver oil capsule for something like 25 years in the hope that this might oil the joints but I heard a different suggestion this week.  It was at a Lions dinner meeting and the OB and I were sitting at a table with the newest member of the club, a widow of a certain age.  A Yorkshire lass - but we don't hold that against her.  She was explaining how her late husband was a drummer (I'm sure she told me before that he was a trumpeter!) and his arthritis made life exceedingly difficult.  Until he (or she) heard on the radio of, well, not a cure but a way of easing the problem.  A certain Dr Dale Alexander proposed that cod liver oil capsules were useless and that what was needed was a cod liver oil milkshake.  Our new Lion was unable to recall the details so the next day I was nagged into searching the web.  I soon found his theory.  This involves placing two ounces of whole milk into a screw-top container, adding a tablespoon of cod liver oil and shaking to mix the two.  This should preferably be taken an hour before breakfast.

(I also found that "Dr" Alexander graduated from high school in 313th place of a class of 350+, he lasted less than one semester at college and claimed he was a DPhil from a London college he never attended.)

Nothing for it, but we had to source the ingredients during our next supermarket foray and I have started drinking this cocktail (and I can't taste the CLO) last thing at night.  I now find that a tablespoon of the oil is equivalent to 15 ml - and the recommended daily dose is just 5 ml!  So, if anybody phones they might not get an answer as I expect to be spending rather longer than usual in a small room where we have no phone.

What does seem to work for me is a heat rub, a type of embrocation much used by amateur sportsmen and women.  A little applied to the painful joint brings a soothing warmth and an easing of the pain.  Another help is, believe it or not, exercise.  If I have a painful hip, kneee, ankle or whatever (anywhere below the waist really) I often find that a gentle walk for 15 minutes will see the pain disappear.


So, Skip and his entourage are currently  in Boston to celebrate his birthday with his twin cousin. 

Skip, this is the nearest I could find to a duck!


(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip said...


Suldog said...

Are the rubs you're discussing here made with capsaicin? There has been a great deal of evidence to support that creams containing capsaicin lessen pain. The main thing to remember, though, is that they do not do so immediately. Apparently, it is a cumulative effect, taking at least a week or two to really take hold. The capsaicin (active ingredient in chili peppers) deadens the nerves a bit, thus the pain is diminished.

From the Wikipedia article on capsaicin...

"The result appears to be that the chemical mimics a burning sensation, the nerves are overwhelmed by the influx, and are unable to report pain for an extended period of time. With chronic exposure to capsaicin, neurons are depleted of neurotransmitters, leading to reduction in sensation of pain and blockade of neurogenic inflammation. If capsaicin is removed, the neurons recover."

Hope this helps. If not, best of luck with something else! :-)

Brighton Pensioner said...

Snork? SNORK?

I've heard of hunting the snark...

Brighton Pensioner said...

Suldog: No, I've not come across that one. The one I favour is Deep Heat Heat Rub which contains:
• propylene glycol
• wool fat (lanolin) and cetostearylalcohol