I woke up earlier this week with a stiff neck that just seems to get achier. Today, the pain radiated to my shoulder and down my arm. It seems like I may have pinched a nerve.
The pain and stiffness really needs some warm relief. My husband, Don, suggested that I design a microwavable compress to ease the pain.
I did some internet research and found that it is quite simple to fashion a compress filled with uncooked rice, beans, oatmeal, barley or flaxseed. The filler is placed into a cotton (non-synthetic) sack and tied, velcroed or sewn closed.
I looked around the house and found that I had plenty of raw beans, a brand new oven mitt and a variety of cotton socks.
With just a few moments of prep time, I was sitting at my desk writing this blog post with a warm compress soothing my neck and shoulder.
Cotton sock or oven mitt
Beans, uncooked rice or barley
Naturally dried herbs, essential oils, contents of an aromatic tea bags or spices for fragrance (optional)
Fill a sock or oven mitt at least halfway with beans, rice or barley. I found that it was easiest to use a stack of coffee filters to move the beans into my compress.
For a pleasant aroma, you can add a bit of dried herbs, fragrant powder or oils to your compress.
Seal the compress by tying a knot, placing a resealable velcro strip or sewing the ends shut. For a firm compress, seal it with very little empty space. For a looser compress, leave empty space before closing your compress. A looser compress will allow for draping it around your neck and moving the beans to conform to your painful area.
Heat compress in microwave for about one minute, keeping an eye on the microwave during heating just in case the filler or compress starts to smoke.
Before applying compress, check that it is not too hot. If it feels too hot, shake it and wait until it is just the right temperature for your aches and pains.
Be careful! Check that the compress is not too hot before applying it. It is hard to tell how hot the microwaved compress will get, so please check before applying to your skin.
For extra safety against burns, place a layer of cloth (like a towel or t-shirt) between your skin and the compress.
Do not use heat therapy for acute injuries or if you are pregnant or have diabetes, poor circulation, high blood pressure or heart disease. If you are not sure, consult with a doctor before using a warm compress to ease muscle or joint pain.