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Reducing Inflammation of Brain and Spinal Cord With Ice Packs ?

Wayne

Senior Member
Messages
4,267
Location
Ashland, Oregon
Wikipedia Definition: --- Encephalomyelitis is a general term for inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, describing a number of disorders....:

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I recently began using ice packs regularly for lower back pain, and feel I've made somewhat of a discovery. --- Every time I use an ice pack, it seems to settle my whole neurological system down. It then occurred to me that this could very well be the result of the chronic inflammation in my brain and spinal cord being tamped down. The more I've experienced it over the past couple weeks, the more I feel this is most likely the case. Thought I'd share this in case anybody else might want to try it. I was also wondering if anybody else has already tried it, and whether you've gotten similar results.

Best, Wayne
 
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Seven7

Seven
Messages
3,444
Location
USA
I have noticed the same, I actually use ice when I get too bad, I just atributed to the vasocontriction properties (I think ice does) never thgouht of questioning why it works but it does get me out of bad spot. I use the ice in my neck sometimes I cover w towel and put on mid brain.
 

anne_likes_red

Senior Member
Messages
1,103
Hi Wayne,
I've used ice packs at the base of base of my skull and found this helpful. I noticed it sharpened my eyesight and calmed down a feeling of inflammation in the head.
I've also done alternating of hot and cold packs at the base of the skull to help encourage lymph flow from the head - a Perrin technique exercise someone on PR shared with me a couple of years back. :)
 

Sparrowhawk

Senior Member
Messages
514
Location
West Coast USA
Could this be another reason why the ice baths seem to be helping folks who have been reporting good results with that approach? I had been thinking, sure, there's a toning of the vasoconstrictive (surface to 1/2 inch deep) with cold treatments, but not really deep into the body (brainstem, spinal cord). Now I'm not so sure.
 

rosie26

Senior Member
Messages
2,446
Location
NZ
Hi Wayne

Cold seems to work. I use cold for my inflammation headaches on the forehead and also at the back of the neck. It always eases my headaches and eases the nausea that also comes with the headaches.

I have yet to try the cold baths, but can see how it would help, would be worth trying, just have to prepare myself mentally for the cold dip first ! I thought I might start real slow - like just standing in the cold water, then next day kneel :D hope I can bear it.
 

aquariusgirl

Senior Member
Messages
1,732
Anne ..the hot packs.... Do you have something more hi tech than a hot washcloth? Would a heating pad work?
 

anne_likes_red

Senior Member
Messages
1,103
Hi aq,

Would the heating pad be able to be shaped close to the base of your skull and put enough heat in there so you feel really quite warm? If so then I think it would be fine!

We have an old relic of a microwave oven which I don't use - except for the purpose of heating a wheatbag
Do you know the kind of thing I mean?. I put a cup of water in with it too, so as not to dry out the wheat too much.

I just got my husband to heat and re-heat the wheatbag a few times, and bring me gel ice packs in between times.
I think a hot water bottle might work too, though it may be a bit harder to shape comfortably to the contour of your head.
I used to use this technique when I had swollen glands around the neck, and what I understood at the time to be increased viral symptoms and inflammation. This always happened coming into Winter and symptoms would last weeks, but doing this for a couple of nights before bed was really very effective in minimising them.
I haven't had those symptoms for a good while now so I can't remember the suggested times or the exact sequence of hot/cold/hot/cold... If I find the instructions I'll add them here in case the turn out to be useful for anyone else.

ETA - The instructions I had were for starting with cold (brrr) for 10 mins, then hot, then cold, then finishing with hot - which is nice and relaxing.
HTH someone! :)

heapsreal cool IV saline - something you could do at home? Cooling (not ice cold) before sleep can be helpful I think. Someone on another forum (might have been Adster) mentioned a cooling helmet a while back. Things like that are used at home to treat migraines and cluster headaches.
 

perchance dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
1,685
I'm considering trying a cryotherapy session for pain. I get a lot of pain reduction from cold packs, and this would be like cold packs on steroids.

In a cryotherapy session, you stand in a cold chamber up to your chin for 2-3 minutes. The temp is -150 to -170 C, or -238 to -274 F. It's really hard to believe it wouldn't just kill you.

I'm going to speak to some of my health care practitioners before scheduling a session, but it's interesting. I think mostly athletes use it, but I have read of it benefiting people with fibro and osteoarthritis. Here's a link:

http://www.austincryo.com/cryotherapy

I'll have to learn more about contraindications first.
 

Wayne

Senior Member
Messages
4,267
Location
Ashland, Oregon
In a cryotherapy session, you stand in a cold chamber up to your chin for 2-3 minutes. The temp is -150 to -170 C, or -238 to -274 F. It's really hard to believe it wouldn't just kill you.

Thanks everybody for your replies on this thread.

Perchance Dreamer, I've not heard of cryotherapy sessions, but I have heard of alternating hot and cold showers being very healthy and stimulating, which I think was initially described in book "The Water Cure" about a century ago. I read one account of a man who had been sickly for years, read the book, plunged himself into an ice-cold stream, and recovered.

I've tried hot and cold showers myself, but instead of finding them to be stimulating and invigorating, I found them to be enervating instead. Just way too much for my system. A friend [over 80 years old] told me recently how she's discovered hot and cold showers, and how she absolutely loves them. I suspect this kind of therapy is generally good for at least moderately healthy people. For pwCFS, I would guess it's a case by case basis.

Good luck if you decide to try this. Would love to hear what your experience is like.

Best, Wayne
 

adreno

PR activist
Messages
4,841
You can expect the cold to activate the sympathetic nervous system, and release norepinephrine. This might already be overactive in many PWMEs.
 

xchocoholic

Senior Member
Messages
2,947
Location
Florida
Thanks @Wayne for providing this info. I've found that using 2 ice packs, 1 at the top of my spine and 1 at the base works even better for me. They need to be cold enough to numb the area too. Too bad it doesn't last.

Fwiw, showers don't help me because I have OI and being upright puts too much strain on my body.

Tx again tho. This technique has been very helpful. X

Eta. Large bags of frozen corn kernels work best for me. I just seal it in large ziploc or plastic bag.
 
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maryb

iherb code TAK122
Messages
3,602
Location
UK
Yes I also use frozen cold packs at night when I go t bed. One pack on top of my head, I move it around before I take my sleeping pill, the other I place in a flannel and put at the top of my spine which is permanently inflamed. It definitely helps me to sleep. I have to remember to take the spine one off, the area does go numb after a while, but the other one I usually fall aslepp and wake up with it stuck to the side of my face:)
I found some brilliant sports injury packs recently which solved the problem of ice packs away from home, you activate them by banging the middle, an absolute godsend when I was away for a few weeks.
 
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NilaJones

Senior Member
Messages
647
I ice a lot for pain, and don't notice it affecting my fatigue/malaise.

However, massage sure does! I've never been sure if that was just due to being still for an extended period of time, or also because of the improved circulation, or if muscle tension makes me tired.

If it's partly the increased circulation, that would be similar to hot/cold.
 

Little Bluestem

All Good Things Must Come to an End
Messages
4,930
In a cryotherapy session, you stand in a cold chamber up to your chin for 2-3 minutes. The temp is -150 to -170 C, or -238 to -274 F. It's really hard to believe it wouldn't just kill you.

I'm going to speak to some of my health care practitioners before scheduling a session, but it's interesting. I think mostly athletes use it, but I have read of it benefiting people with fibro and osteoarthritis. Here's a link:
http://www.austincryo.com/cryotherapy
@perchance dreamer, did you try this? If so, how did it go?
 

perchance dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
1,685
@Little Bluestem, I did try cryotherapy sessions. The studio had an introductory package of 5, and I think I did several beyond that.

I really liked being in the chamber. I found the intense cold invigorating, and not hard to stand because you turn very slowly, and the owner stays in the room with you and chats. It's just for 2 1/2 or 3 minutes.

Afterward, I felt really energetic, rare for me ordinarily. However, it was terrible for my sleep, even the early morning sessions. I think it overstimulated my sympathetic nervous system.

That is really uncommon. Some people's sleep improves with cryo although the owners said they discourage anyone from doing them in the evening.

I'd like to try it again sometime. It did help pain. I've had some really good improvements lately and am now able to take supplements that used to give me terrible insomnia. Maybe I'd tolerate it fine if I tried it again.