Q. I have a friend with severe spinal stenosis who regularly takes powerful pain meds. She was recently hospitalized and could not follow her pain control routine. When she came home, she was in excruciating pain.
When I heard she might have to go back to the ER, I stopped by and suggested a soak in very warm water to see if the pain spasms would stop. I also chipped a bar of soap, put the pieces in a sock and laid it against her lower spine. She had almost immediate relief from the pain and spasms. Anyone in pain should definitely try soap for relief.
A. You are not the first person to report that putting soap on a sore spot or a cramp could alleviate pain. After hearing from dozens of people that soap could ease muscle cramps, we found a report of an experiment conducted by an anesthesiologist. He found that soap-scented oil (SSO) on skin patches could relieve cramps (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, July, 2008). His further research led him to conclude, “It was found that the SSO skin patch consistently and adequately relieved muscular pain” (Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, Sept. 2008).
You will find an hypothesis about what might underlie this phenomenon in this essay. We’d love to see further research on this topic.
To avoid having to break chips from a bar of soap, readers may want to check out People’s Pharmacy Leg Soap, which is already presented in small pieces for convenience.