Using Charcoal Poultices After Surgery
Chris, a previous employee and friend of Charcoal House emails us one day, with a testimony to share on our blog:
So… My Mom just had a major operation (hysterectomy). It was her first operation ever. We were all pretty nervous as she’s getting up there in age (70). Anyway, long story short, everything went well, but her only complaint on the way home was that her shoulders hurt more than anything else. I thought to myself, ‘What kind of operation was this? Did they just leave her in an uncomfortable position which led to this shoulder pain?’
Eight hours later, it is almost midnight and Mom’s shoulder is still in major discomfort. Keep in mind that she is still a little loopy from the anesthesia from earlier in the day and most likely the pain meds have worn off. She asked me to rub some Vic’s Vapor rub on her shoulders, which I did, and I included some castor oil as well, and that seemed to help a little. Then I got a bright idea: My cousin in Venezuela wanted me to send her a video of how to apply a poultice to the liver. I could knock out that video real quick and then see if the poultice would help my mother’s shoulder at the same time, and Mom said “let’s do it!”
Activated Charcoal Poultice Soothes Shoulder Pain
I threw together a quick charcoal poultice made with ground flax seed. It was probably more runny than necessary as I didn’t follow a recipe, but here is a video
to one I use all the time. Anyway, after applying it to one shoulder, literally, a few minutes later, not even five, Mom blurts out…. “This is helping.” Now I am a firm proponent of charcoal for many things, but I must admit I was skeptical (especially with pain relief in just a few minutes.) I retorted, “It’s probably just a placebo effect. Or maybe it was the warmth… who knows?”
Anyway, being that Mom is a retired medical doctor, she took a little time to analyze my statement before responding, “Well if this is a placebo, it is doing an excellent job.”
I burst out into laughter and went ahead and made one for her other shoulder. To be fair she still has slight discomfort, but claims the pain has subsided significantly. She did take a Tylenol as well.
Is Shoulder Pain Normal After A Hysterectomy?
Curiosity got the best of me and soon I was typing in ‘hysterectomy shoulder’ in Google. Apparently shoulder pain after a hysterectomy is quite common. According to the European Journal of Anesthesiology
, “Shoulder pain
after laparoscopic surgery has been thought to be due to the irritation of the phrenic nerve, which may be mainly caused by insufflated carbon dioxide.
I go on to learn that activated charcoal is used to adsorb carbon dioxide
from air with high carbon dioxide (CO2) content. If the pain was caused by CO2, it would make good sense that one of the things that the charcoal adsorbed in Mom’s shoulders, was C02. Okay, things were starting to add up, so obviously, this was not a placebo effect and Dr. Mom was right all along.
Note: Chris now lives in a lovely country home, with his young son. His mom joins him on the weekends, to escape the big city life of Florida.
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