You're stacking wood when a log suddenly twists, and the pile comes tumbling down on you, leaving your legs covered with cuts and bruises.
You walk into the kitchen, and see your toddler, who has climbed the counter to grab something in an upper cabinet, start to topple over. You lunge forward to grab her, and your body provides her with a soft landing spot as you crash over the kitchen chair and wind up on your face on the floor.
Accidents happen, and they hurt. Many posts have discussed pharmaceutical painkillers, but most people have limited access to them, and if a layperson tries to prep by storing controlled substances in quantity, difficulties with the law may result.
A client who owned a health food store introduced me to a legal, low-cost, readily-available painkiller that is incredibly effective for any type of flesh injury, as well as several other types of pain. Many readers already have it in their homes, since it is widely used for arthritis, but have no idea that they own something that can put morphine to shame. Not that you can get high on it, you can't, but it wipes out most pain with without making you sick, sleepy, or risking addiction.
Methyl-sulphonyl-methane (MSM), is a common ingredient in joint health supplements. It is non-addictive, and has very few side effects - mainly softer skin and thicker hair. It has the same toxicity as water. If you take too much at once, you will get the runs, but that's about it. A few people have mild negative reactions, usually an upset stomach, so take a small dose before using it extensively. (Since it is acidic, you could try taking it with milk, which is a chemical base, and see if this neutralizes stomach upset.)
MSM is a naturally occurring substance in the environment, produced by trillions of living organisms in the oceans in the form of a gas (don't ask). It drifts in the atmosphere, and comes down on the continents when it rains. After tens of millions of years of this, the stuff is everywhere - in the water, in the soil, and in you.
MSM works by stopping the inflammatory processes of wounds, bruises, surgical incisions, and other soft tissue damage before it is transmitted by the nerves in the form of pain. It does not directly affect the nervous system in any way. Therefore, you can drive, play football, do brain surgery, play chess, or whatever else you want to without being fuzzy-brained or sleepy.
According to the book "The Miracle of MSM", by Jacobs and Zucker, professional athletes were among the first users of MSM for pain caused by sports injuries. They had to get back on the field fast, and couldn't use opiates during a game.
Does MSM work for all types of pain? No. It works primarily for soft flesh (not bone) injuries, and joint pain. It also works for a wide variety of medical conditions which involve pain, such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, chronic back pain, chronic headaches, tendonitis, bursitis, carpal tunnel, TMJ, and allergies. (There are details on the book). If you hurt, try it. If it works, it works, if it doesn't, it doesn't. For mixed injuries, such as damage to both flesh and bone, it will help the part of the pain from the flesh wounds, which makes your life that much easier.
Dosage: there is no fixed dosage for MSM for pain. Dosage is individual, depending on you, and on the type of damage. People have taken up to 50,000 mg. a day for very severe conditions. From what I have seen and read, 5,000 to 15,000 mg. seems to be enough for most problems.
The dosage must be divided, and taken every hour or two, to avoid reaching bowel tolerance and heading for the bathroom. Definitely don't take it all at once. MSM can be mixed with sweet juice. I dump mine in a latte.
My first experience of dosaging involved dropping a solid oak settee on my thumbnail. After I stopped howling and hopping up and down, taking 1,500 mg. an hour for several hours worked. It took an hour or two for the pain to fade completely, and I continued to take several a day for the next few weeks. Even though I lost the thumbnail, the only way it would hurt was if I squeezed it, which I was foolishly curious enough to do. There was no other pain at all.
My second experience of dosaging involved major surgery, complete with a six-inch incision. I took as much MSM as I could tolerate every hour or so for ten days before surgery, with the intention of completely saturating my tissues with it. (Ten days was an arbitrary length of time, as I didn't know how long it should be taken for before surgery, and was taking no chances.)
After surgery, I was given an unlimited supply of morphine IV drip. When the nurse came in to remove it the next day, she looked shocked, and exclaimed "You only used one milliliter!" I also took one pain pill, mostly because I was afraid I was going to hurt (I have no pain tolerance). A friend sneaked some MSM into my room, and that was that. No pain; just a lot of abdominal discomfort from the usual bowel problems caused by anesthesia.
MSM also induces extremely rapid healing. The client who introduced me to it came in one day with a MSM lip balm. I thanked her, but added, "I have lots of chapsticks" (and need them). "No you don't," she said. "You only have this one. Try it." I did. The next morning my rough, chapped lips were smooth, and completely healed. She was right, I only had one chapstick - I threw the others out. (MSM chapstick is made by TriMedica).
My surgery was the same. Recovery time from this form of surgery typically lasts from one to three months before people can resume normal functioning. I was driving, and back to work in ten days. The only problem occurred because there was no pain, and I was occasionally careless about continuing the MSM. After a few days of this, twinges of pain firmly reminded me to get back with the program.
While MSM reduces pain, it does not remove the condition causing the pain directly. But in the case of soft tissue flesh damage, since it speeds up healing, it does help remove the cause of the pain.
Many people use MSM pre- and post-surgery to reduce pain and stimulate rapid healing. An electrician friend had to go in for shoulder surgery, and was told he would be out of work for six months. Not good. He took it after surgery, and was back at work in a month.
On the other hand, an attorney I know found it didn't work at all for his surgery. I asked him how many of the 1,000 mg. capsules he had taken. "One," he replied. Too low a dose of any medication will accomplish nothing.
I have found taking one an hour for a day or two to see if it helps works well. If you don't have any lessening of pain by that point, you probably won't. For me, MSM did nothing for a toothache, or for a dislocation. However, I am not a medical professional, and am only sharing the results of my own experience. This is not medical advice; and you should consult your doctor, and do your own research.
The Miracle of MSM by Jacobs and Zucker is a good starting point (lousy title, sensible book). Dr. Jacobs has many years of experience with MSM, and gives thorough discussions of the various conditions in which it does or does not work. His book is professionally written, and readable. Other books with similar titles appear to be low quality knockoffs, as far as I could tell.
Some Amazon reviewers commented that they preferred the hardcover edition, but did not say why. Since I lent my copy once too often, I'm replacing it with the hardcover version.
MSM is readily available in almost any drugstore or health food store. The NOW brand works, and is inexpensive. For a seriously inexpensive source, try PureBulk.com, where you can buy it by the pound. You may want to consider stockpiling several pounds of it if you think that you may need a supply that would last for months or years, or for multiple families.
The dose for arthritis is 1,000 to 1,500 mg per day.
Could MSM be used to prevent or reduce pain during surgery? I do not know. (I was under anesthesia). However, my experience suggests that it might, at least for soft tissue surgery, since there was no significant immediate post-surgical pain. Obviously, this would be a desperation choice, where no alternative was available. Comments from medical professionals with experience of MSM would be valuable for your readers.
If you are pregnant, and decide to take MSM, you may want to dissolve it in juice (it is acid and tart), and drink it very slowly over an hour or so. I found that extremely high pre-surgery doses made my body temporarily acid, and made my eyes sting for an hour or two when I over-did it. You don't want to pickle the baby by taking lots at once.
[JWR Adds: Readers are warned that they should approach "mega dosing" of any drug or dietary supplement with great caution. Even if a substance is deemed entirely "safe", (such as water soluble vitamins) there are variations in pill binders, dyes, and encapsulation materials that are only significant at high dosages. Toxicity can develop in some individuals! Keep in mind that individual physiology, digestion, hydration, and metabolism vary greatly. Excretion of toxins varies, depending on water intake, liver function, kidney function, perspiration, et cetera.]