Did I tell you my neck is killing me? After several months of this, a consult with my M.D. got me some time with a physical therapist and she recommended using heat and cold to stimulate circulation to the painful area. I remembered seeing something about handmade microwave and freezer therapy bags, made out of muslin, filled with beans, corn or rice.
With a little internet investigation, I found a nice tutorial at Sew Mama Sew and made myself my own little therapy bag and case. In fact, I made two. One for the microwave and one I put in a gallon ziplock bag and stored in the freezer.
Mine are filled with pinto beans, because that's what I had on hand. I like the weight of the beans and they hold the heat for about 30 minutes after only 2 minutes in the microwave. I think the little pillowcase is an excellent idea for these, since it acts as insulation between hot spots that may be in the beans (or other filler), after microwave heating and your tender skin. I wouldn't use mine without it. I made my bags 7" x 11" and filled them with about 3 cups of beans.
This is a perfect first selfish project for myself. I'm using heat and cold therapy, along with anti-inflammatories, stretches and strengthening exercises 3 times daily to heal my sore neck and shoulder. Consistency is the key. I'll let you know how it goes...