Ethyl Chloride Spray Pattern for the Head and Neck

Ethyl chloride is a prescription medication that we use as a topical skin refrigerant to reduce head and neck muscle pain. It is a liquid but once it hits the skin, it evaporates. What is wonderful about the medication is that it can greatly reduce head and neck muscle pain for several hours even though it is applied topically.

Ethyl chloride comes in a bottle and a can. We greatly prefer the bottle in the medium jet spray since it is colder than the can. Here are the directions:

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  • Hold the bottle 12-18 inches away from the skin.
  • Hold the bottle upside down on an angle so that the liquid flows toward the stopper like the image on the left. The less liquid in the bottle, the more the bottle will need to be tipped.
  • Open the nozzle very quickly and the liquid will flow out of the stopper without dripping. If the liquid drips, you are not opening the stopper all of the way and/or quickly enough.
  • Spray in the direction of the arrows starting with the shoulder, followed by the neck, then the jaw and ending in the temples.
  • The pattern for the shoulder, neck and jaw are the same for each of the four sprays per side but since the temporalis muscle (temple area) is shaped like a fan, you want to spray the entire muscle so follow the arrows in the image to the right. It does not matter if you spray the front of the temporalis muscle first or the back part first (above the ear). The point is that you want to get all of the fibers of the muscle.
  • Each spray should take about 4 seconds, which is longer than you think.
  • For people who are not experienced using the spray, we suggest placing a cotton roll in the ear, and a hand over the eye so that the medication does not get into the ear or the eye.
  • After spraying, you can warm the skin with your hand, and then stretch the jaw for 6 seconds, relax, and repeat that five more times.
  • The spray can be applied every 3 to 4 hours.

Caution: ethyl chloride is flammable so do not use it near an open flame, or smoke when using the medication.