By: Dr Lauri Grossman
What is a bruise?
You get kicked on the soccer field, drop something heavy on your toe, or bang your head on a low entryway. It might seem like nothing at the time, but all too often, you wake up the next day with a discolored bruise that is so tender to the touch, you want no one to come near. When this happens, you might reach for an ice pack or consider running to the medicine cabinet, but before you do, let’s talk about bruises and learn what causes the rainbow of colors that appears as days go by.
Bruises (or what medical doctors call “contusions”) occur when you get injured and break tiny blood vessels in the skin. These blood vessels or “capillaries”, leak into the surrounding tissue and as red blood cells gather, you can see discoloration in the area. What starts off as a red-purple injury becomes green or yellow as the body works to heal the region and metabolize or gobble up the mass of escaped red blood cells.
The tendency to bruise varies from one person to another. Despite all their falls, young children bruise less readily. They have resilient blood vessels that don’t break easily. Older people, especially those on certain medications, have delicate vessels; some find black and blue marks so frequently that they are forever wondering where the injuries come from and what it was they last bumped into. Medications that prevent blood clotting (like Coumadin) and prescription drugs that make blood vessels more fragile (like Prednisone) often contribute to the number of bruises one has.
After two to three weeks, most people find their bruises healed and their skin color returned to normal. Sometimes, however, the body will wall off the region instead of sending cells in to do the clean up work. When this occurs the blood pools and the area swells and becomes tender. If calcium is deposited, a bony condition called myositis ossificans can occur and the tissue becomes sensitive to touch and hard.
The natural chemicals found in Arnica help to heal or prevent these unwanted complications. Flavonoids decrease the permeability of the blood vessels and polysaccharideas stimulate the process by which helper-cells clean the tissue of unwanted debris.
When using Arnica, the best results occur when you match the severity of the injury with the strength of the homeopathic medicine. A lower potency is all you need when you bang your toe into a table or get a blow to the nose in a basketball game. For more minimal injury, topical Arnica is all you need for relief.
Remember that serious trauma and spontaneous bruising calls for a complete medical evaluation. Be sure to get checked for signs of internal injury and fracture. In addition, the word “RICE” can help to remind you of other valuable tips for bruising: REST, ICE, COMPRESS, ELEVATE. The application of a cold compress and elevating the body part reduces the blood flow to the area. This lessens the amount of bleeding in the skin and reduces that size of the bruise.
Even with the utmost caution, accidents will happen at home, on the field, in the gym, and in the workplace. However, with Arnica on hand and these tips in mind, you can speed the healing and prevent long-term disability that often accompanies bruises and physical trauma. So be sure to have a supply of Arnica in your kitchen cabinet, desk drawer, purse and gym bag. Then, you too will be able to experience the beneficial healing effects that Arnica has provided since mountain climbers discovered it centuries ago.
Effective Homeopathic Treatment of Sprains & Strains
By Dr. Thaddeus Jacobs
Regardless of the season, injuries are a common occurrence in sports and everyday life. High-level athletes, weekend warriors and the sedentary –who might consider simple household chores a workout- all succumb to occasional traumas, aches and pains. Homeopathy use for these problems and others is increasing in popularity here in the US because of its unique, safe, drug-free qualities.
The great popularity of homeopathic medicine worldwide is largely because it acts rapidly and without the side effects often encountered with conventional drugs. Homeopathy is a medicine of choice for many physicians throughout Europe and Asia and a growing number of doctors, athletes and families in the US. This article’s aim is to discuss a few key remedies every household should have on hand for quick first aid self-treatment of strain and sprain injuries.
Strains and sprains represent the most common causes of pain and impaired function. A strain is a “pull” or tear, resulting from overstretching a muscle or its attaching tendons. Strains can occur during sports or normal day-to-day activities involving sudden, heavy lifting. Strains often cause damage to small blood vessels, causing bleeding, bruising (secondary to bleeding), swelling, and pain (from local nerve irritation).
A sprain involves damage to ligaments; the thick, strong, fibrous tissues that hold bones together around joints. When a ligament or ligaments are overstretched, they may tear partially or completely. A common sprain injury example is a ‘twisted ankle.’ Similarly, sprains cause swelling, bruising and pain in the affected joint.
Arnica montana represents the #1 homeopathic medicine any household should have on-hand. It is the first remedy to think of for any type of trauma or injury and is particularly helpful for sprains, strains and other muscular traumas. Remember arnica when there is: bruising; muscular soreness and fatigue; injury from falls, accidents and blunt trauma.
In addition to Arnica, there are a few key remedies one’s medicine chest should not be without in order to be prepared for sprains and strains. While arnica can be used as a general first-line remedy for all injuries, the following medicines can be very helpful in specific situations when Arnica doesn’t provide complete relief.
Ruta graveolens –ligament and tendon injuries; overuse injuries; bursitis; stiffness from exposure to damp and cold that is relieved by heat applications
Bellis –works like arnica, but for deeper muscular pains in the legs, abdomen and pelvis; excellent for repetitive strain injuries that are better with rubbing or massage
Hypericum –neck, back and hip strains and sprains involving the joints of the spine accompanied by shooting and sharp, pinching pains; numbness and tingling sensations; injuries to densely innervated body parts such as fingers, toes, spine and the tail bone.
Ledum –dark bruising that does not respond to arnica, particularly when injuries feel cold to touch and are also alleviated by cold applications
Rhus tox –severe stiffness that is worse with initial movement, but is relieved by continued movement; stiffness improved by warm applications and aggravated by cold applications, sitting and lying
Bryonia –any pains that are worse with even the slightest movement, even deep breathing; sprain or dislocation injuries around rib attachments
Symphytum (aka knitbone) –assist healing of broken bones; injuries to tendons and cartilage
Homeopathic remedies come in different potencies -6c, 12c, 30c, 200c, 1M and up. Most acute problems, such as twisted ankle or muscle pulls, respond well to using Arnica 30c potency every 15 minutes until there is improvement. If improvement is only partial, then give a single dose of either a 200c or 1M potency or switch to one of the other remedies discussed in this article if the symptoms match more exactly. As symptoms improve, less frequent dosing can then be given as needed.
The homeopathic medicines covered in this article are key players in any household’s medicine chest or athlete’s training bag. Trainers, athletes and the general public all over the globe utilize these important medicines because of their safety, lack of side effects, low cost and ability to support and speed the body’s own healing processes.
Dental pain! A trip to the dentist is commonly associated with a painful memory of a prior dental experience. The throbbing, swelling, bleeding, and aching pain vividly stands out in your memory. This typically does not occur during semi-annual cleanings or simple cavity fillings, but when the dental procedure involves an extraction, surgery or treatment for a dental emergency (most commonly from an accident with a blow to the mouth or head). This is when there is real value from using arnica.
Healing energy normally flows through the nervous and circulatory systems in the body. Under normal circumstances, this process occurs naturally. However, a trauma disturbs this normal flow and can create a visual sign (blood) as well as a very real sensation of pain. This is common to dental trauma.
When a dental procedure creates this type of trauma, the body typically creates inflammation as a natural defense mechanism to the trauma. The inflammation, although unsightly and painful, is just part of the natural healing process of the body.
A standard pharmaceutical approach to dealing with inflammation and pain is by using anti-inflammatory (examples include over-the-counter drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen or naproxen) and pain-medications, like codeine. The anti-inflammatory medicine has both pain-killing response as well as the anti-inflammatory activity. Pain medication acts only on the brain, deceiving our perception of localized pain while doing essentially nothing to actually help heal the wound.
Arnica, on the other hand, effectively helps the body to overcome the trauma through the natural mechanisms already in the body to reduce the pain and inflammation, rather than by using man-made chemicals.
A good suggestion is to consider arnica for all dental traumas. The remedy will help the body control the inflammation and the perception of pain, naturally working with the body. Taking arnica after a dental trauma can help speed the healing process overall.
The most effective dosing with the arnica is to take a dose:
1. The evening before the procedure,
2. While waiting in the dental office immediately PRIOR to the procedure,
3. Immediately AFTER the procedure,
4. Then continue to dose the remedy every 6 hours AND as needed.
4.1. These additional as needed doses are practical to address potential break-thru pain that would normally be addressed by taking the “as needed” dose of the
pain or anti-inflammatory medication.
*IMPORTANT! Medications may be prescribed with specific dosing instructions AND/OR “as needed”. Arnica can ALWAYS be taking “on top” of any prescribed regime,without causing complication or interruptions with the prescribed treatment plan .However it is always best to include your practitioner on YOUR treatment plans. Never change the plans the dentist gives you without consulting with the prescriber.
Dr. Peter Wannigman