Treating Shoulder Pain and Injuries With Homeopathy
Dr. Thaddeus Jacobs
With its shallow ball-and-socket joint surface and thin, albeit, very strong layer of muscles and tendons, the shoulder could be considered a natural wonder of engineering. It possesses the greatest range of motion of all the joints in the body, allowing us to position our hands in a multitude of ways. Its strong ‘rotator cuff’ muscles enable us to accomplish a great deal of work involving complex pushing, pulling and lifting motions.
With amazing capabilities come some unfortunate drawbacks. The shoulder’s flexibility-optimizing design requires smaller supportive muscles and thinner stabilizing ligamentous connective tissue. This leaves the shoulder joint particularly prone to injury. Sudden overstretch or overuse leads to sprains and strains. When this occurs either chronically or acutely, joint inflammation (synovitis) as well as bursitis and tendonitis often results. Also, when inflammation exists in and around the joint, one could wind up with a debilitating ‘frozen shoulder.’
As always, the first remedy to consider for all musculoskeletal pain and inflammation is Arnica. This is particularly true in cases of acute injuries or joint dislocation. Every home’s medicine chest or car’s glove box should stock this versatile remedy in order to be prepared to not only treat shoulders, but any number of other problems involving pain and injuries.
For acute injuries and pain, begin treatment with Arnica, taken every hour. If the problem steadily diminishes with Arnica, then continue using it for several days until the problem is completely resolved.
The shoulder’s complex structural make-up likely contributes to the wide variety of possible symptoms encountered with shoulder problems. This means that a greater number of homeopathic remedies must be considered when choosing a medicine. Among the many possible remedy choices, three main ones are discussed here.
Ruta graveolens is a classic ligament and tendon injury remedy either with or without bursitis. It is better with heat applications, with pain and stiffness following exposure to cold. Clear cases of ligament and tendon injury can be effectively treated using this remedy alone.
Thiosinaminum is the #1 remedy for frozen shoulder. Bryonia is also a good frozen shoulder remedy, especially when even slight movement causes pain. Bryonia is particularly well-suited for cases where extreme dryness is felt, ‘as if there were no fluid in the joint.’
The medicines discussed in this article effectively treat many shoulder problems. For greater success, readers should refer to articles on this site, such as “Effective Homeopathic Treatment of Sprains and Strains,” and other sources. When shoulder pain and dysfunction persist, it may be an indication that a more serious health issue exists. A health care professional should be consulted so that co-existing health problems are addressed and supportive therapies implemented.
Dr. Thaddeus Jacobs
Homeopathic remedies pose a significant advantage over most over-the-counter and prescription medications in the treatment of knee injuries and pain. The knee is notorious in its ability to heal at a drawn-out pace. Steroid injections and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, while potent in suppressing inflammation and pain, are known to greatly hinder cartilage and joint connective tissue repair. These drugs ultimately cause weakening of the joints and a higher likelihood of subsequent injury and arthritic changes. Armed with that information, sufferers should consider therapies that support a return of structural integrity as well as pain-free function. Homeopathy can be the ticket to fast-track recovery.
Because the knee joint is “boney” (i.e. not covered by thick muscle) and endures tremendous repetitive weight-bearing forces, it is particularly prone to trauma and injury. In particular, its hinge design is not conducive to twisting motions, and excessive torsion readily causes injury to ligaments and the boney cartilage surfaces. Structures often afflicted by damage and inflammation include the patella tendon (Jumper’s knee), bursae, collateral and capsule ligaments, femoral and meniscus cartilage, and the periostium bone sheath – from direct blows to the bones.
People familiar with homeopathic healing will not be surprised to read that Arnica is the first remedy to give for any acute injury to the joints. Mild to moderate pain should respond well to Arnica. Severe pain or trauma –such as a torn meniscus or cruciate ligament- will be treated better with a higher potency. Rhus tox very often will be a good remedy to give a day or two after the trauma and initial treatment with Arnica. With improvement, Rhus can be given to ensure healing momentum is maintained within the joint. Apis is particularly indicated when there is a significant amount of swelling, as in bursitis.
Ruta graveolens is a classic ligament and tendon injury remedy either with or without bursitis. It is better with heat applications. Pain and stiffness follows exposure to cold. Rhus tox is also a good remedy for conditions that are worse with cold and ameliorated with heat, but is better indicated when the pain is present upon initial movement and gets progressively better as the joint continues to move and limber up. As a course of treatment, Ruta may be taken morning and night along with the tissue salts, Calc carb, Calc phos and Silicea. After a couple weeks, substitute Ruta in the above regimen. Two week later, discontinue the tissue salts and take single daily dose of Ruta for a week or two.
Other remedies to consider include Bryonia, for severe pain with slightest movement, and Ledum, which is beneficial for dark bruising that is unresponsive to arnica. Ledum is well suited when injuries feel cold to touch and are alleviated by cold applications.
The medicines discussed above should cover most cases; however, some chronic knee pain sufferers may need to seek the care of a professional homeopath. Treatment utilizing homeopathy requires that we do not ignore the whole person. It is therefore important in cases of persistent knee pain and dysfunction to obtain a remedy and other therapies to addresses co-existing health problems and treats one’s entire constitution.
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.
Doctors Agree it’s a perfect match!
Sports Medicine: Doctors Extol Arnica’s and Homeopathy’s Virtues
On homeopathy in general for sports, A. Dwight Smith, MD, claims it can “Cut healing time by 50-85%.”
In his article “Homeopathy and Sports Medicine,” he also states: “With a minimum amount of homeopathic instruction, most trainers, coaches, and athletes themselves, can successfully treat and cure many of the most common athletic injuries. Their willingness to do so will have two results: quicker and more comfortable healing for the athlete; and thousands of dollars saved for the athletic club.” (American Homeopathy: vol.1, No. 6, June 1984)
In his book, Homeopathic Treatment of Sports Injuries, Dr. Lyle Morgan states: “Arnica should be considered first in all cases of physical injury.”
He lists Arnica’s benefits throughout the book, including: “Arnica works quickly to repair damaged blood vessels, to reduce swelling at the site of the injury, and to eliminate pain….
In his book, Musculoskeletal Healing, homeopath Asa Hershoff states:
“Arnica is the most renowned trauma remedy, and is without equal as the primary remedy for injury of any kind whatsoever.”…
For past injuries, he states:
“Homeopathy is the first choice when a person has ‘never been well’ since a specific traumatic incidence. Arnica and Hypericum are the main remedies, prescribed in high potency for several doses, for erasing the imprints of trauma within the nervous system and tissues.”
The list could go on and on, but suffice it to say, that those who have worked with Arnica in sports medicine concur that it should be in the gym bag of every athlete, ‘weekend warrior’, coach and trainer.
Homeopathic Remedies for Sports Injuries
Homeopathy comes through with flying colors in the sports arena. The relief of tired, achy, overused and injured muscles and joints overrides the complexity of how this 200-year-old form of medicine works. It is effective in treating everyone from the noblest weekend warriors to professional athletes. The mechanism of action in homeopathy seems wildly opposite to conventional medicine; however. As a complementary treatment it succeeds in preventing and treating a myriad of sports conditions naturally.
Overexertion, Sprains & Strains
Arnica Montana: is the number one remedy to consider with any type of injury. It helps to reduce swelling, promote healing and ease pain. Take it immediately for the shock which results from injury and when there is bruising and swelling. Arnica may be used to prevent sore muscles from intense training or competition by taking a couple of pellets before the event.
Rhus tox: Used in homeopathic form, Rhus tox is nicknamed the ‘rusty gate’ remedy. It is effective for joints that are stiff from injury or overexertion such as from golf, running or baseball. It is particularly useful when muscles or joints are worse first thing in the morning, with cold, damp weather, but feel better after gentle motion and with warm applications.
Bryonia: earned the name ‘The Grumpy Bear’ remedy because it helps people who do not want to be bothered or move in any way. It has a keynote symptom of pain that worsens with the slightest movement. This remedy, derived from wild hops, relieves pain that is ameliorated by pressure, or by lying on the painful side. When someone is exhibiting these particular symptoms, and this type of pain pattern, Bryonia is very effective in reducing the discomfort.
Calc phos 6x: As a cellular building block, Calc phos aids many conditions involving structural stress and growth. Derived from a mineral containing phosphorous and calcium, primary constituents in bone, it plays an important role in bone repair after fractures (non-union) and during grown periods.
*Tutti Gould, DC ND, Homeopath, is one of Canada’s leading homeopathic trainers and speakers.