The summer is over but we are still thrilled by the magnificent performances in the Olympics by athletes from all over the world. Courage, determination, perseverance and alas, despair and physical and emotional pain are all part of the package for an Olympic athlete. We all remember the gymnast hopping on one foot, vaulting to the gold in gymnastics, then not being able to compete again. We have seen sprinters pull up in the middle of a race with muscle and tendon injuries. Would homeopathy make a difference? By the end of this article you will know the answer.
But this article is also for the regular Joe who after many years of not exercising discovers some muscles he wishes he never had … for the aerobics fan, the amateur tennis, football and baseball player … and the occasional “athlete” who tries to keep up with his kids once a year on vacation. Have you ever woken up the day after such an ordeal? Ouch and ouch again!
So should we just become spectators, or can we protect ourselves against the fragility and breakdown of the body? After studying Western medicine, acupuncture and homeopathy, I believe that homeopathy can offer the quickest, gentlest, and safest relief for sports injuries. In fact I am totally surprised that none of the big professional teams have discovered homeopathy. In such sports, an injury to a key player, especially in the playoffs, means a loss of millions of dollars. From my 25 years of experience, a homeopathic physician can shorten the duration of any injury to one-third of its projected length. When I see an ice-skater falling on her head or a football player landing on his neck, I wish I could see a homeopathic physician running out there with homeopathic remedies.
Let’s start our travels through the world of sports injuries, and give you the reader some power in your own hands. (Of course, you should also consult your physician for a correct diagnosis.)
Let’s talk about strains and sprains, a frequent injury in any sport. Sprained ankles are high on the list: for the sudden swelling and bruised feeling, let Arnica come to the rescue. This mountain flower is called “king of the sports remedies” for its ability to absorb blood, reduce the swelling and relieve the pain in no time at all. It doesn’t just suppress the symptoms, it heals the whole traumatized area. Another remedy for sprains, in some ways superior to Arnica, is Rhus toxicodendron or poison ivy. Use Arnica first to absorb the blood and take the swelling down, then follow with Rhus tox to heal the sprained ligaments. Any ligament injury, anywhere in the body, will respond speedily to this remedy. A torn Achilles tendon, the bane of a runner’s existence, will heal quickly with Rhus tox., whereas if left untreated you would have to stop running for six weeks. When I got a shoulder strain from serving too hard in tennis, Rhus tox. took care of it while I was playing and it never bothered me again. I always keep Arnica and Rhus tox in my tennis bag, and so should you!
There might be some other strains you never thought about. Eye strain can be a “sports injury” for many children playing their favorite computer game for hours. Save their eyes with Ruta Graveolens, the meadow rue, which can even be taken as a preventive. Another strain is voice strain, a problem for cheering sports fans, professional singers, debaters, and politicians (like President Clinton, whose voice will probably go up and down like a yo-yo in the coming campaign). Arum Triphyllum or Jack-in-the-pulpit will restore clarity and strength to your voice, giving you an edge over your fatigued competitors who know nothing of homeopathy.
For fractures encountered in rough sports, you can take Arnica while waiting for an X-ray. One of my students took high doses of Arnica immediately after falling. She knew she had broken her big toe because of the swelling and pain. But by the time she got to the hospital, the swelling had gone down so much that the doctor refused to X-ray it, believing it was not broken. On her insistence, he took one anyway and discovered a clear fracture.
Once bones are set (if necessary) and placed in a cast, Symphytum or comfrey (also known as Bone-knit) can speed recovery. It is the orthopedic specific of the herb remedies. Do not start Symphytum until you are sure the bones are set correctly, because it promotes such rapid healing that it can make the bones heal misaligned. To give the body the minerals it needs to heal the bones, take the cell salt Calc. Phos. 6x (in water, one teaspoon three times a day).
There is one type of fracture which I have found very painful: rib fractures and contusions. You can’t take a breath, God forbid you should have to cough, and you don’t want people to make you laugh because it hurts SOOO bad! Bryonia (white bryony) will come to the rescue and let you breathe much easier. For stress fractures or fatigue fractures (encountered after long hikes, overexertion and repeated strain), Arnica is a big help. In this case the bone is bent, not broken, so Arnica is more helpful than Symphytum.
Head traumas can be a great concern in contact sports. I have seen many patients in my practice who changed totally after suffering a head trauma—not just chronic physical pain but often a total mental-emotional change to the point of a different personality. To avoid such a condition, give Arnica right away. (And if there are mental and emotional changes from an old head injury, your homeopath will probably prescribe Nat. Sulph. [sodium sulphate] in professional doses.) I remember one of my sons falling on his head while sliding down an icy hill. His neck was as stiff as a board—yet by the same evening, after repeated doses of Arnica, there was no headache or stiffness left. It makes a believer out of you!
Any tennis player dreads “tennis elbow”, which often starts from trying out a new racket, stringing a racket too tight or coming back too soon and playing too eagerly after an injury. Ruta Grav. and Bellis perennis (daisy) are two wonderful remedies in these circumstances. Bellis perennis is a deeper-working form of Arnica. You can also get tennis elbow from hanging wallpaper or painting ceilings for hours. The strain on your joints (especially shoulders and elbows) is enormous, giving you a glimpse of this sports injury without even doing sports.
While playing tennis, God forbid you get a ball in your eye. You need to consult an ophthalmologist, but start taking Arnica right away to absorb the blood. Another remedy for black eyes, which would be useful for boxers, is Ledum or wild rosemary. Both are good for black eyes and can be taken concurrently, but Ledum is especially good for boxer’s eye.
For the aerobics fanatics who put so much strain on their knee joints, Ruta is a specific for knee problems. And if you are afraid of starting your workout because you are new at it or coming back after an injury, take Arnica before the workout. You will be amazed at how well you can keep up. Use Arnica for any pulled muscle, or sore or torn muscle, any time there is a bruised feeling in the belly of the muscle. The same is true when your spouse asks you to finally do some of those garden chores which you’ve been putting off: take Arnica before you start and you’ll feel well when you’ve finished.
As you can see, a small armory of remedies will help you out with many of those unwanted aches and pains. You and homeopathy will shoot for the next Olympic gold!