Homeopathy: A drug-free pain-killing alternative

Homeopathy is rapidly gaining popularity among a wide variety of health professionals as a valued tool in the treatment of musculoskeletal complaints.

Homeopathic remedies provide a number of advantages, because they are safe, reliable, effective, and act quickly; are easy to use and are relatively inexpensive; can be used for both prevention as well as treatment; and are even more effective when combined with an appropriate adjustment.

For the uninitiated, the theory behind homeopathic remedies and why they work is simply this: Like cures like.

More specifically, ingesting something in a diluted and “potentized” form will relieve symptoms that would be caused by ingesting the same substance in its whole, undiluted form. (Potentized simply means that, between each successive dilution, the remedy is shaken or otherwise energized before being diluted again.)

While not always apparent, homeopathic theory is fairly evident in many remedies. Whether it is homeopathic onion used to treat the red, teary eyes of allergy sufferers, or homeopathic bee venom used to treat red, swollen, and puffy skin lesions, “like cures like” begins to make more sense as one becomes more familiar with the homeopathic materia medica.

The following is a brief list of some of the more common remedies that can be used in any clinic for the treatment of pain, injury, and various other musculoskeletal complaints. Having them available in your office will give you another tool to complement the effectiveness of adjustments, nutritional supplements, and physiotherapy treatments:

FOR MUSCLE INJURIES

• Arnica montana. Arnica is the first medicine to use following all trauma and injuries. Arnica is useful for bruises, swelling, muscle soreness, sprains and strains, falls and blows, and overexertion from physical activity.

Arnica montana is a perennial flowering plant native to southern Russia and other mountainous areas in Europe. Its brightly colored, yellow flowers are beautiful, yet unassuming, and don’t appear the least bit harmful.

Smelling this little flower causes no problems, but consuming it is another issue. Ingesting arnica in its whole, undiluted form can cause a host of serious side effects, the most intriguing of which is a distinct feeling of bruising or aching in the body — which makes sense, since homeopathic arnica is most commonly used in the treatment traumatic injuries that cause aching and bruising.

• Bellis perennis. Bellis is used also used for trauma. However, bellis is indicated for deep tissue injuries, including internal injuries, where there is intense soreness, swelling, and bruising.

TENDONITIS

• Rhus tox. This herb is especially useful for tendonitis in which a key symptoms is that the pain gets better with motion or “warming up.”

• Ruta graveolens. Ruta is a good remedy for general tendonitis, but is especially useful when the affected area is close to the periosteum.

NERVE PAIN

• Hypericum perforatum. Hypericum is an excellent remedy for nerve injuries, especially of the neck, back, fingers, toes, and nails. Hypericum helps relieve shooting and sharp pains, which are characteristic nerve pains.

The site of injury is also typically very sensitive to touch. When it is indicated following severe injuries, homeopaths commonly use hypericum in conjunction with arnica.

SPRAINS AND DISLOCATIONS

• Ruta graveolens. Ruta is commonly indicated for injuries to tissues that are close to bone and periosteum.

• Bryonia alba. Bryonia is also useful for sprains, dislocations, and injuries to tendons. It is especially helpful in alleviating muscle pains that feel worse with the slightest movement, when the muscle is jarred or bumped, or when cold is applied.

MUSCLE CRAMPS

• Magnesia phosphoricum. Magnesia phosphoricum (mag phos) is an excellent anti-spasmodic remedy. The cramps that are relieved by mag phos tend to be worse on the right side and better with warm instead of cold applications.

• Cuprum metallicum. This remedy is also used for cramps of muscles especially cramps in the legs, hands, and calves. Cuprum metallicum symptoms are intense. The characteristic pain feels worse with touch, motion, and during sleep.

Headshot Joseph MercolaJoseph Mercola, DO, is trained in both traditional and natural medicine. He runs an advertising-free medical-information Web site (www.mercola.com). His vision is to transform the existing medical paradigm to one focused on treating and preventing the underlying causes of disease. He has been interviewed as an expert on alternative medicine on network and cable and nationally broadcast radio shows. He can be contacted through his Web site.