Homeopathy is not commonly thought of as a first line treatment for sports injury. However, alongside physical therapy it can improve outcomes significantly. It boosts the body’s healing ability, reducing pain and inflammation and getting you moving again remarkably quickly in many cases. Long term complications are typically fewer, and injuries to ligaments and tendons, fractures and muscle strain will all respond to treatment. Homeopathy should also be thought of for post-operative recovery, and also for problems such as RSI (repetitive strain injury), and also chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
When you have suffered a sports injury, homeopaths believe that it is important to consider the effect on the whole person. When a physically active person is injured – through trauma or overuse for example, the normal healthy state of that person becomes altered to a new state, often at every level. Unless we treat the person on all the levels affected by the injury (local, general, mental, emotional), the altered state will continue to affect his or her health and well being.
Homeopathy matches the whole picture of the injury and its effect on the individual, to the characteristic symptom ‘picture’ of a homeopathic medicine. If the presenting symptoms of the patient match those of the medicine, then regardless of the exact diagnosis of the condition, location, or date of occurrence, the medicine will be effective in treating that condition.
Homeopathy can be effective in treating both acute and chronic conditions. Acute injuries are of sudden onset (eg a sprained or fractured ankle, torn muscle, or fall or blow to the part, causing bruising). A chronic condition is one of slower onset (eg overuse injury), or one that begins as an acute condition that does not heal well, and settles into a lower grade and longer term disturbance of the organism. Acute injuries are often within the scope of the home or non-professional prescriber, as the remedy match is usually straightforward. Chronic conditions are best referred for professional treatment, and a qualified homeopath will take into account the person’s whole state of health including previous injuries and medical history, as well as the way the current problem is affecting their life.
The main homeopathic medicines for acute sports injury
Arnica is the first treatment to give in any case of traumatic injury. This includes post-op, sprains, fractures, falls, blows, concussion, torn muscles, bruises. It prevents the overreaction of the vascular system to traumatic injury, if given swiftly. Arnica will stop bleeding internally and externally. Swelling and bruising is minimised. It prevents and reduces the effects of shock, and speeds up recovery. It is also very useful in recovery from the impact of eg, marathon running, on the whole system.
Ruta grav has a special affinity for injuries to tendons, ligaments and cartilage, as well as injuries to the bone surface (periosteum). Strain injuries. Inflammation of tendons and ligaments. Bruising of the periosteum. Notable for Achilles tendon problems, ankle sprain, shin splints. Ruta is very commonly indicated in overuse injuries, where the patient feels worse in cold damp conditions, and better for warmth.
Bellis perennis is used in injuries to soft tissues, eg deep abdominal bruising (or surgery). Deep muscle pain not helped by Arnica. Also particularly noted in pain from falls on the coccyx (see also Hypericum).
Symphytum is used in fractures, especially those that are slow and difficult to heal. Also use alongside Ruta in torn muscles, tendons and ligaments – it promotes fusion (the old herbalists called it ‘knitbone’).
Calc phos can be used alongside Symphytum in fractures. Give in a low X potency to promote callus formation.
Hypericum has an affinity for the nerves, and is useful in injuries to parts rich in nerves, with shooting pain. For example, painful injuries to fingers and toes, spine, genitals. Crush injuries. Torn nails.
Bryonia is especially useful in any and all injuries where the slightest movement is painful, or where pain or any activity significantly increases pain. Other homeopathic medicines may be needed along with the Bryonia, but it will help with the pain if the symptoms fit. For example, stress fractures, osteoarthritis, ankle sprains, shoulder injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, where even the least movement of the part is very painful. Lying on the painful part or bandaging may relieve (serving to at least partially immobilise the affected area).
Get in touch with me if you would like to discuss a treatment plan or have any questions about homeopathy.