Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nutrition for Sprains, Strains and Surgery Recovery

I am a mangled person. I've made a mess of my poor body by "doing all of my own stunts" throughout my life. When I was at Bauman College, I wrote my thesis on Connective Tissue Recovery, and put it into practice when I had knee surgery. Using this protocol I recovered in half the time I was supposed to. And since so many people find themselves bandaged up, in a cast or facing surgery, I am posting the nitty gritty here for the benefit of any who need it.

When you are injured, your body goes into emergency mode, swelling occurs to allow fluid to move to and from the area carting in white blood cells to the injury to clear out any infection, and fibrin to keep you "glued" together while your body attempts to repair itself, and circulating dead white blood cells and excess fibrin out. This is a delicate balance, to keep it moving take Bromelain; A gelatin dissolving enzyme from pineapple stem. It will digest dead tissue, and make way for fresh healthy tissue. Scar tissue slows healing and inhibits range of movement, not to mention that it is not very strong and won't support you. Just like the doctors say to stay ahead of the pain, stay ahead of the scarring. Balance is the name of the game. Jarrow Bromelain is a good one, high dose. TAKE ON AN EMPTY STOMACH.

I also really like Ola Loa Repair, an effervescent multi vitamin targeted at joint repair. I have a great story for this one; my friend was surfing, and nearly pulled his shoulder right out of the joint. When he saw an OS the Doctor was amazed that the shoulder didn’t pop, it stretched. It was strained and hurt like hell, but healed quickly. You can mix with water and drink. It has electrolytes to maintain fluid balance, bromelain, glucosamine and chondroitin (building blocks of connective tissue) to help you rebuild yourself.

But my favorite remedy for soft tissue damage is Homemade Chicken Soup, seriously, this is why Chicken soup is good for everything!
Roast a chicken and remove all of the meat from the carcass, simmer the carcass overnight with carrots, celery, lots of onions, peppercorns and herbs of your choice. Strain off the fat, discard the solids and voila! This will leech all the good collagen and marrow out of the bones of the chicken (you can also use other kinds of bones, ask your local butcher). Add garlic, onions (both of which have high quantities of sulphur) celery, seaweed, carrots, kale (or any leafy green veggie), will provide minerals which combined with protein make your connective tissue. You can also add mushrooms like reishi and maitake, to bolster your immune system. You can add fresh veggies and the chicken meat back to the broth and eat the soup or use this broth as a base for Miso. It is said that after Hiroshima the people whose diet consisted mostly of Miso, healed rapidly from the radiation. I had a cup a day, during my recovery and am convinced this was the magic bullet.

Also check out Arnica Montana; Homeopathic 200c, begin using as soon as possible, (best started 3 days before surgery). Dissolve a few tablets in your mouth when it’s empty, 3x a day, for as long as you need it. It will help with swelling, pain and healing.
Other possibilities: Mycomend by New Chapter, medicinal mushrooms recycle that which is dead while supporting that which is living, they provide vegetarian sources of Glucosamine and Chondroitin and can help you make good, strong connective tissue. Gaia Herbs just came out with Joint Health, a very cool formula that manages pain while talking the body into creating its own Glucosamine etc.

Topically, my favorite is Elixer Rub by Frush Botanicals, she uses arnica essential oil instead of homeopathic arnica, which relieves pain and bruising almost instantly. I also like MSM Crème/capsule by MRM; MSM is a natural sulphur that will “burn off” dead tissue while making way and helping build new, strong, healthy tissue. The crème is for pain relief (I love it) and the caps will work internally. MSM is particularly good for old injuries.

For external scarring try the MSM creme and St John's Wort oil; usually for burns, St John's Wort repairs and stimulates nerve endings, which also get damaged when you hurt yourself. I experienced some numbness around the incision after my knee surgery, which I was told could take up to two years to go away, so a combination of St John's Wort oil, it's homeopathic counterpart Hypericum Perforatum, and Acupuncture and within a few months the numbness was gone.

If you have had connective tissue surgery-KEEP ON YOUR PHYSICAL THERAPY. Make it your religion, believe me, it pays off. And most importantly, you are not alone. I found a great website/chat spot for folks who had had the same surgery called "Bob's ACL Board"and they were more helpful, supportive and informative than the doctor.
DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH! The information is out there, the more you know, the better equipped you will be.
Good Luck and feel free to ask me any questions in the comments.

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