(NaturalNews) Sam Baker, three-time All-American at USC and first-round 2008 NFL draft pick, came to the Whitaker Wellness Institute before he reported to the Atlanta Falcons training camp last year. "My trainer recommended that I receive treatment at the clinic to help me build muscle and gain strength. It really did wonders for me. The therapies I received helped me increase my energy and even improved my body composition. I was also introduced to a number of treatments that helped me recover quickly from injuries I'd sustained during my senior year at USC. I believe these therapies gave me a competitive edge and helped me get back to optimal health so I could perform at my best again."
Of course, most of us aren't going to be playing NFL football anytime soon. But regardless of activity level, occasional bumps, bruises, and sprains are bound to happen. And, like Sam Baker, we all have a common goal: to get back in the game as quickly as possible.
Drugs and More Drugs Head to any conventional medical facility after an injury and you'll probably be told to follow the RICE protocol (rest, ice, compression, elevation). This advice is great. However, you're also likely find yourself with instructions to take prescription or over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), COX-2 inhibitors, or stronger painkillers.
Be wary. While sporadic use of these drugs is acceptable, using them long-term can be disastrous. NSAIDs are notorious for causing stomach upset, ulcers, and very serious bleeding that results in more than 16,000 deaths each year. In addition to GI problems, COX-2 inhibitors also increase risk of stroke and heart attack. One of these drugs, Vioxx, was removed from the market after being linked to more than 50,000 fatalities. And prescription painkillers have issues of their own. They are highly addictive and carry a huge abuse potential.
But don't despair. I'm going to tell you about a handful of safe and effective therapies that take healing to a whole new level.
IV C: Restoration and Recovery Sam Baker attributes much of his improvement to intravenous (IV) vitamin C. Large doses of vitamin C speed up healing of all types of injuries. In addition to preventing infection, this nutrient is required for the production of collagen, an essential building block of blood vessels, scar tissue, and cartilage. Not surprisingly, the body rapidly uses vitamin C after injury or trauma, and replacing lost stores of this crucial vitamin facilitates overall healing.
Unfortunately, very high doses of vitamin C cannot be taken orally because it can cause gastrointestinal cramping and diarrhea. The solution? Administer it intravenously. At the clinic, we routinely use 25â€"50 g of IV vitamin C. It sounds like a lot, I know, but it's well tolerated and very effective.
Oxygen Speeds Healing Another cornerstone therapy we use at the clinic is hyperbaric oxygen (HBOT). This treatment works by flooding the body with oxygen, which eradicates bacteria and potential infections, encourages the growth of new blood vessels, and promotes tissue regeneration. It's safe, noninvasive, and effective for everything from sprains and strains to recovery from plastic surgery.
HBOT happens to be a personal favorite of mine. A number of years ago, I sprained my ankle pretty badly playing squash. It swelled up like a grapefruit, turned purple, and hurt like the dickens. After a few hourly sessions in the hyperbaric chamber, the inflammation and pain diminished dramatically. Rather than being benched for two to three weeks, I was back to my old self in about seven days.
I'm not the only "athlete" who takes advantage of HBOT. Minnesota Vikings safety Darren Sharper reportedly sleeps in a hyperbaric chamber to speed recovery time from injuries. And Terrell Owens is said to have used hyperbaric oxygen in conjunction with the next therapy we'll discuss to rapidly heal a broken ankle in time to play in the 2005 Super Bowl.
Microcurrent Therapy Relieves Pain Microcurrent therapy, also called frequency specific microcurrent or FSM, is yet another effective treatment. This therapy uses very low-frequency currents that are customized to specific tissue types. When placed over the targeted area, these tiny currents help reduce sensitivity and inflammation, often resulting in profound pain relief. Microcurrent has demonstrated success in the treatment of tendonitis, fibromyalgia, and all types of musculoskeletal injuries.
As I mentioned earlier, Terrell Owens credits microcurrent (along with HBOT and a few other alternative therapies) for helping him get back in playing shape. One of my staff members also reported marked pain relief after she tweaked her hip lifting weights. After just a few sessions of microcurrent therapy, her discomfort disappeared.
Harnessing the Power of Light You've probably heard me sing the praises of infrared light and its amazing restorative and healing powers. It works by delivering specific wavelengths of light painlessly through the skin. This invisible light generates the production of nitric oxide (NO), which, in turn, boosts blood flow, reduces inflammation and pain, and speeds the recovery of soft-tissue injuries.
Infrared light therapy is ideal for sprains and strains, but it also has a remarkable track record for relieving chronic pain and older injuries. Vietnam veteran Tom Ryan suffered for nearly 40 years with debilitating pain in his right arm and left leg caused by injuries he sustained in combat. Multiple surgeries couldn't correct the problem and it wasn't until he came to the clinic for a course of infrared light therapy that his pain began to subside. After treatment he said, "I'm totally pain free. It's almost as if I've been given a second chance at life."
Prolo to the Rescue Musculoskeletal injuries often weaken the ligaments that hold joints in proper alignment. In these cases, prolotherapy may be the answer. A slightly irritating solution is injected into the affected ligaments. This triggers the body's normal healing response, corrects the underlying problem by helping the joints and ligaments regain their strength and stability, and relieves pressure from pinched nerves.
Just ask Toni, a world-champion ballroom dancer. A car accident left her with a terrible case of whiplash. Not only was her neck killing her, she was unable to perform. Just three sessions of prolotherapy put a stop to her pain and allowed her to get back on the dance floor in no time at all.
Oldies But Goodies Then there are the tried-and-true favorites. The ancient Chinese therapy acupuncture has consistently alleviated discomfort and restored function for many of our patients with a variety of pain syndromes. Albert, who suffered with carpal tunnel syndrome, a repetitive motion injury, couldn't even apply pressure to his right hand. That all changed after a treatment course-acupuncture completely relieved his pain.
If your back, neck, or other joints are "out of whack," chiropractic care may be in order. Strategic manipulations take the stress off impinged nerves and overworked muscles, relieving discomfort. When Mary pinched a nerve playing with her nieces in the backyard and could barely walk, just one adjustment set her straight.
Another effective hands-on therapy is reflexology. Reflex points, found mainly in the hands and feet, correspond to specific organs and areas in the body. When pressure is applied to these particular spots, it promotes health and healing in the corresponding body part. Studies suggest that reflexology improves circulation and speeds wound healing.
Do-It-Yourself Healing If you can't make it to a facility that offers these therapies, there are a handful of treatments you can try at home. One is fish oil. Fish oil is one of nature's most potent anti-inflammatories and, as such, it is very useful for all kinds of injuries. Try 2â€"8 g daily in place of ibuprofen to dampen the inflammatory response and relieve pain. You may also want to give Univestin a shot. This herbal blend works in a manner similar to COX-2 inhibitors but is infinitely safer. Aim for a total of 500 mg per day, taken in divided doses.
For muscle and joint pain, try rubbing a little DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) into the affected area two or three times a day. This sulfur-rich compound squelches pain and inflammation, mops up free radicals, and speeds healing. Another topical pain reliever is the herb Arnica montana. Arnica helps inhibit edema (fluid buildup) and inflammation, and it is an amazing treatment for sprains, strains, bruises-even broken ribs. I cracked some ribs when I got bucked off a horse a few years ago, and Traumeel (a preparation containing arnica and other homeopathic agents) helped me get back in the saddle.
So there you have it. Whether you're a professional athlete or an "armchair quarterback," these therapies can help speed up the healing process, put an end to pain, and keep you in the action.
To receive any of the therapies discussed in this article, call the Whitaker Wellness Institute at (800) 488-1500.
Most of the supplements mentioned above can be found in health food stores. All may be ordered by calling (800) 810-6655.
Reprinted from Dr. Julian Whitaker's Health & Healing with permission from Healthy Directions, LLC. For information on subscribing to this newsletter, visit www.drwhitaker.com or call (800) 539-8219.
About the author
Reprinted from Dr. Julian Whitaker's Health & Healing with permission from Healthy Directions, LLC. For information on subscribing to this newsletter, visit www.drwhitaker.com or call (800) 539-8219. About the Author Julian Whitaker, MD, is the author of Health & Healing, a monthly newsletter that has reached millions of readers since 1991. He has also written 13 books and hosts The Dr. Whitaker Show, a popular radio program. In 1979, Dr. Whitaker founded the Whitaker Wellness Institute. Today, it is the largest alternative medicine clinic in the United States. To learn more, visit www.whitakerwellness.com or call (800) 488-1500.