Surgery can be a very difficult life experience for many people. Anxiety and fears before surgery are common, and some may even be scared to death by what might go wrong under the knife. The truth is that surgical doctors do everything in their power to achieve the best possible outcome for your surgery.
Post-surgery recovery, however, can be a whole other story. Some people can’t bare the pain following a successful surgery. They may eagerly insist their doctor hand over the painkillers. Codeine, morphine, and vicodin are popular prescription painkillers that come to mind; others may include post-operative analgesics with opioids, and combinations of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) or acetaminophen. However, these painkillers can lead to dependence on the prescriptions and other dangerous, unwanted side effects.
So what if I told you there is an efficient after-surgery remedy to relieve your pain without any harmful side effects?
This remedy exists and it has been known to reduce pain, swelling, and bleeding post-surgery for nearly 200 years. The remedy is even mentioned in one of my favorite John Wayne western movie classics McLintock. George Washington McLintock (played by John Wayne) says, “Jake, you think a tincture of arnica would help?” “Could be. Used to help you,” responds character Jake Birnbaum.
Arnica montana may have been used to treat the bruises and injuries in the old westerns; however, Western medicine hasn’t quite embraced homeopathic remedies in the same way. The lack of evidence and misinformation regarding homeopathic preparations has confused the general public. Until now, that is. Now, there is actually praise in an influential journal that clears up any misunderstanding about the healing abilities of arnica montana.
The American Journal of Therapeutics recently reviewed studies on the post-surgery effects of arnica. Often, scientific journals are typically cautious when it comes to homeopathic remedies and more research is usually needed.
However, as I browsed through the review, I was very surprised when I read, “Arnica montana is more effective than a placebo when used for the several conditions.” These health conditions included ecchymosis (intense bruising), edema, and post-traumatic and post-operative pain.
The review observed arnica montana research from in vitro and animal model studies at four universities: the University of Leeds (UK), McGill University (Montreal, Canada), the University of Verona (Italy), and the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia Medical School. The review suggested that arnica montana might be an appropriate alternative to NSAIDs when managing pain due to certain conditions.
Other studies haven’t been as kind when reviewing the pain relief effects of arnica montana after surgery. In a placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial study, there was no significant support that arnica montana was more effective than the placebo for the reduction of pain, swelling, or bruising after hand surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome. This study observed 62 patients between the ages of 18 and 70. A week before and two weeks after surgery, the patients would receive daily pellets of arnica 6C, arnica 30C, or a placebo.
The problem with this study and other similar trials is that they have failed to fully recognize the principles of homeopathic medicine. Homeopathic practitioners examine a person’s symptoms as a whole before recommending a particular remedy. Arnica montana may not have been the chosen remedy for some of the people within these studies based on their overall health.
Post-surgery natural pain relief remedies don’t just end with arnica montana. There is actually a long list of other homeopathic remedies that your practitioner may prescribe for pain relief after surgery, such as aconitum napellus, bellis perennis, china, ferrum phosphoricum, gelsemium, hamamelis, hypericum, ledum palustre, staphysagria, ruta graveolens, or rhus toxicodendron.
How do you know what remedy is best for you after surgery? I suggest you visit a trained homeopathic practitioner for the most appropriate advice.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Iannitti, T., et al., “Effectiveness and Safety of Arnica Montana in Post-Surgical Setting, Pain and Inflammation,” American Journal of Therapeutics September 17, 2014.
Stevinson, C., “Homeopathic arnica for prevention of pain and bruising: randomized placebo-controlled trail in hand surgery,” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine February 2003; 96(2): 60–65.
“Homeopathic Remedies for Surgery and Recovery Support,” TrueStar Health web site; http://www.truestarhealth.com/Notes/2259000.html, last accessed September 26, 2014.
Heisler, J., “Surgery Drugs: Drugs Used Before, During & After Surgery,” About Health web site; http://surgery.about.com/od/aftersurgery/a/SurgeryDrugs.htm, last accessed September 26, 2014.
Ingels, D., “Homeopathic Arnica & Pain, Bruising Prevention after Surgery,” Bastyr Center for Natural Health web site, July 24, 2003; http://www.bastyrcenter.org/content/view/920/, last accessed September 26, 2014.