Anyone who exercises can be prone to the occasional injury or accident and we all know that feeling of stiffness and pain that follows overdoing something!
Yes we can put an ice pack on the area, take pain killers, rest, elevate, etc, but apart from suppressing or hiding the extent of the symptoms in order to return to the gym, pitch or dance floor, we are not really producing a healing effect. We are basically suppressing symptoms in order to continue to perform and this can lead to long term problems and sometimes end careers, dreams or end beloved leisure activities.
Many sports people use homeopathy as part of their fitness and recovery regime. I came across this list recently of Famous Athletes who use Homeopathy, to give you an idea of just how popular it is.
The snippet below on soccer players in Germany also gives some interesting and pretty significant statistics.
In 2008, 24 out of 26 doctors (92.3%) who work for the Bundesliga’s (German soccer league) first and second division teams had prescribed homeopathics for 76% of the soccer teams!
Those are pretty amazing numbers and just a few remedies in your sports bag can help bring quick relief in a wide range situations. Homeopathics don’t interfere or interact with anything else you may be taking or doing and a little research should give you the confidence that there are no banned substances in a homeopathic remedy!
As one of my colleagues in the USA wrote: These are the pills that European soccer fans saw some members of France’s soccer team sprinkling into their mouths during the last World Cup. It was perfectly legal–no homeopathic remedy is on the forbidden list for professional athletes.
What can we expect?
- Shorter recovery times and more rapid healing.
- Avoid unnecessary surgery through better recovery.
- Take less pain killers and other medications. Taking pain killers in order to play on when an injury is still acute, leads to longer recovery and ongoing and perhaps permanent problems. What you need is to stimulate the body’s natural healing ability, which is how homeopathy works.
- If surgery becomes necessary for any sports injury, supporting with the relevant homeopathics can help reduce healing time and improve outcomes.
What can it help?
There are many conditions of the musculoskeletal system – joints, muscles, tendons, bones and so on – that respond well to homeopathy.
At home, you can treat acute problems which may arise after an accident or injury, general stiffness, growing pains, and in the short term, flare ups of arthritis and nerve-type pain. As always, it’s important to be assessed by your medical practitioner for conditions of this nature and if any symptom fails to resolve, seek professional advice.
In the clinic, I’m seeing more and more people with sports related injuries, where we work out a maintenance plan, as well as use constitutional prescribing to strengthen the system and help bring balance. Many of these people also see a chiropractor, osteopath, etc, and together, and in our own way, we help support them through their challenges with pain and restriction.
I’m also seeing a lot of inflammatory and degenerative conditions, such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and similar. While the earlier treatment begins the better, there are definitely plenty of things we can do to help with homeopathy at most stages.
Some of the first aid remedies that are applicable in these situations are listed below. My advice though, with any musculoskeletal condition, particularly if the result of an accident or injury, is to contact your homeopath or get started on – as a minimum – Arnica. This is important and appropriate even if you are undergoing assessment with your GP, ED or specialist and it won’t interact with any other treatments. The sooner you get started on Arnica, the better the outcomes are likely to be.
This early intervention – or “support” in the case of homeopathy’s natural and dynamic effect – can make a huge difference. Arnica is my “must have” remedy in absolutely any home remedy kit, regardless of age group or family configuration! There’s always something that comes up with soreness, bruises, falls and so on, that requires Arnica.
Apis – This is a useful remedy where there is swelling, fluid around a joint or retained elsewhere, heat, tightness, and burning and stinging pains. The cause is usually inflammation and could be from an acute injury, from arthritis, synovitis or even following a surgery. There might be a constricted feeling because of the swelling, and symptoms are usually better for cold applications.
Arnica – This is the first remedy for accidents, injuries, aches, pains and strains and its main affinity is for shock and trauma. It’s also often the first choice for arthritic/rheumatic pain that has come on from overdoing it; so maybe too much gardening, too much walking or standing, or even just sitting too long in the same position.
There is usually a bruised, sore feeling and people might comment that the bed feels too hard. They often say they feel like they’ve been run over by a bus and they generally don’t want to be touched or examined. The classic statement is “I’m ok”, even when it’s evident they are not!!
Shock can linger a while, especially if there has been an on-field accident or even a concussion. If there is still soreness and the patient seems teary and upset when talking about the experience, Arnica may still be required, even if some time has passed since the event. Do ensure proper medical examination has been undertaken for anything like this, but you can give Arnica asap.
Arnica Cream can also be rubbed on bruises and sprains to speed healing, but avoid apply it to broken skin.
Bryonia – This is a big pain remedy, where the pain may be sharp, stabbing, tearing and excruciating. It is much worse for moving and can be better from bandaging or pressure on the painful part, because it immobilises the limb. There may be inflammation with hot, red and swollen joints and again any movement can be agony. Usually the patient is pretty irritable with the pain and may also be very thirsty. Severe pain following a broken bone may be experienced, as well as complaints from over-lifting and back injuries in general. This can be a good remedy to use with Hypericum for prolapsed discs with the patient experiencing sharp pains, stiffness and nerve pain. Pains in joints and limbs are better for warmth and better for lying down, and worse for standing or sitting.
My colleague Kari says: “if firm pressure and cold compresses on the painful spot bring relief take Bryonia. Note this distinction: If it is better when you move it, then you need Rhus or Ruta”.
Calc Carb – Calc Carb is one of our most frequently indicated remedies for most things to do with the bones and a couple of other variations are mentioned below as well for their own affinities. It may be helpful for a long-standing injury where weakness has persisted for more than a couple of weeks. It can often help clear up the remaining stiffness and weakness, but consult your homeopath in this situation to make sure it’s the right remedy for you..
Calc Fluor – Many of you will know Calc Fluor as one of the tissue salts but it is also used in higher potencies such as 30c for pain on the surface of the bones, bone spurs and bony growths, such as bunions and nodules on tendons after injury or overuse. It can also be useful for low back pain if Rhus Tox has not helped. There may be joint enlargement from rheumatism and the pains tend to be wandering, tearing in shoulders, arms and axilla and stitching in the hip joints. It also has an affinity for the Achilles tendons.
I will often use this with one or two other tissue salts for issues with joints and bones generally and especially following surgery, where it can help improve elasticity of ligaments and tendons and avoid adhesions, which is sometimes a post-operative complication.
Calc Phos – Calc Phos affects the nutrition of the bones, supporting the body to rebuild bone tissue. Growing pains are a major symptom which indicate a need for Calc Phos and I’ll often use it with Mag Phos as a tissue salt combination, for kids who suffer this painful condition. There are quite a lot of other indicators for Calc Phos, such as the joints feeling cold and numb, pain and stiffness which is worse when the weather changes and a feeling of weakness when climbing stairs.
Calc Phos is of paramount importance for broken bones and fractures and is very useful for old breaks and fractures which haven’t healed properly. It is also important following any surgery to joints or bones for the same reason.
Dulcamara – In a Dulcamara picture the limbs become stiff and painful after being chilled or from a change of weather from warm to cold and/or damp. This can be the case especially after being overheated. Dulcamara is also a useful remedy for stiffness across the shoulders and the neck if the rest of the picture fits, so think of it for whiplash.
Hypericum – This remedy is often called the “Arnica of the nerves”, with its major affinity for crush injuries, nerve damage and nerve pain. The pains are usually sharp, shooting, tingling or there may be numbness. The pain may also track the path of the nerves or refer/extend to a limb from a back injury.
It is well known for injuries to the coccyx and also for prolapsed discs. This might be required with Bryonia if pain is very severe and high potencies may be needed, so this is going to require a discussion with your homeopath.
Ledum – is well known as a remedy for puncture wounds and insect bites, but it’s also useful for black eyes or any other injury that feels cold to the touch and is relieved by cold applications. Usually you would give Arnica first and if this doesn’t fully resolve things, Ledum may be required.
Mag Phos – This is a well-known tissue salt and homeopathic remedy and you’ll probably know what there are many magnesium supplements, oils, sprays out there. Mag Phos 6x (which is what we term a tissue salt) is very useful to help the body to uptake calcium and magnesium, rather than to supplement.
It’s indicated for sharp, crampy pains, spasms or sciatica (often worse right leg) and usually better for warmth, pressure and massage. It can also be great for growing pains, given with or without Calc Phos. I generally find 6x tissue salts are as good as any other potency and are widely available in good pharmacies and health food shops.
The remedy seems to work best when taken in warm or hot water and sipped.
Rhodendron – This is a small remedy which can look a lot like Rhus Tox, but has a keynote symptom of the pain being much worse before a storm. I do see this presentation reasonably often in northern parts of Australia, but try Rhus Tox first because of its wider affinity and often because it’s more easily available.
Rhus Tox – Stiffness and pain of musculoskeletal conditions, or from overdoing it generally can be indicators for Rhus Tox. Sufferers usually feel much worse on first movement but better from continued motion and heat (weather, hot packs and hot showers). They tend to be a lot worse in cold, damp weather as well.
Ruta – This is a big remedy for issues with ligaments and tendons, especially where they meet the bones, so tears or wrenches. It can be very helpful for strains, sprains, aches and pains and of course is useful after surgery where ligaments and tendons are involved. If you’ve been kicked in the shin or had tennis elbow, Ruta will often come after a few doses of Arnica. Injuries requiring Ruta feel worse in cold, wet weather and from resting, and are better for warmth, much like Rhus Tox.
Symphytum – This is the main remedy for broken bones and is known as “bone knit”. It will usually come after Arnica once we’ve confirmed whether we’re looking at a sprain or a break, for example. It can also help where the bone covering has been damaged, such as when someone has had an injury to the eye socket. I always use Symphytum along with Calc Phos tissue salts in any case of a broken bone or fracture. It is certainly helpful in knitting broken bones, but do be cautious of using Symphytum before the bones have been realigned (see below).One of the indicators for this remedy is prickling pain in the bone, especially after a fracture, when the bone is knitting, but I wouldn’t wait to see if this happens!
CAUTION: The big caution with Symphytum is that it is very important to make sure the bone is set correctly before using, as it is often begins its work rapidly.
Sometimes it’s difficult to know what to take when in terms of accidents and injuries, so we have several useful combination remedies that always get good feedback from users.
Broken Bones & Fractures While broken bones and fractures are always going to need a confirmatory x-ray and sometimes may require surgery, casting, etc, homeopathic remedies can assist with the healing process. The remedies in our Broken Bones & Fractures combination have been used traditionally to help bones knit and tissue regenerate. The combination can be useful not just for accidents and injuries but following surgery where bone tissue has been compromised.
I would tend to dispense higher potencies of Symphytum and Arnica if consulted and when dispensing as single remedies, but the combination will do the job, perhaps in a little more time.
Contains: SVR32 BB&F (Arnica 30c, Calc Phos 6x, Calc F 6x, Ruta Grav 30c, Symph 30c, Silica 6x)
CAUTION: Ensure the bone has been correctly aligned before taking this combination. It has a reputation for working quickly and efficiently!
Ouchy – Is useful in situations where you feel you need to give 3 or 4 remedies to cover all eventualities and you’re not quite sure what to give and in what order!
This is a combination of the most commonly indicated and most frequently required remedies for first aid situations to assist in the soothing and healing of minor wounds, accidents and injuries. It contains all of the remedies to help with bumps, bruises, squashed fingers, inflammation and so on.
Ouchy is also available in a cream made up in our gentle, soothing naturopathic base.
Contains: SVR20 Ouchy (Arnica 30c, Calendula 30c, Hepar Sulph 6c, Ledum 30c, Hypericum 30c, Pyrogen 6c, Silica 30c)
RRA – Rhus Tox, Ruta, Arnica is a well-known combination of the remedies most helpful for sprains, strains, aches and pains and stiffness, and for bumps and bruises which may be the result of an accident or injury.
The remedies in RRA also have an affinity for symptoms associated with arthritis. They are particularly focused on issues with ligaments, tendons and muscles, so useful for sports people, athletes and gardeners who suffer from over-exertion, and to aid in recovery from accidents, injuries and following surgery.
RRA can also be used during chiropractic, osteopathic or physiotherapy treatment to enhance and support results and settle down any after-effects, and it may be used alongside traditional pain medications.
RRA is also available in a cream made up in our gentle, soothing naturopathic base.
Chronic conditions, while responding to some of the above, are better treated by a registered homeopath with an individualised remedy that addresses your unique symptoms and underlying constitutional weaknesses.
- Nature’s Materia Medica; Murphy, Robin; Lotus Health Institute 2006
- Homeopathy for Athletes & Sports Injuries
Melanie Creedy is a Licentiate of the British School of Homeopathy in the UK and holds a Bachelor of Health Science in Homeopathy. She is registered with the Australian Register of Homoeopaths (AROH) and is a member of the Australian Homoeopathic Association. She was Vice President and Professional Development Coordinator of the Australian Homoeopathic Association from 2011 to 2015 and editor of the AHA National Newsletter from 2012 to 2020.
Homeopathy is a traditional medicine. It may be used in conjunction with other medicines. For any ongoing chronic condition, it is important to be assessed or examined by your healthcare professional or specialist. Always seek medical advice in emergencies. The information provided in this blog does not constitute medical advice but is for information only. If in doubt as to the appropriateness of a suggestion or treatment seek advice from your homeopath.