C hiropractors are often asked to assist their athletic and sport enthusiast patients who are seeking performance enhancement, rapid healing from injuries, inflammation and bruising, and pain relief. Whether pain is acute or chronic, it is important to utilize safe and effective methods to provide relief and speed the healing process.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and aspirin are readily available for pain relief, but can cause damaging side effects. Prescription pain medications offer temporary relief, but are typically accompanied by a list of contraindications, and have been linked to an increased risk of strokes, heart attacks, addiction, and other harmful side effects. In these instances, the side effects of these medicines can be far more serious than the condition being treated. In response, safe, effective alternatives to allopathic medicine are on the rise, as chiropractors, integrative health practitioners and their patients seek healthier solutions.
As a chiropractor, you take the whole person perspective in solving any health problem. This includes the physical, mental and emotional aspects of health. Nutritional supplements offer biochemical support. I encourage you to also include the application of the effective and safe bioenergetic approach that homeopathy offers. I have found that homeopathic forms of Arnica montana offer safe and effective relief for trauma and pain associated with any injury, including those from sports. The use of homeopathic Arnica can positively enhance your practice as you work with a variety of clients, from young children to professional athletes.
Faster results can be achieved using advanced homeopathic arnica protocols. They can dynamically:
- Increase your percentage and speed of results
- Proactively prevent injuries
- Proactively enhance sports performance
- Help with chronic recurring and degenerative conditions
- Eliminate the healing crisis
Arnica montana, or leopard’s bane, has been used since the 1500s for its varied healing properties. Arnica has been used for centuries in treating soreness, sprains, bruises and traumatic injury. Specifically, homeopathic Arnica has gained attention in recent years for its pain-soothing and inflammation-reducing qualities.
Homeopathy has a history that goes back more than 200 years, and is based on the well-known Law of Similars: “Like cures like.” Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician and chemist, was the first to organize and expand upon this knowledge, developing a system now called “homeopathy.” He found that when natural substances from plants, minerals, or animals were taken in a toxic dose, which produced a set of symptoms in a healthy person, that the same substance, in an extremely diluted and potentized form, given to a person ill with those symptoms, would help the person overcome the illness quickly and safely. Arnica montana, for example, has been shown in various materia medicas to act (in its raw herbal form) on the muscular and cellular tissues and tendons, producing symptoms like those someone would receive from an injury. It also works on the capillaries and can stimulate their absorbent power. A feeling of being bruised or sore is one of Arnica’s main characteristics.
Therefore, following these indications, homeopathy uses the ultradilution and potentization of Arnica montana to treat the same symptoms of bruising, soreness and inflammation. When prepared homeopathically, Arnica has no negative side effects and is safe for anyone – from babies to seniors. Because of its solid history, homeopathic Arnica has gained popularity as a pain reliever, which has spurred more clinical studies.
Positive Research Studies
Homeopathic Arnica formulations have undergone a number of studies and double-blind tests. These results have shown a measurable benefit in reducing pain and inflammation. Some of the studies involve the typical homeopathic solution that is taken internally via pill or liquid dilution, and some involve the use of Arnica as a topical cream or gel. However, there are two forms of topical Arnica on the market. One is the herbal form that is made with the herbal extract of the Arnica flower and mixed with a gel or cream. The other is the homeopathic form which is also made from the extract, but diluted and shaken (succussed) and then infused into a cream or gel for topical use. Neither of these topical forms should be ingested, as they may cause nausea and other reactions. However, studies on these topical forms have shown very positive results.
One trial used 53 patients to study whether topical Arnica montana cream would decrease subjective leg pain following calf raises. After applying the Arnica cream and the placebo cream to opposite calf muscles, the subjects were asked to use a scale to rate the pain at 24, 48, and 72 hours after exercising. The study showed that after doing the leg raises and applying the Arnica cream that the pain was significantly less up to 24 hours later.
Three placebo-controlled, double-blind, sequential clinical trials done on patients receiving three different types of knee surgery found that in all three trials homeopathic Arnica made a difference in postoperative swelling and pain.
Another study of 82 marathon runners found that homeopathic Arnica helped ease muscle soreness.
In one trial, both Arnica gel and homeopathic Arnica tablets were given to 37 patients with carpal tunnel release surgery. The 2002 study measured grip strength, wrist size, and pain levels. The conclusion was that although the grip strength and wrist size were the same as the placebo group, the pain levels were significantly less for those who ingested the homeopathic Arnica tablets in addition to using the topical Arnica gel.
A clinical trial conducted in 2008 treated 204 patients with osteoarthritis in their hands. One group used Arnica gel while the other group used ibuprofen 3 times per day. After 21 days it was found that Arnica gel was equally effective as ibuprofen in treating pain intensity, functionality, and stiffness of the hands.
In another double-blind, randomized study it was found that topical Arnica ointment reduced bruising in patients who had been subjected to a pulsed dye laser.
With homeopathic Arnica's history of success, an increasing number of doctors are using it to relieve mild to intense pain and bruising following surgeries and injuries. It is helpful for inflammation, bruising, soreness and in speeding up recovery time. Arnica is an important first aid remedy, primarily for its ability to minimize pain, inflammation, bruising, and even bleeding. It is recommended to take the internal homeopathic form 3 times per day for chronic conditions. Acute pain and new injuries can be treated every ten minutes as needed, with the time period between doses increasing as the pain and swelling subsides.
I know many coaches and fitness specialists who rely on Arnica to help their team members ease pain, soreness, and aftershock from muscle strains or sprains. The use of Arnica is commonplace among weight lifters and runners. Arnica can minimize sore muscles and stiffness, and reduce the discomfort of strained ligaments.
Given the evidence in studies and personal trials, Arnica montana has strong historical validation as a pain and inflammation reliever. More research may be crucial to help solidify the impact that Arnica montana can offer. An FDA-approved drug since 1938, homeopathic Arnica has no reported negative drug interactions and has been deemed safe for patients who take other medications in addition to Arnica.
Recommended Advanced Arnica Protocols
1. Using the whole plant. Using an Arnica product that uses the whole plant has a significant therapeutic benefit. The whole plant is the stem, the root, and the flower. Each of these parts of the plant provides a unique therapeutic benefit.
2. Using multiple potencies. In my research, I have discovered the significant benefit of using multiple potencies of each remedy being administered. The lower homeopathic potencies (3X, 6X, 3C, 6C) address the more superficial aspects of an injury. The middle range homeopathic potencies (12X, 30X, 12C, 30C) better address the internal or glandular support needed for healing. The higher homeopathic potencies (200X, 200C, 1M, LM1) address deeper weaknesses and even genetic predispositions to a disease or injury. These high potencies also address the mental and emotional components that are often associated with chronic and recurring injuries. An Arnica product with multiple potencies provides a broad and powerful spectrum of therapeutic benefits.
3. Using multiple deliveries. I use homeopathic Arnica orally, topically and olfactorily. With a spray, all three deliveries can be achieved with one product. Your patient can use the spray orally, and then spray it topically over the affected area. For added benefit, have the patient spray the air in front of their face and inhale some of the mist. When inhaled, homeopathic Arnica directly impacts the frontal lobes of the brain and the limbic system, providing the deepest therapeutic actions upon the body. Additional benefit can be gained by using homeopathic Arnica creams as topical complements to spray products.
By using these treatment protocols, you will experience the dynamic results that homeopathic Arnica can offer your chiropractic practice. I encourage you to begin applying the many benefits of homeopathy by utilizing Arnica in treating your sports patients with pain or injuries. The use of homeopathic Arnica will also improve your patients' overall health and sports performance.
- Adkison, J.D., et al. (2010, October). The effect of topical Arnica on muscle pain. Ann Pharmacother, 44(10), 1579-84.
- Brinkhaus, B., Wilkens, J.M., Ludtke, R., et al. (2006, December). Homeopathic Arnica therapy in patients receiving knee surgery: results of three randomized double-blind trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 14(4), 237-46.
- Melzer, J., Saller, R., Suter, A., & Widrig, R. Choosing between NSAID and Arnica for topical treatment of hand osteoarthritis in a randomized, double-blind study. Rheumatol Int DOI 10.1007/s00296-007-0304-y.
- Tveiten, D. & Bruset, S. (2003). Effect of Arnica D30 in marathon runners. Pooled results from two double-blind placebo controlled studies. Homeopath., 92(4), 187-9.
- Ross, S.M. (2008, July-August). Osteoarthritis: a proprietary Arnica gel is found to be as effective as ibuprofen gel in osteoarthritis of the hands. Holist Nurs Pract, 22(4), 237-9.
- Alonso, D., Lazarus, M.C., Baumann, L. (2002). Effects of topical Arnica gel on post-laser treatment bruises. Dermatol Surg., 28, 686-688.
- Jeffrey, S.L., Belcher, H.J.. (2002). Use of Arnica to relieve pain after carpal-tunnel release surgery. Altern Ther Health Med., 8, 66-68.
- Brinker, F. (2001). Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions (3rd ed.). Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications.
- Leu, S., Havey, J., White, L.E., Martin, N., Yoo, S.S., Rademaker, A.W., & Alam, M. (2010, September). Accelerated resolution of laser-induced bruising with topical 20% Arnica: a rater-blinded randomized controlled trial. Br J Dermatol, 163(3), 557-63.
- Schulz V, et al. (1996). Rational Phytotherapy, A Physician's Guide to Herbal Medicine (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.
Dr. King is a noted researcher, author and speaker, and is the founder and president of King Bio, a vertically integrated pharmaceutical company. Dr. King and his staff are committed to enhancing public health through research, product development, manufacturing, and education. King Bio produces safe, powerful and effective natural medicines, which are distributed in multiple markets. You can reach Dr. King at
or through the website at www.kingbio.com.