At some point in life, if one is adventurous, hurried–or both–accidents may happen. One of the increasingly common injuries (thanks to GMO foods, toxic food additives, fluoridated water and other heinous criminal actions perpetrated upon an unsuspecting populace) is that of ligament tears. Ligaments are those fibrous cartilage bands of tissue that attach muscle tendons to bones. Since these attachments are not as elastic as skin or muscle, if they get stretched too far they tear; sometimes completely away from the bone.
The problem with a ligament tear is that ligaments, being cartilage, don’t get a lot of blood to help them heal. They grow very slowly; much slower than bone or muscle. If the ligament in question happens to have detached from its anchor point on the bone, surgery is required to reattach it. A long convalescence then ensures and that ligament is never as strong again. Commonly referred to as a sprain, an over-stretching or tear of the fibrous/cartilaginous ligament is quite painful and usually involves bruising and swelling of the area.
Beyond reattachment, a ligament repair requires rest of the joint in question; usually at least six weeks of it. It can take up to six months to heal completely whereas a broken bone or strained muscle would take only a few weeks. Pain relief is also usually required after a ligament tear, with the most common medication given being Tylenol with Codeine, Percocet, Darvon-N or other narcotic analgesics. For those who refuse drugs, pain relief can be obtained with topical application of capsaicin cream and ice packs to the area several times a day.
Treatments that can speed healing are somewhat messy but very effective: a poultice of comfrey leaf several times a day and a nightly application of a castor oil pack. The poultice is made using cheesecloth and comfrey leaf tea: boil the tea and place the wet leaves into the cheesecloth and apply it to the injured area for about 40 minutes. Use a heat pack on top. One can also first apply topical DMSO to help drive the medicine in quicker. This poultice should be applied four times a day for at least the first two weeks.
The castor oil pack is used at night, for four nights a week. First do alternating hot and cold packs, always ending with cold, then apply a non-colored natural fiber (cotton, linen or wool) that has castor oil on it. Cover with plastic wrap and then an old rag or towel (be sure to secure it all so the castor oil pack does not move…if you get castor oil on sheets or furniture it doesn’t come out and will smell terrible when it turns rancid). Then place an old item of clothing over the area and further protect furniture with an old towel. Take the pack off in the morning and wash the area well.
These natural treatments may seem like a lot of work-and they are-but they will speed healing and also help reduce the pain of a ligament tear quickly. For those who have never suffered such an injury, think about the worst ‘charlie horse’ spasm you’ve ever had, multiply it at least ten times, and you’ll have an idea of the pain involved with a ligament tear. Of course it’s best to never get a torn ligament but if you have one, these methods will help to get over it much faster.
©2011 Dr.Valerie Olmsted All Rights Reserved