Even I, as a naturopathic medical student, am awe struck by what I have seen in the last week.
My wife had major ankle surgery to restore movement once again. For two years, we have tried every form of physical medicine and rehabilitation. We managed to maintain some semblance of movement but no way could she point her toes upwards.
After meeting with 10+ orthopedic surgeons, all of which wanted to fuse her ankle joint, my wife's naturopathic physician finally found one that did not. Ankle fusion was not the way to go for her as she is only 28 years old and the outcome of fusion for her is not the best as she is quite young.
Dr Lowinger, a podiatrist, found that her condition was due to ankle arthrosis and may be improved by 'cleaning up the joint space.' This is what I was looking for the last year of searching. It was a welcome alternative to fusion even if it fails. We are at least giving it a shot.
The surgery lasted about 3 hours. A quick summary:
- 5 incisions
- calcaneal shift anchored by screws
- removal of osteophytes by hammer and bone chisel
- grinding down of calcaneus surface
- tendons pulled on to allow access by surgeons
Not pleased with these options, I purchased the drugs anyhow in case my pain relieving method failed her. Not a bad idea given the severity of her surgery and the likelihood of intense pain. I planned on using these prescriptions but wanted to give a natural alternative a shot first.
Natural Alternative for Post-Surgical Pain Relief
This is what I did and in no way am I suggesting that you self-treat for post-surgical pain. What worked for Nadia may not work for all and should not be played with without discussing with your physician.
Arnica Montana 200C, homeopathic based medicine. $6.00
According to Dr. Roger Morrison, MD, in his book, Desktop Guide to Keynotes and Confirmatory Symptoms, Arnica is "extremely useful in postoperative patients for both pain and to promote more rapid healing."
That was enough for me to try it. I have studied homeopathy for a solid year as well so I know what I am doing in terms of dosage and determining which remedy to use. It is a tricky business - especially when to dose, when not to and what strength to dose is even more complicated.
At the onset of pain, Nadia dissolved the remedy under her tongue. The next morning she said she was beginning to feel the onset of pain again. I repeated the dose. That evening, the onset of pain was apparent so I repeated the dose but this time a lower strength.
She has not repeated the dose since and has not had any pain beyond what she called "heaviness and pressure."
Not bad at all after such an event. Not one tear, grimmace, flinch or ouch. I am amazed. The surgeon is floored. So am I.
Nadia is on her 'roll-about' already. This device allows her to move around the house without crutches and without bearing weight on her leg. It's pretty handy. She cannot be on it long as the blood rushes down to her foot.
For those who doubt homeopathy, I completely understand. I still doubt it in certain situations. Yet when I doubt it, I may still try it as it may just be what is needed. I doubted it to relieve post-surgical pain and it worked way beyond my expectations.
When homeopathy is used properly, it can be an incredible medical tool. It is inexpensive, easy to administer, never expires and is used on infants to terminally ill.
What is homeopathy?
That is a question that takes books and books to answer. One must read the Organon of the Medical Art by the founder of homepathy, Samuel Hahnemann, to obtain the basic understanding. I've read it and re-read it. Time to do it again.
Naturopathic medicine and traditional medicine are a great mix. In Seattle, these two are quite integrated and patients are obtaining health more quickly, less expensively and more effectively.
As a future naturopathic physician, I am already finding myself integrating with the standard medical field and happy to be a part of it. One must not disregard either method of medicine as they are equally necessary.
Without MD's, my wife's ankle would be toast. Without ND's, her post-surgical experience would have been much different.
A recent publication in the Journal of Family Medicine outlines pretty well of what patients can expect from naturopathic medicine.
The surgical team and my wife:
Dr Dan Lowinger, MD, DPM
Dr Maegan, MD, DPM, 2nd year resident
Dr Pat Buckley, ND
I will post updates on Nadia every week or as major events happen.