November 30, 2004

HEALTH WATCH: Alternative Path – Getting to Grips With Back Pain

AS Synergy we had a physiotherapist who also used acupuncture to treat patients.

She emigrated to Australia. We also had the services of an osteopath who moved to Wexford.

I hope that neither move was enforced by association with us! So we are on the look out for a physical therapist ( osteopath or physio) in the new year. In the meantime I have had to adapt other techniques to deal with pain.

I trained in acupuncture so I use massage on relevant acupuncture points. I use a lot of pressure for this - as much as the sufferer can tolerate - to free up spasm. When it comes to massage oil there are all kinds available but I find Olbas Oil (used for sinuses and quite cheap) as good as any for chronic injury.

It produces a lot of heat but I would not use it in acute injuries where, instead, we would use cold packs and DMSO, a natural anti-inflammatory made from wood extract. It can be massaged on and works very well with topical anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen - the DMSO seems to enhance their potency.

DMSO can also be taken orally though it tastes awful - or you can have it administered intravenously under medical supervision..

After massage I use homeopathic injections from Heel Remedies combined with lidocaine. Heel make a wide range of homeopathic preparations including injections. Commonly I use Spascupreel for muscle spasm, Traumeel and Zeel for inflammation, Discus Compositum for inflamed discs and Co-enzyme compositum to help speed up the healing process.

Usually I would inject acupuncture points but often I simply inject the most tender area around the part with the most muscle spasm. I learned of this approach through a special training course and I'm surprised how effective it is at relieving pain.

From a nutritional point we use magnesium (often injected initially), fish oils combine with ginger (Biocare), MSM, glucosamine and chondriotin.

Posture is important and it's advisable to do warm-up exercises before sport.

There are many other techniques for easing pain. Shiatsu massage can benefit a lot and even the use of magnets shows great effect.

* Dr Finbar Magee - For appointments * (028) 9070 9300