Seven Complex Patient Histories
Mitchell A. Fleisher, M.D., D.Ht., D.A.B.F.M.
Recently I have found a unique, potent, TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) botanical formulation to be remarkably effective for the support and amelioration of musculoskeletal disorders, including acute trauma to muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints, in the form of sprains and strains, bursitis, fibrosis, ligamentitis, tendonitis and tenosynovitis. This joint support formula has also proven to be highly effective for chronic problems, including osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease, fibromyalgia, gouty arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases that affect the musculoskeletal tissues causing inflammation, pain, dysfunction and disability.
From a scientific perspective the botanical constituents in the formula have been shown to help alleviate pain, stiffness, edema (swelling) and inflammation in musculoskeletal tissues and support joint integrity by multiple, biological mechanisms (see Table 1 below for biological mechanisms and details).
Significantly, the natural, anti-inflammatory, cell and tissue protective phytochemicals in the herbal joint support formula provide synergistic, therapeutic benefits that have been shown to be even more effective than NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as ibuprofen and indomethacin. Use of NSAIDs is accompanied by a wide range of toxic and systemic side effects, including inflammation; degeneration and ulcerative lesions of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum; gastrointestinal bleeding; destruction of joint cartilage; long term worsening of arthritis; kidney damage; allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock. Since this herbal formula is completely free of side effects, it offers a safer, alternative, therapeutic option for musculoskeletal disorders.
Clinical research in human beings has demonstrated that the formula exerts potent anti-inflammatory, immune system-modulating and nutritive, circulatory system-protective properties to provide a very significant degree of relief from acute and chronic musculoskeletal problems.
Patient History 1 – Personal Experience
The first case comes from my own, very personal experience with arthritic pain, when I began taking the new joint support formula to observe its therapeutic potential firsthand. My first tangible observation was the complete resolution within two days of the pain, swelling and inflammation of the PIP joint of my right 5th finger due to acute traumatic arthritis. In the next week the chronic pain in my right knee from an old sports injury diminished significantly. By the second week, the discomfort in my left TMJ (Temporomandibular “Jaw” Joint) caused by an old martial arts injury had improved considerably. These benefits persist to this day.
Over the years I have also developed a degree of degeneration of the cartilage in my knees caused by long treks on the mountain trails surrounding my home, and worsened by running, weight lifting and intensive daily practice of martial arts. I had gotten used to the cracking, popping and soreness, whenever I overused my knees, but my condition became acutely worse after a white-water rafting and hiking excursion in the Grand Canyon. After thirteen days of climbing up and down loose shale hills and canyon trails my cartilage had been ground into pieces that I could feel snap, crackle and pop whenever I exerted my knees.
After returning home I went to a sports medicine specialist. After examining my left knee he diagnosed a torn medial meniscus (broken knee cartilage) and severely sprained lateral collateral ligaments. His recommendation was immediate orthopedic, arthroscopic surgery to remove the damaged cartilage. However my research revealed that this procedure actually accelerated degenerative arthritis of the knee, and, I could very well end up with a TKR (total knee replacement) within the next five years.
I decided against surgery, and, after further research, opted for a non-invasive approach to stimulate re-growth and healing of my injured knee cartilage and ligaments called “prolotherapy” (short for “proliferative” or “reconstructive” therapy; for a more thorough explanation read about prolotherapy here. Within six months, my left knee showed so much improvement that I had my right knee treated to prevent future problems.
To this day both knees remain much stronger, but I do get occasional cracking and soreness when I unintentionally overdo it with exercise or working in the garden. If I really push it, my knees may remind me of their “abuse” by waking me at night with sharp twinges. Fortunately, my knee pain is quickly relieved by taking 2 to 4 capsules of the joint support formula twice daily for a week or so. One of the interesting therapeutic effects of this TCM botanical formulation is that the beneficial effects can last for many weeks thereafter if I “behave myself.”
Some of my medical colleagues and I have observed this “prolonged post-use benefit” phenomenon frequently in our patients with mild to moderate arthritic conditions. This effect is theoretically due to the synergistic effects of the herbal components in the formula that promote healthy, balanced metabolism of the musculoskeletal cells and tissues, as well as down-regulation (calming) of immune system mediated inflammation.
Patient History 2 – Bursitis Benches Soccer Player
TD is a 19-year-old college varsity soccer player who presented with aching, burning pains deep in her hip joints and over the area of the buttocks, worse on the left side than the right. Sometimes the pain would radiate down the back of her thighs to the knee. Upon examination it became evident that she had trochanteric bursitis (inflammation of the soft tissues over the hip joint), as well as misalignment of the sacroiliac joints and strained hamstring tendons. An aggressive and enthusiastic player, TD was distraught because she had been “put on the bench” by her coach at the beginning of the soccer season due to the recurrent pains that limited her sprinting ability.
She was prescribed the joint support formula, 4 capsules twice daily until pain relief ensued, then 2 capsules twice daily throughout the soccer season and as needed thereafter. She was also advised to use alternating warm and cold moist compresses over the painful parts and was referred for chiropractic adjustment of her SI joints. Within three weeks of initiation of the prescribed regimen she was back out playing hard on the soccer field.
Patient History 3 – Degenerative Disc Disease
JP, a 28-year-old community college professor and avid weekend athlete, complained of increasingly severe low back pain that radiated down his right leg into the ankle. JP reported that his pain increased when lying flat in bed (making sleep difficult) or rising from his bed or from a seated position. Pain was much worse when bending his back in any direction, climbing stairs, attempting to lift or and carry even moderately heavy objects (over 25 lbs.) or any jarring motions, even from coughing and sneezing. JP added that playing his beloved basketball was, of course, simply out of the question.
He had been taking quite a bit of OTC ibuprofen and prescribed narcotic analgesics, but complained that they upset his stomach, “muddled up” his mind and were not getting to the root of his problem. JP also said that he was “pretty bummed out” by “feeling disabled at his young age.”
Independent physical examinations, including x-ray and MRI scans performed by an osteopathic physician and a chiropractor revealed that JP had degenerative disc disease of the third through fifth lumbar vertebrae with right-sided, partial, spinal disc protrusion between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae. In addition, there was clear evidence for posterior facet syndrome (painful inflammation of the articulating or interconnecting surfaces of the spinal column), as well as for L5-S1 spondylolisthesis (slippage forward of the fifth lumbar vertebra over the first sacral vertebra). Therefore, his pain was due to chronic inflammation and degeneration of cartilage, ligaments, muscles and bone.
His doctors advised him that he would very likely need neurosurgical intervention, which JP refused, since his father and brother had both failed to receive any long-term benefit from their spinal surgeries for very similar problems. He also declined injections of powerful, synthetic, steroid medications into the spine for the same reasons.
JP was initially prescribed specific, acute, homeopathic medicines directed at the unique, individualized pattern of his pain symptoms, to help stimulate his innate, healing defense mechanisms. In addition JP was recommended to begin an intensive regimen including Inflamase (a special, potent combination of anti-inflammatory enzymes and anti-oxidants), Recovazon and Zyflamend (both being unique, potent, anti-inflammatory formulations of highly concentrated, supercritical herbal extracts that inhibit the pro-inflammatory COX-1, COX-2 and LOX enzyme systems, though far more safely than NSAID and steroid drugs), as well as alternating hot and cold compresses, careful, topical applications of DMSO Liquid with Recovazon Gel, and gentle back exercises to improve and maintain his mobility.
At his follow-up visit about three weeks later, he stated that he felt about “40 percent better overall” and that he was very happy that he could tolerate the natural remedies without any of the uncomfortable, adverse side effects of his previous conventional drugs. As a result, we decided to continue his prescribed, natural medical regimen. At his next visit four weeks later, he felt that he had reached a plateau of approximately “50 percent overall” improvement. His pain was no longer excruciating, but he definitely could not engage in any sports without suffering over the next several days as a consequence.
At this point, he was begun on a therapeutic trial of the joint support formula, four capsules twice daily, and was advised to continue his current program. He called the office a little over two weeks later to say he felt that he was making significant progress again. By his six-month check-up JP was feeling “over 85 percent better consistently” and was able to lie down and sleep through the night without pain, stand and teach for much longer periods of time without much discomfort, do somewhat strenuous chores around the house and engage in a game of basketball every other week, albeit at a slower, less rigorous pace. He was quite pleased with his progress and looking forward to more. If his progress stalls again in the future, I will refer him for prolotherapy to help rebuild his spine.
Note: I’ve observed several acute cases of backaches due to musculo-ligamentous strains resolve in short order by using the joint support formula and alternating hot/cold compresses. I’ve also prescribed it for carpal tunnel syndrome, DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis (painfully inflamed thumb and wrist tendon) and whiplash neck trauma with therapeutic success.
Patient History 4 – Inflammation of Fingers, Joints
DB is 53-year-old musician who teaches violin and piano to children for a living. DB came to me after increasing pain, stiffness, swelling and immobility of her finger joints and wrists began to pose a serious problem for her chosen career. An internal medicine doctor prescribed NSAID medications to DB, but after several weeks of use her stomach was “on fire” from acid reflux and DB had to discontinue taking the medication. She then consulted with an orthopedic surgeon who injected her worst finger joint with steroids. While the steroids provided a modicum of analgesic comfort, after two weeks her inflammation and joint pain returned with a vengeance – a typical pattern for post-steroid injections.
I started DB on the joint support formula, two capsules, twice daily, along with warm moist compresses and a series of range-of-motion exercises. After a week DB still complained of limiting pain, though the stiffness and swelling were improving. The dosage was then increased to four capsules, twice daily. By the end of the second week DB reported a very significant reduction of pain and stiffness, so I advised her to gradually reduce the dose to the minimum amount required to maintain relief from pain and inflammation. She is currently taking two capsules of the joint support formula twice daily and is able to play her musical instruments without a problem.
Patient History 5 – Rheumatoid Arthritis
RW is a 46-year-old computer specialist who suffered for several years from increasingly debilitating rheumatoid arthritis. RW’s condition was further exacerbated by painful, bleeding peptic ulcers resulting from his chronic use of NSAID medications. RW came to me in desperation, seeking a safer, gentler source of relief for his inflammatory arthritis and GI problems.
During his first office visit, RW could barely hobble into the examination room, hunched over with a walking cane due to the swelling and pain in his knees, ankles and feet. On inspection, the inflammation in his feet was so severe that his arches had been literally reversed, as if he were trying to walk on “rocker bottom” feet. The palms of his hands and finger joints were also so swollen as to render them “almost useless” in his own words. It was pretty awful to observe.
In addition to constitutional homeopathic medical treatment specifically prescribed to stimulate his own innate healing defense mechanisms and calm down the allergic reaction to his own body, he was initially prescribed joint tissue-supportive supplementation, including a highly purified, high potency, omega 3 essential fatty acid mix called EPA-DHA Super; GC-MSM 3550, and Glutamine powder to promote healing of his NSAID-induced stomach ulcers. RW was also advised to avoid fried, fatty foods which are a source of destructive free radicals that promote inflammation in the body, and to increase his intake of fresh, organic vegetables, especially green, red and yellow vegetables that are rich in antioxidant bioflavonoids that quell free radicals to reduce oxidative stress and damage.
During his follow-up visit eight weeks later, RW reported significant relief of his gastrointestinal symptoms and modest amelioration of his symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. At this point I instructed RW to continue taking the joint support formula, 4 capsules, twice daily, until he experienced sustained relief of inflammation, pain and swelling, and then gradually reduce the dosage, as tolerated, to a maintenance dose of two capsules twice daily.
When RW returned to my office three months later he strode into the exam room triumphantly, walking upright without a cane, and wearing a big smile. Moreover, at this visit, he reached out and shook my hand with a vigorous “hello,” which he had refrained from offering on his initial visit due to the pain in his hands and fingers. RW stated that he had settled at a maintenance dose of three capsules of the joint support formula, twice daily, a dosage that permitted him to remain relatively painless as he pursued his career in computer technology. RW also reported that he was now able to engage in his favorite hobbies of martial arts and backpacking, activities that he had not been able to enjoy for years. Needless to say, we were both very gratified with the clinical results, which have persisted over several months so far.
Patient History 6 – Mixed Connective Tissue Disease
TR, a 64-year-old, female librarian came to my clinic with long-standing MCTD (Mixed Connective Tissue Disease), manifesting predominantly as debilitating arthritic pains. TR had been on high dosages of prednisone and various other NSAIDs, e.g., ketoprofen, naproxen, etc., for several years and desperately wanted to wean off of them, if possible, due to their deleterious effects on her health and well-being, including severe heartburn, weight gain, insomnia and drug-induced diabetes. She was begun on cortisol (cortisone acetate, the natural form of adrenal hormone), in gradual decreasing doses, to replace the prednisone. Cortisol is much better tolerated long term and much better for human physiology.
I also put TR on the joint support formula, 4 capsules twice daily initially, in order to augment the therapeutic effects of the cortisol, and to achieve the lowest possible dosage of the natural steroid hormone. After twelve weeks TR reported that her arthritic pains were very well-controlled, she was off prednisone and taking cortisol, 7.5 mg twice daily (a relatively small dose), along with the joint support formula, 2 capsules twice daily. She said that if she cheated and ate allergic foods and/or spices, e.g., citrus, wheat, corn, soy, cow dairy, tomatoes, cinnamon, garlic, etc., she could readily control the flare-up by adjusting her dosage of the joint support formula to 4 capsules twice daily for a few weeks. TR was very pleased.
Patient History 7 – Traumatic, Comminuted (Crushed) Fracture
The most dramatic case that I have observed is that of CR, an active, intelligent, 72-year-old female with medically controlled insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, multi-vessel coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. CR, who also happens to be a family relative, experienced a terrible, freak accident at a library. While hanging her overcoat on a large coat rack, her toe stubbed into a hidden ridge in the marble flooring, causing her into topple over sideways, striking her left shoulder and left side of her face into a nearby marble column.
At the nearby university hospital emergency room, numerous x-rays and CAT scans revealed that CR had sustained a severe, complicated, multi-fragmented, multi-angulated, comminuted fracture of the proximal humerus (upper arm bone). According to the ER doctor, it appeared as if the bone had “exploded into many small pieces” on impact, resulting in enormous bleeding and painful swelling into the surrounding soft tissues. Fortunately, the tests showed that she had not broken any facial bones, nor injured her brain, though she had a very bad black eye and sore, bruised, swollen face.
After several in-hospital consultations and reviews of her exam and x-ray reports, CR’s orthopedic surgeons declared that it was highly unlikely that her multiple bone fractures would ever knit together or heal properly, resulting in a “non-union” fracture. What they said, basically, was that CR would be left “crippled” with a chronically painful, stiff, disabled left shoulder, which she would “have to learn to live with.”
Despite pleas from family members the surgeons refused to intervene to realign the bone fragments to increase CR’s chances of healing, claiming the risks of complications due to her diabetes, heart disease and age were too high. In the end her doctors offered nothing more than a flimsy, cloth arm sling and narcotic analgesics. And while the meds didn’t provide adequate pain relief, they did make her miserably constipated, further complicating her depression brought on by their hopeless prognosis.
At my urgent instruction to other family members, over the next several days CR was treated with a series of homeopathic compounds to help 1) reabsorb leakage of blood into the soft tissues to reduce the swelling and promote soft tissue healing; 2) reduce pain and promote healing of injured nerve tissues; 3) reduce fracture pain and promote healing of bone tissues; and 4) address traumatic inflammation. Within a few days as the homeopathic remedies began to stimulate and accelerate the innate healing process CR was able to discontinue the strong I.V. pharmaceuticals and switch to less potent, oral narcotic pain medications.
In addition, I immediately prescribed an eight-week course of the joint support formula, 4 capsules twice daily, to help reduce inflammation and promote the nutritive repair of damaged bone and cartilage. I also prescribed Vital Cell, 3 tablets twice daily, to improve microcirculation to and support healing of the injured musculoskeletal tissues. Last, I added GC-MSM 3550, 3 capsules twice daily, for the therapeutic reasons mentioned previously in RW’s case.
CR was soon transferred to a physical therapy rehabilitation center, which the family had to arrange on its own, where she resided for the next several weeks. There the consulting physiatrist (physician specialist in rehabilitation therapy) warned her that while there was very little probability, if any at all, of the fracture healing properly, they would cooperate with the family in providing CR with the prescribed homeopathic remedies and nutraceutical supplement regimen.
The first follow-up x-ray re-examination of her complex shoulder fracture a little over three weeks after the injury, revealed minimal, if any, evidence of bone re-mineralization, a potential indicator of bone healing. However, the soft tissue swelling and bruising was significantly reduced to a greater degree than could normally be expected at this stage of tissue healing following such severe trauma.
At the next x-ray re-examination about three weeks later, there was clear-cut evidence for early bone re-mineralization between the multiple bone fragments. CR was also able to participate in physical therapy exercises to improve the range of motion of her shoulder and arm, activities that were not been recommended by the orthopedic doctors. CR’s physical therapists felt that she was making slow, but relatively good progress despite her chronic illnesses, her age and the severity of her traumatic injury. Due to these encouraging signs of bone and soft tissue healing, I decided to have her continue on the high dose of the joint support formula, along with Vital Cell and GC-MSM 3550 for another four weeks or longer as indicated by her objective and subjective improvements.
To abbreviate what was a prolonged and complicated healing saga, CR was discharged to her home after spending over six weeks at the rehabilitation center, after increasingly positive x-ray evidence demonstrated healthy bone healing and acceptable, gradual progress with her physical therapy.
Now, approximately ten months after CR’s original injury, her most recent x-rays show complete fusion and remodeling of the complex, multi-angulated, comminuted fracture of the proximal humerus of her left shoulder – an outcome which had been deemed virtually impossible by all of her conventional, allopathic doctors. Moreover, CR is once again able to drive her car, go shopping, play Bridge with her friends and even provide motherly “nursing” support for her daughter who is recovering from recent abdominal surgery.
This is the same woman who was told that she would be permanently disabled by a “non-union” fracture accompanied by chronic pain and very limited use of her left shoulder and arm. Though she does experience residual twinges of pain and stiffness from the severe scarring and inflammation caused by the large amount of irritating blood that infiltrated into her injured arm muscles, she is not the “cripple” the experts told her she would be, and she continues to engage in physical therapy exercises to further loosen up the damaged tissues. CR expressed considerable gratitude for the homeopathic remedies and nutraceutical supplements that helped her to heal beautifully beyond prognostic expectations, and she remains amazed at the healing power of the herbal formulas, the joint support formula and the circulatory support formula.
To summarize the most effective, therapeutic regimen that I recommend to my patients: For acute and/or chronic musculoskeletal pain and inflammation, start taking 4 capsules twice daily of the joint support formula, then, as pain and inflammation begin to subside and stabilize, gradually reduce the dosage to 3 capsules twice daily, and finally, to 1 to 2 capsule(s) twice daily, as indicated to help support healing of the pain and inflammation due to arthritis and other musculoskeletal disorders.
In my professional estimation, this new joint support formula represents a major advance in the natural support of the healing of inflammatory problems of the muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints, and provides genuine hope for those who have not benefited from and/or have been unable to tolerate the adverse effects of pharmaceutical drugs. It is an excellent addition to any therapeutic regimen for arthritis and related musculoskeletal disorders, and a safe, powerful, new tool for both licensed, professional, health care practitioners and patients alike. In the final analysis, it fulfills the therapeutic doctrine that underlies my practice of the healing arts, that is,Primum Non Nocere (“First, Do No Harm”).