Natural Herbal remedies for Painful Degenerative Disk Disease and Fibromyalgiaby Sandy Little Lizard on 09/20/11
First let me remind you to visit my disclaimer page. I am not a physician and if you have medical problems, please seek their diagnosis and investigate their treatment for any disorder.
With most of my research there is often someone that presents with a health problem that becomes the catalyst for study and seeking a more natural approach for healing the body. Recently a family member has been diagnosed with this painfully debilitating disorder. I struggle watching the levels of frustration and pain that comes with this debilitating disease. I have seen others as well and noted that other problems began to appear long before this ultimate damage to the spine occurred. Sometimes I have seen Fibromyalgia, CFS [Chronic Fatigue Syndrome], Arthritis, Depression and other neurological issues appear first. Sometimes these have not been recognized and are not diagnosed until symptoms are such that medical help is sought and a diagnosis is extended for a Disorder. Because it has been my experience that one disorder often presents with another, my research for this covered several issues that may or may not surround the disease and the alternatives that I will share may very well assist in helping with the preliminary problems.
I believe that many if not all forms of illnesses begin long before the physical body presents with degeneration and symptoms. There seem to be common issues that are shared by those with Fibromyalgia, Degenerative Disk Disease, Lupus, MS and other neurological disorders. An extended period of emotional trauma from serious losses, holding deep emotional baggage, major stresses or change in life style, consistent emotional changes that don't allow us to process them completely because of so many changes all seem to be the common thread among those suffering with these disorders. It translates into DIS-EASE within ones self.
Because this is what I have observed I encourage anyone with these issues to not only treat the physical disorder and physical symptoms, but to work towards releasing and resolving within oneself the emotional discomfort as well. This can take time to work through issues that you may believe you have already processed on the mind level. A gentle surfacing of these issues from a soul level by writing, counseling, chakra work, meditation, even massage can work wonders in bringing a more permanent resolve to the physical degeneration. If we remember that the emotional upheaval was consistent, then we can reasonably think that focusing on our healing with that same consistency is needed. After the body has already diminished it can be difficult to bring it completely back to whole healing, but I personally have seen Lupus retreat back to Fibromyalgia over a few short years of working on all levels, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, to heal. This is not a promise, but simply a ray of hope for those of you who suffer so dearly in pain and are so limited now with your disease.
Here is what I have found in my research about the disease as well as herbal remedies that others have used. My hope is that consolidating these remedies you will find something that will help you in your healing process.
About Degenerative Disk disease: one site claims that From 40 to 80 percent of the population suffers from this disease. The treatment for this disease can range from surgical intervention, physical therapy, and many various complex techniques. The disease begins with the loss of elasticity of an intervertebral disk. The intervertebral disk within the spinal column begins to erode and wear down and so becomes hard and inflexible. The Mayfield Clinic states that it can often lead to arthritis, disk hemiation, spinal stenosis and other health problems. Often, the inflexible disc will find a weakened area of the protective cover and begin to bulge out of the spinal column, causing pressure to build on surrounding nerves. This common cause of pain can result in what is called Sciatica. While it was commonly thought that surgery was the only way to alleviate the pain, many sufferers are discovering herbal treatments to alleviate the inflammation and irritation.
Malfunctions can cause severe pain in various parts of the body from the damage to nerves and connective tissue. It can manifest pain and numbness in the legs, hands, head, and even pain in internal organs. There are so many ideas as to where treatment should begin. I will simply list options and suggestions of alternative treatments and methods that I found in my research.
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1. It is suggested that diet can help to improve elasticity and slow the progression of the disease.
Vitamin groups of B,C,E and PP to improve elasticity of cartilage. PP is vitamin B3 combo of Niacin and niacin amide. This site also suggested that , are you ready?, 30 g of vodka or 150 g of natural wine a day could improve metabolic processes. Also listed were consumption of green teas, tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelons, green apples, gooseberries, red current and grapes to deduce waste.
2. Massage and Physical exercise and Physical Therapy are also strongly suggested. Please start small and gradually increase. Do not hurt yourself for fear of causing more damage.
3. Natural Remedies for Topical Compresses and Ointments that can be used for inflammation or muscle and joint pain from DDD , Fibromyalgia or Arthritis
A Compress or poultice is taking an herbal combo or specific product in a warm cloth and wrapping an affected area.
a. Place fresh clean cabbage leaves over painful spots. Wrap with warm cloth and keep on for 6 to 10 hours. Known to reduce inflammation and pain.
b. Mix 50 g of Aloe juice, 100 g of honey and 150 g of vodka. Let it stand for 3 to 4 days. Use as a compress. Repeating 8 to 10 times is suggested.
c. Combine crushed wormwood with plain yogurt to make a paste. Apply to the painful spine areas.
d. Cayenne contains capsaicin, which inhibits the release of neurotransmitters responsible for communicating pain sensations. Topical applications of cayenne powder mixed with wintergreen oil can help relieve muscle pain. 1 part cayenne powder to 3 parts wintergreen oil. Cayenne can also be used topically by itself if made into a paste. Cayenne by itself can be taken orally in capsule form.
e. Essential oils can also be used topically. Please be careful using Essentials. They can burn the skin because they are pure. You may want to use witch hazel or carrier oil as a base for your essentials. Here are some topical agents in herb form or essentials that are suggested. Arnica, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Lavender, Chamomile, Myrrh, Basil, Juniper berries, Cayenne, Black Pepper.
f. Mix together 1 part crushed juniper needles and 6 parts crushed laurel leaves. Combine with 12 parts of fresh unsalted butter and use as an ointment.
g. Mix 1 tbsp of Hops and 1tbsp of butter making a paste for affected areas.
h. Combine 250g of sunflower oil, 250g of kerosene and 10 pods of red hot pepper. Keep in a warm place for 10 days. Rub affected areas before going to bed. My own thoughts on this one is the smell, the oil or mess on the sheets. Give some thought to protecting your bedding.
i. Take equal parts of egg whites, vinegar and turpentine. Combine egg whites and vinegar and mix about an hour until thick. Then add small portions of turpentine and mix well. Apply twice a day.
j. Sweet Flag roots and thyme are also suggested by combining equal parts, crushing and bring to boil in 3 L of water. Steeping for 3 hours. Add this to your bath water. Suggestion is to be done 10 to 12 times.
k. Steep 300 g of knotweed grass in 5 L of boiling water for 2 hours. Filter and add to the bath water. Suggested that you take a bath for 15-20 min. Treatment consists of 5 to 7 such bathes, taken every other day.
4. Natural and Herbal remedies for internal use that can be used for inflammation or muscle and joint pain from DDD , Fibromyalgia or Arthritis or assist in the healing process of these disorders.
a. Eliminating excessive salt deposits from the bones and joints is important. This is a remedy for that. Put birch and aspen bark, 1 kg each and 100 g of oak bark in 5 L of boiling water and boil for 30 min. 1 kg is 35 ounces, 100 g is approx 1 cup. 5 L appears to be a little over a gallon. Suggested use is taking a half cup 3 times a day.
b. Dissolve 1 tbsp honey in 1 cup of warm water, boiled twice. Suggested use is to Drink in the morning and in the evening, 1 hour before bed. Do this for 1 month, take a break for 2 months. This can be repeated later.
c. Steep 1 tbsp of dry yarrow grass in a cup of boiling water for 1 hr. Take 1 tbsp 3 times a day.
d. Steep 1 tbsp of tansy flowers in 1 cup of boiling water for 2 hrs. Suggested use is to Filter and drink 1 tbsp 3 to 4 times a day 20 min. before meal.
e. Make a tincture of dry lilac flowers. Take a bottle of flowers, add vodka and keep in warm place for at least 10 days. Filter and it is suggested that 15 to 30 drops be taken 3 times a day. This can also be used for compresses.
f. Boil 1 cup of oat grains in 1 L of water at low heat for 30-40 min. Filter and drink 1/2 cup 3 times a day before meals.
Herbal Alternatives for DDD and Fibromyalgia
I want to mention again that these are simply suggestions and if you have not read the disclaimer yet, you might want to be sure and visit it. I am not a physician and I do not prescribe nor do I diagnose. With research, my own experience with herbal medicines, suggestions from my Chiropractor and Homeopathic Doctor as well as utilizing the gifts of my Native Teachings I have had enormous success in using Herbal teas, supplements, diet and alternative methods in healing many of my own health issues. I say this to express my continued confidence in these methods. They are called alternatives because often the Medical profession is frustrated in finding a lasting solution and are limited to only treating the symptoms of so many disorders.
Herbal Medicines made from our Plant helpers are very powerful and should be respected. If you decide to utilize this method you will want to do your own research on the herbs and supplements. Prescriptions often have serious side effects. This may be less in alternative and herbal medicines but they still can have side effects and precautions for us. In particular contraindications may be apparent with any western medicine prescriptions you may be on.
By way of example as to how powerful herbal medicine is, let's talk about St. Johnswort. This has incredible success for depression. A natural anti depressant. However, if you are already on an anti depressant and you take St. Johnswort you are double dosing taking them together. Also, did you know that taking St. Johnswort before you have surgery could be fatal. Anesthetic and St. Johnswort do not like each other.
Another example would be Valerian Root. This is a natural herb that is comparative to Valium. Actually in my research I have discovered that Valium could be considered a synthetic of Valerian Root. Surely then you would not want to take them both. Again, double dosing.
A healthy respect for any form of healing is all I am focusing on. Herbs, Prescription medicine, Vitamin supplements and even diet. Know what you are taking, know why you are taking it, know the precautions of what you take, know the side effects of what you take and of course how one will interact with another. Just a little research is all that is needed.
Below will be a list of Herbs and supplements that I found in my research for DDD and for Fibromyalgia. Some of these I have used in the past for Arthritis, Gout and other painful disorders.
These often are hard to find but I will list them anyway because Chinese herbs seem to be so very effective. I will list alternatives for them later. We try to stock an assortment of Chinese herbs and their alternatives in the Little Shoppe of Auras.
Chinese herbs and their alternatives have been known to treat not only the pain but the condition itself.
Radix Achyranthis Bidentatae [ Ox-Knee Root] has been used in ancient Chinese medicine as a means of alleviating arthritic conditions. The properties of the herb help ease discomfort within the joints and strengthen the bones and muscles within the body.
Ramulus Mori the most powerful antioxidant in ethanolic extracts of Ramulus mori. Eases the joints and muscle spasms. It is manufactured from the branch of White mulberry is very similar to the native red mulberry.
Dong Quai is a frequently prescribed herbal remedy in the treatment of degenerative disk disease. Dong quai encourages healthy blood circulation, is an anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. This is helpful in treating the inflammation and muscle spasms. Please not that this herb also is commonly used in estrogen replacement for woman who are moving through menopause.
ADDITIONAL HERBS more readily available
Antioxidants are commonly used to treat inflammation and are readily available in herbs such as, Turmeric, Clove, Oregano, Sage, Green Tea, Allspice, Cinnamon, Peppermint, Thyme, Lemon Balm, Burdock, Rosemary, Marjoram, Hyssop, Tansy leaves, Bayberry leaves, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cayenne, Angelica root, Coriander and Garlic. These are listed in order by their levels of potency. In commercial herbs these potency levels are lessoned but still effective. It was suggested to me in treating my rotator cuff issues to use Bromelain. This is an enzyme found in Pineapple. I began using Turmeric and Bromelain together and had amazing results with alleviating pain and inflammation, returning movement in my shoulder.
White Willow Bark is an alternative to doing aspirin. It actually is what aspirin was derived from. It can be a little hard on the stomach and it is suggested that nutmeg be used with it to ease in digestion. Ginger Tea can also be used as an aspirin replacement.
Devils claw is commonly used as an anti-inflammatory herb. It also aids in the replacement of connective tissue.
Oats as mentioned in a topical agent above is also suggested.
Slippery Elm is another herb suggested for treating pain and inflammation.
Combining Burdock, Slippery Elm, Sheep Sorrel and Turkish Rhubarb has shown good results in improving Fibromyalgia. Should be avoided if Rheumatoid Arthritis is present. These are the herbs commonly known in the Ojibwa recipe for Essiac Tea that is used in treating cancer.
Enhancing the immune system function can be done using Garlic, Cayenne, Goldenseal, Astralagus, myrrh and Chaparral. All of these also improve circulation. Ginkgo Biloba improves circulation as well as brain function. Improving your immune system allows for repairing much needed muscles and tissues, booting circulation increases the flow of nutrients to the body.
Passionflower, Valerian Root, Skullcap and Hops aids in sedating, sleep disorders that may come from DDD and Fibromyalgia and they offer muscle relaxant properties as well.
Licorice root acts in the body like cortisone, but without harmful side effects. It also supports the glandular system. Caution if overused, licorice can elevate blood pressure. Do not use on a daily basis for more than seven days.
With all healing processes the whole body should be considered. Purifying the blood, helping liver function as it processes toxins, etc. Milk thistle, turmeric and my favorite, Dandelion supports liver function and helps in purifying the blood. Dandelion also reduces pain and strengthens connective tissue. My people, The Cherokee treat it like a one a day vitamin.
Pine Bark and grape seed extracts are used as anti-inflammatory that can ease pain.
Red Clover can be used to purify the blood, increase circulation and clear the lymphatic system. Caution Red Clover thins the blood. Caution should be used and this should not be used in large doses. This can trigger a healing cleanse causing flu like symptoms. If you are on blood thinners for the heart, Red Clover should NEVER be used.
Calendula taken orally in high doses has been known to have a positive effect in reversing symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Depression is common with DDD as well as Fibromyalgia. If you are being treated for Fibromyalgia you may already be on an anti depressant. It is common to treat this disorder with anti depressants. However, if you are not, you may want to try St. Johnswort for the depression, stress and anxiety. It helps by inhibiting neurotransmitters which influence mood.
Glucosamine - Glucosamine sulfate is a naturally occurring chemical found in the human body. It is in the fluid that is around joints. Glucosamine is also found in other places in nature. For example, the glucosamine sulfate that is put into dietary supplements is often harvested from the shells of shellfish. CAUTION If you have an allergy to shell fish, this supplement should not be taken. At the end of a study, researchers found that glucosamine slowed the progression of knee osteoarthritis. People in the glucosamine group had a significant reduction in pain and stiffness.
SAM-e is the newest dietary supplement being talked about in America. It is not an herbal remedy. It is a compound produced by our bodies from methionine. This is an amino acid found in protein-rich foods. How does SAM-e work? With additional help from vitamin B-12 and folic acid, SAM-e relinquishes a methyl group from its composition to surrounding tissues and organs. Through this action, SAM-e helps with the maintenance of cell membranes, removal of toxic substances from the body, and the production of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters.
Precaution with SAMe: People with bipolar disorder should not take SAMe, as it may worsen manic episodes. People who are taking the drug levidopa (commonly prescribed for Parkinson's disease) should avoid SAMe. People taking antidepressants should not use SAMe without first consulting their doctor. The safety of SAMe in pregnant or nursing women or children has not been established.
Due to all the precautions and the common use of antidepressants for DDD and Fibromyalgia this seems to be limited but thought I would share the information.
I know this was a very long article, but for the sufferers of DDD and other painful disorders I thought all of the information I found in my research should be shared in its entirety.
Currently I am blending a New Moon Harvest Tea that will focus on DDD and Fibromyalgia. I have an Arthritis tea that is blended to include Rheumatoid Arthritis. This DDD blend I am hoping will assist on a deeper level.
In closing I want to encourage anyone suffering to please also address what I had talked about in the beginning of the article. Emotional Baggage, release of traumas and losses. We offer Chakra Cleanses at the Little Shoppe of Auras, As well as Energy Sessions, Massage Therapy, and Spiritual Readings. All of which could help on the other mental, emotional and spiritual levels of healing. We can connect you with other Practitioners and healers to help you to treat the whole body.
The information above came from many sources. My own experience and teachings and many links. To help you in your own research here are some of the links I found helpful.