Recently, while performing a chiropractic adjustment on a patient, I felt an immediate pain in my elbow. From my body building background and many years in health care, I knew exactly what had happened. I had a significant strain of the long head of the triceps tendon where it inserts at the elbow.

"Wait, this can't happen now!", I thought to myself. "I've got more people to treat today, tomorrow, next week..."

When a sprain or strain occurs blood vessels in the area get leaky and inflammatory cells come to the area. This causes the pain, swelling and bruising. My recent injury brought to mind a solution I have been using for myself and my patients. I will share this solution here about how to speed up healing of most musculoskeletal injuries.

I immediately started taking proteolytic enzymes within an hour after the injury occured. Proteolytic enzymes are a category of enzymes which helps to break down the formation of inflammatory cells that aggragate to an area after an injury. Enzymes are protein based molecules that speed up reactions. Some specific names of proteolytic enzymes are protease (derived from the fungi group Aspergillus), papain (from papaya), and bromelain (from pineapple). Immediately using proteolytic enzymes after a muscle, tendon, ligament or cartilage injury is very important. Numerous research studies performed over the last 70 years repeatedly show a significant improvement in pain relief, controlled inflammatory response, minimal or no brusing in the affected area, and rapidly accelerated connective tissue repair.

This reminds me of a more drastic experience of the efficacy of this that occured last year when I injured the lateral meniscus of my right knee at the gym. I was doing squats with 225 pounds, and on the 12th repetition I felt a sharp sudden pain in my right knee. I examined it and determined that I had a slight partial tear of the lateral meniscus. I stopped working out, showered, and went back to the office and started talking proteolytic enzymes, 2 each hour without food. I did that for the next 10 days. I also performed some physical therapy on myself using a cross-friction massage technique to the edge of the lateral meniscus. I had another doctor in the office perform cold laser therapy twice within that 10 day period. The meniscus was healed up to the point that I could go back to squats with 225 pounds in the gym by the 11th day post-injury without pain!

An even more drastic experience occured in November 2007. I fell and injured my left knee. My quadriceps muscle tore off where it attached to my left knee. While lying on the floor in excruciating pain, right after it happened, I asked my wife to get me the proteolytic enzymes and I took 3 right away. I took 3 every hour or two up until I had surgery to repair the muscle tear a few days later. The serious injury never had any bruise the whole time up to the surgery which surprised the surgeon. In addition, I didn't need any pharmaceutical painkillers either before or after the surgery!

Proteolytic enzymes enhance normal tissue repair, while anti-inflammatory medications inhibit normal tissue repair. Proteolytic enzymes also inhibit scar tissue formation which is the cause of much of the residual pain and muscle or joint stiffness.

Skeptics may say this is anecdotal, and these are cases of one individual, but over the last 20 years, I have had many patients experience the benefits of proteolytic enzymes. As I mentioned earlier, there are 70 years of research literature supporting this. This is a great solution for anyone from the average person to the professional athlete. I highly recommend this solution for most muskuloskeletal injuries, unless you are taking blood thinner medications, in which case consult your doctor.

So how is my injured elbow? Well, the pain is minimal and I expect to only miss 1 scheduled training cycle for working my chest and triceps.

Copyright © 2009; Douglas Husbands, DC, CCN, ABAAHP. All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Dr Husbands has been helping people resolve chronic illness and improve their health for over two decades in the San Francisco Bay Area. He graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology/Human Physiology in 1983. In 1991, he graduated from Cleveland Chiropractic College of Los Angeles and became a Doctor of Chiropractic. In 1996, he earned his post-graduate board certification as a Certified Clinical Nutritionist with the International and American Associations of Clinical Nutritionists, and in 2000, he became a certified Anti-Aging Health Care Practitioner with the American Board of Anti-Aging Health Practitioners. In 2003, he completed training in Functional Medicine with the Institute for Functional Medicine. Dr. Husbands has been sought for expert opinion by national health magazines and been published in peer-reviewed journals. He has taught many classes and lectured extensively to a wide variety of audiences on natural health topics and functional medicine. He sees patients at the Athens Chiropractic Clinic in San Carlos, CA. He offers phone consultations for those who live outside of the area. To contact Dr Husbands visit his holistic healthcare practice website.