Natural medicine with Megan Sheppard: Frozen shoulder and fallen arches

As a result of recent reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy, I have frozen shoulder, which has been a reoccurring problem down through the years. I am still healing from the surgery so anything you can advise would be of great help. I think that the scar tissue is part of my problem.

It sounds as if you have enough on your plate to deal with, so of course this is the last thing that you want to be dealing with as you are healing. This will be more difficult to treat using the typical gentle movement recommendations, since you don’t want to aggravate your surgical site(s).

Diet and herbal relief can help your situation though, so it is worth doing what you can to ease your pain. Caffeine is not your friend right now, since it limits the natural ability of the body to create endorphins to deal with pain levels naturally.

Highly processed foods, sugary treats, fatty and deep fried foods, alcohol, gluten, and dairy can all cause inflammation. You won’t need to cut these out forever, just while everything is happening at once. Essential fatty acids are wonderful anti-inflammatory additions to your diet — whether it be through your diet or supplementation.

Turmeric and ginger are well-known herbal anti-inflammatories, but they also provide effective natural pain relief. Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is one of my favourite pain relieving herbs, and I often prescribe this for patients dealing with long-term pain, together with turmeric and ginger as a synergistic approach.

Boswellia serrata is another herbal supplement worth looking at if you can’t get a hold of the aforementioned herbal trio. It is a form of frankincense, not to be confused with the resin that is burned in incense, and it really is effective in reducing joint and muscle pain.

You may be currently on, or recommended anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone injections. This is a short-term solution where severe pain is concerned and once discontinued the pain will return. Strapping the affected area is advised in order to limit swelling.

One last supplement you might want to look into, in terms of helping your shoulder and your surgical recovery, is the enzyme, serrapeptase. This enzyme was developed following research on a bacteria from silkworms, Serratia marcescens, that enable the tough cocoon to be broken down easily. Serrapeptase will reduce any inflammation in the area and break down the scar tissue without damaging or affecting healthy tissue. It has the added benefit of improving wound healing in general by clearing old or damaged tissue, including blood clots, mucous, cysts, arterial plaque, and fibrosis.

Serrapeptase is thought to be of benefit in treating various forms of fibrosis (cystic fibrosis, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, arterial plaque, fibrocystic breast disease, adhesions, pulmonary fibrosis, kidney fibrosis, and of course keloid scarring). Other conditions that it may be useful for include chronic sinusitis, varicose veins, and tumours, malignant and benign.

While shopping for shoes recently, I was told that I have fallen arches. My feet have always been fairly flat. Should I worry or just carry on because they have never given me any trouble so far?

I am a firm believer in the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Having said that, you may find that your shoes wear out more rapidly than most people, you might also have a tendency to develop corns or hard skin on the soles of your feet, and you could even suffer from referred pain that doesn’t appear to be directly related to your arches at first consideration.

Calf, knee, hip, and back pain are all common sites of referred pain associated with fallen arches or so-called flat feet. It is worth going to a chiropodist or podiatrist just to check as to whether an orthotic could be a simple, yet life-changing device for you.


Lifestyle

Ed Power says there are some terrific children’s movies to enjoy as a family so sit back and get zapping.The best children's movies to enjoy as a family this winter

This week I am going to devote my entire column to cakes and baking.Darina Allen on cakes and baking: Buy the finest ingredients and always use butter

WE went shoe shopping for the kids at the weekend. To be honest, I couldn’t see anything wrong with the old shoes.Learner Dad: 'I’m afraid of being in a shop with my kids'

Well first and foremost, it depends what type of cold you have, as Prudence Wade discovers.Should you exercise when you’ve got a cold?

More From The Irish Examiner