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Applying a naturopathic approach for recurring shoulder tendonitis worked wonders for ‘Julia’
A common complaint amongst menopausal women is recurring tendonitis and or bursitis of the shoulder.
Julia, 55, came in recently with this complaint in addition to her menopausal complaints. She had been taking ibuprofen every day for the last month and her shoulder pain was not getting any better. She had not injured it recently, although she spends long hours at the computer in her work place. This has never given her trouble before.
I explained to Julia that our naturopathic approach is to look at her shoulder pain as a result from many causes. I took her detailed history and discovered the following:
1. she was experiencing joint discomfort and had stiff hips on both sides
2. she slept poorly due to hot flushes
3. her shoulder pain was right sided
4. she clenched her jaw at night while sleeping.
5. she had a car accident many years ago but her neck was never assessed afterwards.
I find many people are low in minerals including magnesium which is a natural anti-spasmodic. A good balance of minerals is not only important for muscles and tendons but for joints as well. These also helped her sleep better. Women, as they enter into menopause, may have increased joint pain due to a lack of estrogen. I assessed Julia’s hormone levels and found her low in estrogen. She opted to try using bioidentical progesterone and estrogen together to help balance her hot flashes and pain.
During my assessment of her organs I found some weakness in her gallbladder which can often relate to right sided neck and shoulder problems. I suggested to her a simple protocol to help drain the liver and gallbladder.
I also suggested to Julia that she see a chiropractor to assess her neck after all of these years since her accident. I recommended to her non force technique chiropractors that use the NUCCA or an “activator” technique. She was much more comfortable with this approach. Subluxation of her neck was found to be definitely contributing to her chronic shoulder pain. Regular massage therapy was also recommended to reduce muscles spasms of her neck, shoulder and upper back muscles.
Many years ago her dentist had told her that she was damaging her teeth and gums by clenching her teeth at night. A night guard was fitted but it was too uncomfortable so she rarely wore it. I suggested another dentist for a refit and she found her new night guard very comfortable. This helped control the morning headaches she was getting due to jaw pain and eased her neck and shoulder pain. She also found great relief in the natural anti-inflammatory I prescribed. A good formula will contain therapeutic doses of curcumin, boswellia, and bromelain. I also find methylcobalamine B12 injections to be helpful for bursitis of the shoulders. Julia was able to stop using ibuprofen.
Gentle exercises to maintain a full range of motion is always part of the treatment program to prevent “frozen shoulder” or adhesive capsulitis. I provided Julia with a few that she was to practice twice daily until she was improved then once daily until symptoms were gone. Continuing a once weekly gentle yoga practice goes along way to keeping muscles and joints supple.
With this multi-systems approach Julia’s sore shoulder resolved much more quickly and she was happy to be feeling so great going through menopause!
Dr. Ingrid Pincott, naturopathic physician, has been practicing since 1985 and can be reached at 250-286-3655 or www.DrPincott.com