Homeopathy can complement chiropractic care for back pain, practitioner says

Sep 26 2011
Chiropractors treating conditions such as acute back pain and sciatica can supplement their care by treating patients with homeopathic care, a practitioner wrote on a chiropractic medicine site.

An estimated 80 percent of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Pain may be chronic or acute. Chronic pain is persistent and may be caused by disease, age-related degeneration or lingering effects of injury to any of the structures of the spinal column, which includes the vertebrae, facet joints, intervertebral discs or surrounding muscles and ligaments. Acute pain can be severe and usually happens immediately after an injury. It should resolve itself with six weeks, according to the National Institute of Arthritis Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The first line of treatment for acute pain may include analgesics such as aspirin. There are also non-pharmaceutical approaches to chronic or acute back pain, such as acupuncture or chiropractic care.

Jamie Oskin, ND, practices homeopathy, which he believes can complement chiropractic medicine. Homeopathy was developed more than 200 years ago and relies on two concepts, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), part of the NIH. The first concept is "like cures like," which says that an illness can be cured by a substance that would cause symptoms similar to that disease in a healthy person. The second concept is "law of minimum dose," meaning that a medicine becomes increasingly more potent as it becomes more dilute.

All chiropractors considering homeopathy have to first consider a few things, Oskin wrote on Chiroeco.com. They must diagnose their patients thoroughly, characterize location and patterns of pain, determine symptoms other than the pain that may have been caused by injury, consult homeopathy references and ask patients open-ended questions to describe their condition rather than yes/no questions.

Homeopathic medicines are usually made from animal, mineral or plant sources in small quantities, Oskin said. Common preparations for back pain include Rhus toxicodendron, byronia and belladonna. Sciatica may be treated with Magnesia phosphorica and Colocynthis. Appropriate treatments and dosages can differ from one individual to the next and should be approached as such, Oskin said.

Any patient considering homeopathy should remember not to use it as a total replacement for conventional care, NCCAM said. People should inform their primary doctors of all complementary treatment they receive, and ask practitioners about their level of training and experience.

NCCAM is supporting research into the relative strengths and effectiveness of diluted homeopathic medicines.