Post Shoulder Surgery or Injury – Diet, Healing & Natural Anti-inflammatory Supplements

Diet and Healing

There are a bucketful of diets today, all touting superiority to the health benefits they provide. I personally recommend the Mediterranean Diet as outlined in Dr. Andrew Weil M.D.’s book, “Eating Well for Optimum Health”. The diet emphasizes the daily consumption of fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes and nuts. Starchy items such as breads, pasta, rice and potatoes are a part of the diet as long as taken in moderation. The diet gives more emphasis to cheeses, yogurt, fish, poultry and eggs than red meat. This Mediterranean diet adheres to nutritional recommendations and is associated with lower incidence of cardiovascular disease and obesity. It also has the proper balance of micro and macronutrients needed for optimum healing.

I know that there are some diets recommending pure protein consumption with very little glucose (sugar) intake. I do think that these diets are acceptable for temporary or quick weight loss, but do not use these when trying to heal an injury. You need protein, fat (preferably mono-unsaturated fats) and carbohydrates to heal and rebuild your body after an injury or surgery. I recommend fruit, vegetables, pasta, bread, chicken, eggs and fish as mentioned above. One can also increase protein intake by taking a supplement protein drink with your meals. I personally like Promasil, which has 24 grams of protein in each serving. I also add 10 grams of powder Glutamine, which is essential for muscle repair and improving the immune system.

Natural Anti-inflammatory Supplements

As we are all aware, injuries and shoulder surgery are associated with pain and swelling. I personally use Motrin for inflammation and soreness, but I also use natural herbs to help with inflammation and healing. Many of my patients cannot take anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDS) because of the side effects or allergic reaction to these medications. I find these natural supplements very useful to take instead of or in conjunction with NSAIDS. Medical studies / research show evidence of the following in these natural supplements:

  • Decrease inflammation
  • Decrease pain
  • Decrease inflammatory markers in the body (C-reactive Protein)
  • Increase antioxidant activity
  • Increase Nitric oxide in the body
  • Help increase blood flow

Arnica is a plant (Arnica Montana) in which the flower is harvested and used to reduce swelling and decrease pain. Studies have shown it to be helpful in arthritis, muscle, joint pain, and bruising. It can be taken orally or placed on topically.
Oral dosage I take:
For acute pain or swelling – Arnica 6X, 5 pills three times per day.
For chronic pain – Arnica 30X, 5 pills twice per day.
Topical dosage:
Arnica comes in creams, lotions and liquid forms. Apply to swollen, bruised or
painful area twice per day. Do not apply to open or healing wounds.

Turmeric or Curcumin
This spice is the main component of curry powder. It has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects in the body. Curcumin is a fat-soluble supplement, so taking this with a meal will help the absorption into your body.

Oral dose I take: Meriva ®
My dose is 1000mg twice per day when needed.

This supplement is a gum resin taken from a tree. It has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat swelling for thousands of years.
Oral dosage I take:
Two 350mg capsule twice per day. May be taken with meals.

Bromelain (Protease)
This is also known as ‘pineapple extract’ and helps support the immune system and decrease inflammation. Bromelain appears to work by decreasing the receptors in immune cells that cause inflammation. Bromelain (Protease) needs to be taken on an empty stomach to avoid its breakdown while in the stomach.
Oral dosage:
I take 2 capsules (641mg / capsule) twice per day on an empty stomach when I have inflammation.

Omega-3 fatty acid
This is an essential fatty acid. Our bodies do not make this fatty acid and it is necessary for normal body functions. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to decrease pain, decrease swelling, lower triglycerides and be heart healthy. The American Heart Association recommends taking 1 gram daily.
Oral dosage:
I take 1 gm every day.

I love this topical agent for sore or knotted up muscles. If you ever get those muscles spasms in the neck and shoulder area you should try putting some Milkweed Balm directly on the site.
Topical dosage:

I apply to the affected area twice per day. Especially at night before you go to sleep.

I have found that these two businesses offer these products in Austin:

Peoples Pharmacy, 6 locations in Austin

The Herb Bar 200 W. Mary, Austin TX, 78704

Disclaimer: These supplements are generally safe. Do not takes these supplements if you are pregnant, have a bleeding disorder or you are taking medication to slow blood clotting. Children should not take these unless cleared by their pediatrician. As with medicine, do not take more than the recommended amount. Talk with me or talk with your physician before you start using these supplements since some may interact with the medication you are taking.

This resource has been provided by Edward Seade, M.D. as general information only. Additional information can be found by visiting our clinic. Please call for an appointment at 512-583-0219

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