By Dr. Alan L. Bass, DPM, FACPM, CPC
Central Jersey Foot and Ankle Care, PC
What is the Best Way to Treat Your Patient’s Pain?
I know the question posed above seems like an easy one for most reading this. It seems like all the physician needs to do is take a simple approach. Prescribe a painkiller of course, or at least prescribe a medication or something that is most likely going to treat the cause of the patient’s pain.
Many times, patients just want to have their pain relieved, but it is important for physicians to explain to patients that there is most likely an underlying cause for the pain. In many cases the underlying cause is biomechanical. Additionally, when physicians actively engage their patients in their treatment, the outcome is usually better. Whether a patient is encouraged to walk more, perform therapeutic exercises for their foot and ankle problem, when a patient feels they are an active participant and not just passively waiting for something to happen, more times than not, a patient will participate.
Getting back to the question about pain. Physicians also must look at their patients in total and not just their presenting problem. While in medical school, a professor said something very wise: “As a podiatrist we don’t treat feet. We treat patients who have feet problems.” What does that mean? After assessing the patient as a whole person and not just one with a foot problem, it might not be as easy to just prescribe a painkiller or other medication to treat pain. Your patient may have hypertension, diabetes or another medical condition that would prevent the prescribing of an oral medication. Your patient may be taking a cocktail of medications that may cause a drug interaction with something they are already taking. You see? It’s not as simple as you might think. In addition to that, patients may also not want to take medication. How many times have patients said to you, “I really don’t like taking medication.”
Now that I have you thinking, let’s talk about two new products that I have started using in my practice that have been well accepted by my patients: Doctor Hoy’s Natural Arnica Boost Recovery Cream and Doctor Hoy’s Pain Relief Gel. The first question you may have is, “What makes these different from other topical products that I have used in the past?” To begin with, both products use natural ingredients. Doctor Hoy’s Arnica Boost Recovery Cream is homeopathic and contains Arnica Montana 1X HPUS 5%, a natural product with anti-inflammatory properties. The alpine plant Arnica Montana is recommended by physicians for treating injuries on account of its alleged ability to control bruising, reduce swelling and promote recovery. Homeopathic arnica is popular with patients undergoing surgery, who hope it will reduce postoperative complications. It is also important to know what sets Arnica Boost Recovery Cream apart from other arnica products. The active ingredient in Arnica Boost is also designated HPUS, which stands for Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States, which defines the production and usage standards recognized by all reputable manufacturers and the federal government. This shows the product was prepared to the high standards of the official guidelines. Additionally, a 2014 review study published in the National Library of Medicine, a part of the National Institute of Health, showed that applying topical arnica gel was found to be as effective as topical ibuprofen, a common pain reliever, at reducing osteoarthritis pain and improving physical function (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4105203/).
Moving onto Doctor Hoy’s Pain Relief Gel. What sets this apart from other pain relief gels is that it contains both camphor and menthol, while other gels contain just menthol. Camphor and menthol are both topical analgesics, providing pain relief. While camphor will provide a warming feeling, the use of a product containing menthol as well will also produce a complementary cooling sensation. The cooling feeling also provides a feeling of decreased inflammation.
In the time that I have been dispensing Doctor Hoy's Arnica Boost Recovery Cream and Pain Relief Gel, it has been my experience that using both topicals in combination has worked well in providing relief while treating inflammatory conditions in my patients both short and longer lasting. If I can get away from addressing inflammatory conditions with medication and can use both a homeopathic and biomechanical approach, that will be the primary approach in the future.