Holistic Treatments for Elbow Healing
If you have suffered an elbow injury, then this article is for you. Especially if you have been undergoing treatment for elbow pain and are getting minimal relief… keep reading. Holistic treatment may be an option for you.
Initial Emergent Care
If you fracture your elbow, you’re likely going to have surgery. At least, that’s what I was told. Surgery or letting the elbow mend itself… but with the “mending itself” option, there’s a large chance that full use of the elbow will never return.
So, after shattering my elbow on the pavement during a bike crash, it was surgery for me.
Sure, in emergencies we need conventional care. That’s why we have emergency rooms, operating suites, and hospitals. When something’s broken, it needs to be fixed. And, sometimes, quickly.
Even during the initial emergency, there is a place for holistic treatment. As I hopped up on the operating room (OR) table, I told the anesthesiologist and OR nurse how I was a reiki master. While the anesthesiologist placed the needle for the nerve block, I was babbling on about how my holistic nursing friends were sending me and the care providers healing thoughts. As I drifted off, I was breathing deeply and sharing self-reiki with myself.
There you have it. Holistic treatment during a surgical procedure.
Recovery Phase: Perfect Time for Holistic Treatment
After surgery, you’re likely going to have to go through physical or occupational therapy (PT/OT). You’ve got to start moving the elbow joint, so that it doesn’t become stuck in place.
I knew the OT office and staff all too well. Because of my elbow fracture, it was recommended that I attend OT three times a week and do hourly OT exercise at home.
Oh, the frustration. It was mentally draining, emotionally exhausting, and physically painful. Every hour, on the hour, I’d look at my husband and say, “Time to do my exercises…” After 20 minutes of exercises, I’d sit and ice my arm for another 20 minutes. Then it was a bit of rest before doing it all over again the next hour.
Going through elbow rehabilitation and the toll it can take on you, it’s the perfect time to integrate holistic treatment to your conventional care.
Holistic Treatment Options for Elbow Recovery
The following suggestions aren’t meant to be an exhaustive list. There are so many holistic treatments available and it’s important that you find something that works for you.
Another thing to note… holistic treatment is not meant to take the place of conventional care. Holistic treatment isn’t something you should do instead of what you’re already doing. Holistic treatment is meant to be a complement to the care that you’re under. So, keep your appointments, take your medications as prescribed, go to PT/OT, and keep following up with your providers.
That being said, let’s have some fun discussing a few holistic options.
The first holistic treatment that might be helpful is acupuncture. Acupuncture is a healing practice in which thin needles are placed at specific points in the body. Acupuncture is primarily used to relieve pain, which can be great for those of us healing after elbow surgery.
Just as the body responds to heal from a small cut, the acupuncture needles “wake up” the immune system and parasympathetic nervous system. As the needles are inserted, the body begins its targeted healing response to the placement of the needles.
Yoga is a gentle way to move the body. Yoga can relax the body and may promote healthy sleep patterns. For people like us, who’ve had elbow surgery, getting adequate quality sleep is crucial for physical healing.
Yoga can also increase energy, uplift your mood, and relieve stress. Dealing with elbow surgery recovery takes a toll on the whole person – physically, mentally, and emotionally. The healing benefits of yoga are often felt long after the practice is over.
And, you may find that you’re not able to do all of the rigorous exercises that you did prior to your elbow accident. Sure, you will be able to at some point… but likely not in the immediate months that follow elbow surgery. Yoga is accessible because of the easeful nature of stretching and breathing. Poses can be modified for the person’s needs and props can always be used to help the body practice.
Reiki is a holistic treatment that’s ideal for elbow rehab. Why? Because you don’t have to do anything at all!
During a reiki session, you would typically sit or lie flat, not moving at all. Your only job is to be still, be comfortable, and relax. The practitioner taps into universal healing energy, inviting the healing vibrations into your body.
To be honest, when I first learned about reiki, I was skeptical. I didn’t understand it. How could a person, sitting there with their hands extended out, give me healing energy?
Good news is… you don’t have to understand reiki for it to help. In fact, in my opinion, you don’t even have to believe in it. What I would do… just try it out. Experiment for yourself to see if reiki is a holistic treatment option that supports you.
If anything… it’s a chance to lie still, maybe even take a nap, and rest.
Reiki can support elbow recovery as it may encourage relaxation, assist the body’s natural healing processes, and allow for deep rest which can reduce pain. It’s a great option, if you’re willing to try.
Ready to heal after elbow surgery? Check us out and come join us!
About the Author: Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, HNB-BC, RYT (200) is a board-certified holistic nurse, registered yoga instructor, and reiki master.
Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is a certified coach and avid meditator.
Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and playful pit bull. She enjoys gardening, jigsaw puzzles, farming, music, and hiking.