I just stepped outside, and why my joints are all aching became clear, it’s cold. My thought processes meandered and I started thinking about glucosamine sulphate. If I was a homebirth midwife in the States it would be likely that I would be into alternative therapies but I am really quite a conservative little person and so, although I support women using aromatherapy, reflexology, hypnobirth and homeopathy during pregnancy, labour and postpartum, I tend not to use it myself. This is not because I fear I may do myself any harm, I would just rather stick with conventional medicine. I may start taking glucosamine though as I’m fed up with taking voltarol constantly when my joints are aching, I’m not too happy with the salutary tales I hear about it’s prolonged use. Considering alternative therapies, and my aversion to some of them, took me to when Hubby had a ‘slipped disk’ back in the 80’s. At that time he was a manic squash player and was always doing himself some damage whilst on the court, on one occasion his back was giving him grief so he took himself off to an osteopath. The result of this one appointment was to make me extremely cautious of any alternative therapies, particularly those which involve manipulation. Basically, Hubby left the house with discomfort and returned in extreme pain. Investigations revealed that he had a herniated disc. At this time he had just started working for himself, so when major surgery was suggested as the only solution he refused. Eventually his life was ruled by his pain and mobility problems, family life was non-existent, all his reserves were used up working. Somewhere we heard about this orthopaedic guy who was starting to use a new technique, chymopapain injection so Hubby made a private appointment to see him. What a wonderful medic. He saw Hubby at his private clinic, assessed his situation, and admitted him to his NHS hospital 2 weeks later where he did the procedure. Hubby was out of action for a minimal amount of time, and apart from a hiccup about 5 years ago, all is well. This demonstrates why I have been ambivalent toward different therapies, the osteopath may not have caused the disc to herniate, but he certainly exacerbated the situation.
What makes a technique an ‘Alternative Therapy’? Is it just that it has not been accepted into treatment regimes within the medical practitioners realm, there is enough research out there to show that some non-medical interventions do have positive effect so why do some health professionals still regard it with such disapproval? Perhaps it is just a case of some professionals wishing to keep health issues and their treatment ‘in-house’.
Certainly, I will always regard osteopathy with suspicion due to our experience with it. However, when one of my children was a baby and there was a whooping cough epidemic I used homeopathy to attempt at giving her some protection. It was actually my G.P who recommended it! No, she hadn’t had the vaccine as I had developed encephalitis following a vaccination against smallpox so the medical advise was that none of my children should have the pertussis jab. Daughter didn’t develop whooping cough, was it the homeopathy? I don’t know, but it did give me peace of mind and did her no harm.
For me it’s the ‘no harm’ that is important. I really don’t mind what anyone uses as an adjunct to traditional medicines and treatments, as long as it doesn’t harm them. This could be by dangerously delaying them accepting a needed traditional intervention, as in my woman suffering a PPH whose husband insisted she not be given drugs, he would use Shiatsu to stop the bleeding. It didn’t stop the bleeding and she ended up losing 2 litres of blood and requiring a transfusion, or by the actual substance used causing a problem, as in Black Cohosh.
Well, round in a complete circle here. I started off musing about Glucosamine and thinking I might start taking it so I wouldn’t have to take Voltarol (diclofenac sodium) so often, due to the problems it may cause. Everything has a risk attached. Basically it’s all just how serious you perceive that risk to be.