Preparing for Surgery | Benefits of Comfrey



Newsletter n°46 - 24 April 2018  
  Hello Visitor,

Heard of Preseason, but not Prehabilitation?

Our AFL and WAFL teams have already started preseason training for the simple reason they know it works. Applying the same principal of progressive conditioning and it is logical that improvements in strength, flexibility, pain control and balance will overflow into positive outcomes after surgery. Not only health benefits, but also financial. This particular research looks at total hip or knee replacement surgery.

Can physical therapy before hip or knee replacement surgery improve outcomes?

Findings: Prehabilitation reduces need for postoperative care by nearly 30 percent. Physical therapy after total hip (THR) or total knee replacement (TKR) surgery is standard care for all patients. A new study, appearing in the October 1 issue of the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery (JBJS), also found that physical therapy before joint replacement surgery, or “prehabilitation,” can diminish the need for postoperative care by nearly 30 percent, saving an average of $1,215 per patient in postoperative care. Preoperative physical therapy cost an average o

We would add that it improves your chances of early pain control, improved range of motion and quicker return to normal activities. Like compound interest - early investment reaps greater, later rewards. Appointments are available to assess your current physical condition and then discuss a suitable program to maximise your recovery through Prehabilitation.

Christmas Gifts

Looking for a healthy alternative that won’t clutter a shelf?

Perennially popular ones are;

  • uPamper - hand held massager. If you are looking for a solid, long lasting, hand held massager, this is the one. We have used the same brand in the clinic for years and is available to you. We certainly recommend it for those with tight shoulders, backs, buttocks, thighs and calves - so who is left? Happy to show you how to use it as well
  • Gift Certificates - great for those that like to shop themselves. Can be used for an assessment and treatment or the wide range of pillows, shoes, fitballs, fitness books, braces, protein products and exercise equipment
  • Creams & Rubs. Great brands like Premax and Brauer with active ingredients including arnica and comfrey. These can be used as topical treatments (see next section) or simple to increase circulation, relax muscles and feel good

Natural Medications - Old science, New awareness

Most people have heard of voltaren or nurofen. These synthetic medications are used to minimise the effects of inflammation and can be taken as a tablet or applied as a cream. As an alternative, people use natural products like turmeric root and beneficial comfrey. Here are a couple of research summaries investigating comfrey.

Comfrey and Ankle Sprains

Abstract Weblink

In the treatment of minor blunt injuries several topical drugs are known to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. They represent, however, two fundamentally different major pharmacological therapy approaches: the “chemical” and the “natural” approach. This trial compared the efficacy and tolerability of Comfrey extract (Extr. Rad. Symphyti) ointment with that of a Diclofenac gel in the treatment of acute unilateral ankle sprain.

In a single-blind, randomized, multicenter clinical trial outpatients with acute unilateral ankle sprains (n=164) received either a 6 cm long ointment layer of Comfrey extract (n=82) or of Diclofenac gel containing 1.16 g of diclofenac diethylamine salt (n=82) for 7±1 days, four times a day.

The main assessment was a pain reaction to pressure on the injured area. Secondary variables were the circumference of the joint (swelling) the individual spontaneous pain sensation at rest and at movement according to a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), joint impairment of movements, consumption of rescue medication (paracetamol), as well as the global efficacy evaluation and the global assessment of tolerability.

It was shown that Comfrey extract is not inferior to diclofenac. Moreover, the results of the primary and secondary variables indicate that Comfrey extract may be superior to Diclofenac gel.

Comfrey Ointment and Osteoarthritis of the Knee 

Abstract Weblink

This randomised, double-blind, bicenter, placebo-controlled clinical trial investigated the effect of a daily application of Kytta-Salbe®, (comfrey ointment 3×2g) over a 3 week period with patients suffering from painful osteoarthritis of the knee.

The two hundred and twenty patients examined consisted of 153 women and 67 men of an average age of 57.9 years. On average, the complaints relating to osteoarthritis of the knee had persisted for 6.5 years.

In the course of the trial, the visual analog scale (VAS) pain score in the active group dropped by 51.6 mm (54.7%) and in the placebo group by 10.1 mm (10.7%). The average difference between the groups of 41.5 mm or 44.0% was significant.

The difference between the treatment groups increased systematically and significantly, in parallel with the duration of the treatment. Thus, the superiority of the treatment with Kytta-Salbe® f over that with the placebo is proven, even by means of the multi-factorial multivariate analysis for repetitive measurements.

The results suggest that the comfrey root extract ointment is well suited for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee. Pain is reduced, mobility of the knee improved and quality of life increased. Logic also suggests using comfrey ointment 3 times per day, post total knee replacement.

Availability of Comfrey

These are a couple of recently published research papers examining the benefits of comfrey cream and the reason why we do have available and recommend the use of comfrey cream in cases of soft tissue and superficial joint inflammation.

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