A Long Shot
May 31st 2013, 14:47 | Bryan Hubbard
Last January, after sustaining an injury to one knee during a particularly heated hockey match, our 16-year-old daughter Anya, a sports scholar, was handed the diagnosis most dreaded by athletes of any age: complete rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee. The ACL, one of the crisscross ligaments attaching the knee cap to leg bones, is pivotal to any movement of the knee, and a complete tear such as Anya sustained can spell a death sentence for any future sports.
The standard treatment is surgical reconstruction, which entails taking tissue from a tendon or hamstring, attaching this onto a bit of borrowed bone, refashioning something resembling an ACL ligament, and screwing the lot onto the thigh and shin bones. After the operation, the patient is on crutches for weeks and then undergoes some nine months of rehabilitation before getting back to normal play.
Both the orthopaedic surgeon and physio cautioned us that there was no other course open to us; just leaving well alone, for instance, would spell an almost certain end to her sports career, and lead to pain and arthritis in later life. ACLs, they argued, don't just heal by themselves.
It didn't take long to discover that the received wisdom of medicine, as is so often the case, is wrong: ACLs apparently do heal by themselves. In one study where victims of ACL ruptures were examined, 14 months later virtually all had normal knee ligaments.
We also discovered something called 'prolotherapy', which is little regarded by the mainstream but has been used in various circles for more than 50 years. More formally called 'sclerosant therapy', the treatment involves injecting an irritant like dextrose and phenol into damaged tendons or ligaments to 'shock' the body into high gear, so provoking a healing response that lays down new collagen and essentially rebuilds the injured connective soft tissue.
Although it's been used for years to treat lax (floppy) tendons and ligaments and minor tears, a few musculoskeletal and sports-injury specialists have successfully used prolotherapy on cases of total ACL and Achilles tendon ruptures. After seeking advice from specialists on both sides of the Atlantic, we located an experienced British consultant for Anya, who has just completed the final set of injections.
Her knee is healing so nicely (and is now as stable as the other one) that we decided to put American health writer Alison Levy on the case, who describes how this little-known non-invasive therapy is transforming back pain issues as well (page 68 on June issue of WDDTY Magazine).
And speaking of received wisdom, with truth and reason in such short supply over the recent measles outbreak, we've decided to revisit the subject and reveal the facts that the media and government aren't telling you (page 24 on June issue of WDDTY Magazine). Another government cover-up concerns the UK's blood banks and the fact that they are highly contaminated with the deadly vCJD from blood donated by silent carriers of this human version of mad cow disease (page 18 on June issue of WDDTY Magazine).
We've also taken issue with the latest UK and US 'official' dietary recommendations about the amount of protein, carbs and fats that make up the ideal diet (page 34 on June issue of WDDTY Magazine), and offered up all the reasons why you need a higher fat and protein alternative. Our Medical Detective Dr Harald Gaier sorts out one reader's health issues with seven good reasons to steer clear of wheat (page 84 on June issue of WDDTY Magazine).
The most important move common to any sport-whether it's golf, tennis or Zumba-is knowing how to twist your body, but it's also the movement pattern never included in any exercise regimes, according to WDDTY's resident exercise specialist Paul Chek. Follow his few simple exercises and you can get set to do the twist (page 42 on June issue of WDDTY Magazine).
Our Food as Medicine columnist Annemarie Colbin shows you which foods can sort out your particular hair and nail problems, including patchy balding (page 52 on June issue of WDDTY Magazine).Anat Baniel shows how small but novel movements retrain your brain to overcome limitations in your back and neck (page 66), while Kathy Glenn describes how the Alexander Technique saved her from a lifetime of painkillers after she'd damaged her back (page 78).
Check out the alternative treatments for insomnia and fibromyalgia (page 47) and, from our resident Alternative Pet Vet, discover the connection between your cat's cystitis and changes in its routine (page 56). And if you or another family member is scheduled for bypass surgery, be sure to read this article first (page 58).
In our new Healthy Shopping section, you'll find a host of safer products for home and personal care, including sugar-free energy bars and skin cleansers that are truly squeaky clean (page 87).