Miscellaneous Ramblings

Topricin Homeopathic Remedy for RSI Aches and Pains

Charles Moore - 2012.03.13 - Tip Jar

Do you experience typing or mousing (these days also swiping and tapping) pain from too many hours on computers, tablets, and smartphones?

Another new category of ergonomic stress associated with handheld device use as smartphones, e-readers, and tablets become the platform of choice for many users is "text neck", which results from frequent texting or looking down at your mobile device for extended periods. Chiropractors say text neck is on the rise. This species of repetitive stress injury caused by flexing of the neck for prolonged periods can result in tightness across the shoulders, headaches, neck soreness, and can even result in permanent arthritic damage if left untreated.

Some suggested strategies to help prevent text neck include:

  • Raise your mobile device (or computer monitor) so it is aligned with your eyes when you read and text.
  • Take frequent breaks every 15 minutes and look straight ahead while tucking the chin back towards the neck every few minutes.
  • Stretch your hands: squeeze a stress ball and stretch your chest by standing up straight with your arms down at your side.

But how many of us will actually do those things?

With computers the main tool of my trade, and being afflicted with both polyneuritis and fibromyalgia, I've struggled with computer interfacing pain for nearly two decades now. I've developed and cultivated a variety of defence measures, such as choosing input devices carefully and switching among them frequently, using dictation software when practical, using a foot mouse for clicking at my office workstation, and so forth. Interestingly, I've found that the virtual keyboard on my iPad 2 doesn't aggravate my symptoms as much as I had expected it to, and it makes a nice change from regular keyboarding as long as I don't overdo it.

TopricinA couple of weeks ago, I received a sample for review of a product called Topricin, a topical homeopathic cream claimed to be effective for Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) pain such as typing pain, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), and other types of muscle and soft tissue pain, and by happenstance it arrived at an opportune moment to give it a good test.

Last Tuesday, the day before Apple's third-generation iPad announcement event, I developed pain first at the base of my right thumb, and soon mirrored on the left hand as well, although not as intensely. I had been typing up a storm and also handling firewood and so forth, and perhaps it had caught up to me. I don't like taking analgesics for that type of pain. I can't use aspirin or ibuprofen, because they aggravate my chronic gastritis, acetaminophen doesn't do much for the pain and has no anti-inflammatory effect, so at best it just masks the pain symptoms, which could cause one to further stress and possibly re-injure the painful tissues, and stronger painkillers make one dopey.

However, there seemed no downside to trying out the Topricin, which has no side effects and is claimed to promote healing as well as pain relief.

I popped open the tube and rubbed some onto the sore spots. The Topricin cream has absolutely no odor or scent, which I appreciated, and seemed to be readily absorbed by my skin, which was the objective noted in the instructions. The homeopathic ingredients are suspended in a vehicle mixture of coconut oil and glycerin, and it doesn't leave a notably greasy residue.

Homeopathy is a category of alternative or complimentary medicine whose advocates and practitioners claim to treat patients using really highly diluted preparations of substances that are believed to cause healthy people to exhibit symptoms that are similar to those exhibited by the patient. The basic principle of homeopathy, called the "law of similars", is "let like be cured by like" - a term coined by a German physician named Samuel Hahnemann in 1796 [and a subject of vigorous controversy ever since]. Homeopathic remedies are prepared by serial dilution with shaking by forceful striking on an elastic body, which homeopaths call succussion. Each dilution followed by succussion is purported to increase the effectiveness a process homeopaths call potentization. Dilution often continues until no detectable amount of the original substance remains. Apart from noting the symptoms, homeopaths examine aspects of the patient's physical and psychological state, then homeopathic reference books known as repertories are consulted, and a remedy is selected based on the totality of symptoms, the objective being to address the illness of the whole person at a deep level.

Development of the Topricin formulation began when a fellow named Lou Paradise found himself in pain with Superior Bilateral Carpal Tunnel Syndrome back in 1985. Paradise had sustained lingering RSI injuries during two tours as a US Marine Corps combat/rescue helicopter medevac and chief in Vietnam, and the physical demands of conducting hundreds of rescue missions of military personnel and Vietnamese citizens. In his case, the CTS caused burning, tingling, throbbing pain from his fingers to his elbow.

Having extensive background in physiology and natural medicine, Lou had also spent some time in Hong Kong in 1965, where he met British and Chinese doctors who had introduced him to various alternative medicine techniques like acupuncture, herbal medicine, and homeopathy. Lou came away impressed by the evident powerful healing potential of these techniques, and began studying them intensively.

Twenty years later, desperate for some relief from the CTS, Lou says he commenced self-experimentation, first by taking oral herbal medicines, which he found had little effect on his pain. Then he tried some single ingredient homeopathic medicines, and again got very little relief. From that experience he deduced that maybe a combination of homeopathic medicines delivered in a cream base and applied to the specific site of the pain might be the answer.

Lou experimented with select combinations of homeopathic medicines from the 3,000 different ones available and says he began to feel measurable improvement in just a few weeks. Thus was the prototype for the Topricin formula born, and more than 25 years later, Lou, now 65, claims it has kept him pain-free, symptom-free, medication-free, and enjoying restoration of full functional mobility and range of motion. In an interview with Hudson Valley's David Levine, Paradise expresses pride in his autodidactic approach to research and product development for Topricin, noting, "If I had been classically trained, I would never have made this discovery."

"Prescription and over-the-counter oral medications are not the way to treat pain," Paradise contends. "We are bringing ancient health and healing practices to modern medicine so people can really get better and stay well . . . We're not just treating the pain, we're looking at the causes of the pain and offering-pain relief based on healing, not just deadening symptoms."

Topricin pain relief and healing cream was introduced by Topical BioMedics Inc. in 1994 and is claimed to be America's leading natural therapeutic topical treatment. It combines 11 different homeopathic medicines that are claimed to work synergistically to relieve pain associated with a wide range of ailments injuries, including fibromyalgia, arthritis, lower back and shoulder pain, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, and sports injuries. Specifically, Topricin's eleven homeopathic medicines, with their healing qualities claimed by the homeopathic Materia Medica are:

  • Arnica Montana - For injuries and bruising to the muscles and joints. Arnica is considered especially useful for arthritis, joint injuries, and bruising
  • Rhus Tox - For sprains, arthritic pain, and backaches
  • Ruta Graveolens - For relief from injuries to the bone or bone covering; often used to relieve trauma to the knee, shin, elbow and cheekbone
  • Lachesis Muta - For relief from sciatica, arthritis, lower back pain and carpal tunnel
  • Belladonna - Relief of pain, spasm & inflammation to muscle tissue
  • Echinacea - Anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial
  • Crotalus - For improving localized circulation, and considered effective for bruises and contusions, and for accelerating repair to damaged nerves, joints, and muscles
  • Aesculus - For chronic pain, especially in the legs & varicose veins.
  • Heloderma - For relief from burning sensation in the hands or feet.
  • Naja - Relieves inflammation and pain in nerve tissue in the treatment of Carpal Tunnel and neuropathy
  • Graphites - For relieving symptoms of skin conditions

The theory, as Mr. Paradise noted, is that rather than masking pain like most over-the-counter topical pain relievers, Topricin stimulates the body's natural healing process. There are no known side effects, drug interactions, or counterindications to using this product. It also was patented in April 2010 for treatment of pain associated with fibromyalgia and awarded the 2010 Parent Tested/Parent Approved Seal of Approval.

Topical BioMedics Inc. has also added two complimentary products: Topricin Junior Pain Relief and Healing Cream, specially formulated for treating children, and Topricin Foot Therapy Cream, which is formulated to address foot and ankle pain, particularly for sports injuries, including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, leg cramps, and shinsplints, as well as impact injuries, bruising, strains. and sprains. It is also claimed to be effective for reducing heel pain, heel spur pain, gouty arthritis, peripheral neuropathic pain, and neuroma.

Topricin products

As I noted above, homeopathic theory is nothing if not controversial, and the explanation of how it's supposed to work beggars credibility for scientific-minded folks. Critics cite studies that have found homeopathy to be no more effective than a placebo, noting that at higher dilutions, homeopathic remedies may not contain any pharmacologically active molecules at all, and for such remedies to have any pharmacological effect would violate fundamental principles of science. Advocates counter that some individual studies have demonstrated positive results and cite evidence of homeopathic therapy's effectiveness in veterinary medicine, where the placebo-effect would presumably not apply.

Homeopaths propose that the water used in homeopathic dilutions has a "memory" that allows homeopathic preparations to work while containing only an "echo" of the original substance; but critics riposte that there are no verified observations or scientifically plausible physical mechanisms to support such a phenomenon. The antagonistic hypothesis that "homeopathy does not work because it cannot work" is an unscientific assertion in itself, because it is more philosophical deduction than proven observation.

Homeopathy garners rather more respect in Europe and other parts of the planet than it has in North America for the past 100 years or so. In the UK, 42% of MDs refer patients to homeopaths (British Med. Jour. 292, 7/7/86), homeopathic outpatient clinics are part of the UK's national health system, which funds five homeopathic hospitals, and the discipline is recognized as a postgraduate medical specialty through an act of Parliament. The British Royal family have been avid supporters of homeopathy for four generations, and Queen Elizabeth II's homeopath and rheumatologist, Dr. Peter Fisher, is also the clinical director at the National Health Service's Royal London Homeopathic Hospital.

In Germany, in order to become a Homeopathic Physician, individuals must attend a three-year training program, and the homeopathic anti-flu medicine Occilococcinum has been a bestseller in German pharmacies at times. Some homeopathic treatment is covered by the public health service of several other European countries, including France, Denmark, and Luxembourg.

In India, there are over 150,000 homeopathic MDs, over 100 five-year homeopathic medical colleges, and reportedly 10% of the population (approximately 100 million people) relies primarily on homeopathy for healthcare. The Indian government recognizes homeopathy as one of its national systems of medicine, and a minimum of a recognized diploma in homeopathy and registration on a state register or the Central Register of Homoeopathy is required to practice homeopathy in India.

The reason why homeopathy persists despite the barrage of opprobrium and scorn from conventional medical circles is that many users perceive it as being effective - and not just the gullible and desperate. A friend of mine who has a postgraduate professional engineering degree in computer science swears by Occillococcinum as a flu remedy for his family.

Personally, I've been a patient over the years of at least seven licensed professionals who practiced homeopathy to varying degrees, five of them MDs, one a naturopath, and one a pure homeopath, although only the latter relied solely, or even primarily, on homeopathic treatments. Based on my experience with various homeopathic therapies, I'm neither a convinced cheerleader nor a hardened skeptic. Some homeopathic remedies have seemed to work, while others did not.

So, did the Topricin work for my sore hands last week? Well, by Wednesday, the pain had decreased, and I managed to get through the iPad release day without great discomfort. By Thursday, I was definitely on the mend, and the symptoms had disappeared by Friday.

Would the quick recovery have happened anyway even without the application of Topricin? That's the imponderable, of course. However, the positive outcome is anecdotally interesting; at least I find it so, especially since the Topricin also seems to be helping with another rheumatic pain problem and/or injury that's been plaguing me for a couple of months now.

Consequently, I'm provisionally impressed and will continue experimenting with Topricin for future aches and pains to determine whether the apparent success I had with it in the hand pain episode last week is repeatable.

As I see, the big advantage of homeopathic therapy it is that the medicines tend to be relatively inexpensive, and at worst won't cause any harm - given the extreme dilutions - not something to discount lightly with pharmaceutical side-effects reportedly now one of the top three causes of death in North America. I have to say that the explanation of how homeopathy works sounds somewhat nonsensical, but I'm humble enough to venture that just because I find the concept hard to accept on scientific criteria doesn't mean that it doesn't work. And so far Topricin seems to.

Conventional scientific knowledge and medical theory don't explain everything.

Topricin is available either directly from the Topical BioMedics online store, and also in pharmacies, natural food stores, and other retailers, including Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe, Vitamin World, Fred Meyer, and Wegmans. A 2 ounce tube of Topricin Ointment sells for $16.95, and the product is also available in two larger sizes: a 4 ounce jar for $24.95, and an 8 ounce bottle at $39.95. Street prices may be less.

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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at Applelinks.com and a columnist at MacPrices.net. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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