The patient: “Nancy” is a retired orthopedic surgeon in her early 70’s. She lives in rural northeastern Ohio with her horses and cattle on a “working” farm that she dearly loves. Her sister is a patient of mine who lives locally. Nancy came in to see me for an evaluation during a visit to her sister.

Why she came to see me: A rotator cuff injury and a seasoned “allergy” to surgery brought Nancy to me for alternative treatment. She had developed an injury from strenuous overuse involving the rotator cuff, a complicated ring of tendinous attachments of muscles just below the head of the humorous (upper arm bone). She had an MRI of the tissue performed and realized the poor outcomes that even skilled micro-surgery would probably produce. A colleague had administered a series of cortisone shots but, as we agreed, the complexity of her injury meant that this would be little more than a stop gap.

How I evaluated her: When I deal with fellow physicians, particularly specialists in the field that encompasses the primary issue, our analysis and discussion of the nature of the problem, the dynamics of the disruption of the tissue and limitation of conventional interventions is quite straightforward and precise. However, sharing my opinion about the natural therapeutic options, the underlying mechanism of operation, and projected probability of success is far more complex since often my training and treatment approach is far different from what conventional doctors have learned in their conventional training.

How we addressed her problem: I prescribed a high potency curcumin supplement “spiked” with a black pepper extract to improve efficacy. Curcumin is an important constituent in the herb turmeric (its what gives the herb its bright yellow color). I also compounded a botanical tincture to apply topically frequently during the day. It contains numerous anti-inflammatory extracts and a small amount of DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide), which allows the preparation to penetrate the skin and migrate into the injured area. She agreed to apply the preparation carefully—with the dropper tip only and keeping it off the surrounding tissue and her hands.

The patient’s progress: Nancy is reporting less pain and some degree of increased mobility. We are hopeful but are both cognizant of the fact that these injuries often can take years to heal and then often only partially. She agreed to keep me posted with her progress…and to continue to encourage her medical colleagues to keep their surgical knives in the drawer!

For more with Andrew Rubman, ND, check out his video series, Nature Doc’s Natural Cures and podcast.