In early January, a good friend of mine mentioned that his left upper arm had been hurting him for months and seemed to radiate into his shoulder area. He demonstrated that he had a minimal range of motion in his left arm and could only raise his left hand to just below the shoulder itself, and that entailed much pain to lift it that high.
He said his primary doctor took a look at it and promptly referred him to a surgeon. The surgeon sent him for an MRI with contrast dye.
When the results came back, the surgeon told him that he had torn ligaments and torn tendons in his upper arm. The surgeon went on to tell my friend that he was not a candidate for physical therapy and that the only way to improve his arm was with surgery. He suggested scheduling the surgery immediately. My friend asked him if he would be 100% in the left arm again post-surgery, and how long the recovery would take.
The surgeon said he would never be 100%, and in fact, it might become worse than before the surgery. There was no guarantee that he would be better, but it was possible.
So here was my friend explaining it all to me and asking for my opinion. I told him that the surgery sounded too risky because if he ended up worse than he currently was, there would be a lot of things he could no longer do.
I asked him if he had ever taken the highly potent antibiotic, Ciprofloxacin, or if he had ever been on statins because both are associated with blown tendons and ligaments as outlined in these links below. He told me he had never taken statins, but he had been on three extended regimens of Ciprofloxacin, which is also commonly referred to as Cipro.
So we talked a little more, and I suggested that since the surgery seemed risky, it might be worth trying a supplement or two first.
Studies Lacking on Supplements for Torn Ligaments
There are no studies that I am aware that specifically suggest any supplements that are likely to help torn tendons and torn ligaments.
Still, if you consider what the body is made of including the skeletal structure, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, then one supplement that might be worth a try would be collagen and, later, vitamin c, gelatin and possibly MSM.
The delayed timing on gelatin, vitamin C and MSM is just to see if the collagen is working first. If it is, the addition of vitamin c is likely to be useful. The combination may have synergy as they have two different methods of action, but both can increase collagen.
The Importance of Collagen
Here is another link describing the importance of collagen in the body.
Reviewing Collagen Supplements on the Market
I told my friend I was going to do a little research on collagen and would get back to him with what I found. I found that there are easily over 100 different collagen products on the market. So what I did was go to Amazon to see what they had available.
I found one product with an excellent 5-star rating and a very significant number of reviews with 7,000 responses.
This particular product showed an 88% 5-star rating with only a 2% 1-star rating, so these are excellent ratings compared to other collagen products that were rated all over the place and had lower overall scores.
Clearly, collagen products are not created equal!
There were a couple of products that had a bit higher rating, but they only had a few hundred reviews. I know that reviews can be tainted, but that is a little less of a problem when you get into the thousands of reviews for one product, so I chose the product mentioned above, with thousands of reviews and a very high 5-star rating with a very low 1-star rating.
I then talked to my friend, and he agreed to try one bottle and see if it might help his arm.
He started on them as soon as they were delivered as his arm had deteriorated further. It had become more painful, and his range of motion considerably less.
He told me that he could not lay on that shoulder at night because he would fall asleep and wake up 5 to 10 minutes later from the pain! I told him that even if the collagen supplement didn’t help his shoulder, he might have fabulous hair, glowing skin, and beautiful nails, and we both laughed at that! Hair skin and nails are generally what people use this product for.
Collagen Dosage for Torn Ligaments
My friend took the recommended dosage on the bottle:
3 capsules first thing in the morning on an empty stomach with 8 ounces of water.
Results After One Month of Supplementation
About two weeks into supplementing, I followed up with my friend, and he told me he still felt about the same.
At three weeks, he called me and said his arm felt a little less painful.
On day 24, he phoned to say his arm was less painful and that he could now raise it a bit higher than he could before he started on the collagen.
A month later we met up and he immediately said: “Check this out!”
He raised his arm fully above his head. Although he couldn’t straighten his arm entirely and there was a little pain at the top of the range, this was a considerable improvement compared to when he started on the collagen. Needless to say, he was very happy!
Experimentation With A Cheaper Product
After seeing his improvement, I decided to go back to Amazon to see if I could find any other products that might be comparable in ingredients at a lower price.
I found one that appeared to have the same ingredients and an excellent 5-star rating along with a low 1-star rating. The downside was this product only had a few hundred reviews. I thought about that and decided it might be worth a try since this product was 10 dollars less per bottle.
I ordered three bottles of the new product to try once he had used up his two bottles of the first collagen supplement.
Soon after, my friend called to tell me he had re-injured his arm when he got carried away lifting heavy boxes, which he was stacking in piles at the top of his upward reach. I told him to avoid that type of activity for a few months to allow sufficient time to maximize whatever healing was possible.
He ran out of the first collagen product a week later, but he said his arm was feeling almost as good as before the box lifting incident.
I then gave him the three bottles of the different collagen supplement and told him to keep me posted. Bad idea.
Not All Collagen Products Are Created Equal
A month later, he told me he just started on his second bottle of the new supplement, but his arm was not feeling as good as it had before he started on the new supplement. I told him that the re-injury might be taking longer to heal, so he should give it a little more time and see how he does.
Two weeks later, he told me the healing had completely ceased and that he felt his arm was back to where it was before starting on the first collagen supplement.
I asked if he had been doing anything that might be irritating it and he said no because he was barely using it now because of the pain and lost range of motion. He was soon back to square one as he could not even lift his hand as high as his shoulder again.
Back to the Original Collagen Product
I ordered three bottles of the original collagen product at that point and gave them to him as soon as they came in. He started back on it immediately.
Within two weeks, he showed me that he could raise his arm relatively high again.
He also noticed that his lower back pain had reduced considerably. He just told that to me one day once he had been back on the original product for awhile. He said the improvement came on so gradually, that one day he realized his lower back was not hurting or the pain had become barely noticeable.
He seems to be back on track now, and I am going to add the vitamin C in and make him a saturated solution of MSM that he can spray on as needed as a pain reliever.
That combination of organic sulfur, plus collagen and vitamin C should help the healing process and maximize the repair of those tendons and ligaments as much as possible. He feels so good now that he has put the idea of surgery way on the back burner. I told him we might add in gelatin for a moment, but not long term.
My lesson from this is that not all collagen supplements are created equal, and when you find one that works, it is probably best to stick with it!
Where to Buy
As you may have noticed, I do not usually like to recommend a specific brand of supplement because I never want to appear to be hyping a product. But in this case, I don’t see a choice.
I would also like to say that two other people tried this product that I know and recommended it to; one had excellent results, and one had gastro issues. The one who had gastro issues, I told to return the product to Amazon if it was not working out for her, and she told me she hadn’t thought of that, but she did end up returning it and thanked me. Amazon took it back with no problem. The other person told me it helped him noticeably with joint comfort during his workouts and allowed him to increase his muscle mass and he thanked me also!
Here is the link to the product on Amazon that my friend used with good effect for his torn tendons and ligaments with pain. It’s called Multi Collagen Plus by Dr. Emil Nutrition.
I have no idea how much the collagen may be repairing the damage, but it is certainly making his life much better again!
To me, it is astonishing how much an injury can alter your lifestyle by severely limiting the everyday things that you do and just take for granted.
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