On the night of March 28, 1986, Howard Heit's car was struck in a head-on collision. He left the scene of the serious crash thinking how lucky he was that he hadn't been hurt. "And then four to six weeks later, I started noticing twitches in the muscles of my neck and upper back. These progressed to marked spasms of my neck, shoulders, and upper back," he recalls.
The pain never ceased. All day, every day it plagued him. It became difficult for him to walk -- and almost impossible for him to work...
People use arnica as a cream or gel for soothing muscle aches and inflammations and healing wounds. When applied to the skin, it may improve healing by decreasing swelling and pain and speeding blood reabsorption.
People also apply arnica to the skin for treatment of acne, boils, and rashes.
Is it safe?
Arnica is recommended for external use only. Do not put arnica inside your mouth or swallow it. The plant is poisonous and, if swallowed, it can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, cardiac arrest, and death.
Do not use arnica if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Do not use it on open wounds or broken skin. Stop using arnica if you develop a skin rash.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate arnica in the same way it regulates medicine. It can be sold with limited or no research on how well it works or on its safety.
Always tell your doctor if you are using an alternative product or if you are thinking about combining one with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on an alternative product.
In this article
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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