Soft Tissue Injuries

Soft Tissue Injuries

Some of the most common causes of soft tissue pain are muscle strains and ligament sprains. Bruises, or contusions, are another common type of soft tissue injury. The National Health Service of the United Kingdom states that a sprain occurs when one or more ligaments becomes twisted, stretched or torn, and that a muscle strain occurs when your muscle fibers stretch or tear from excessive force or overuse. There are several common signs and symptoms associated with soft tissue injuries, including pain in the affected area, swelling and inflammation and reduced movement or range of motion in your affected body part.

Helpful Herbal Remedies

Herbal remedies have long been used to help treat soft tissue pain. In her book “Prescription for Nutritional Healing,” nutrition researcher Phyllis A. Balch states that bluebottle, buchu and comfrey root are used in reducing the swelling, pain and discoloration of bruising in some people. Herbs that help treat sprains, strains and other muscle and joint problems include boswellia, fenugreek, flaxseed, slippery elm bark, feverfew, ginger, green tea, goldenseal, horse chestnut extract and mustard poultices. Topical applications of cayenne powder and wintergreen oil may help relieve muscle pain, especially muscle pain in people with fibromyalgia.

An Effective Botanical

Cayenne may be one of the most effective botanical medicines in the treatment of soft tissue pain. Cayenne, according to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, contains an active ingredient known as capsicum, which is applied topically to treat muscle pain. Other common uses for this herbal remedy include muscle spasms, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, circulatory conditions, intestinal gas and diabetic neuropathy. Cayenne is a topical stimulant, analgesic and rubefacient, or a substance that increases circulation to the area to which it is applied.

The best way to treat soft tissue injuries


By Dr. Chris Reynolds. M.B.,B.S.

Recently I was in the change room at half-time at a local Highett Football Club game. Players were pressing plastic bags full of crushed ice against pulled muscles and bruises like security blankets. Knowing there was a better way, I wondered why ice is used at all for sports injuries. Contrary to popular opinions, it doesn’t stop bleeding from the skin, the nose or from deeper tissues.

Researchers have shown that ice most likely does more harm than good and can cause inflammation and swelling in the deeper tissues which significantly slows recovery.(1) There also seems to be little agreement among experts about how long ice should be applied.(2) More recently, a study by the Cleveland Clinic in the US showed that ice, by slowing the release of a key healing hormone (Insulin-like Growth Factor 1) can actually slow the healing process. In other words, ice actually inhibits repair of injured muscles.(3)

This discovery overturns the conventional wisdom that swelling must be controlled in order to encourage healing and prevent pain.

Ice, ethyl chloride spray and other coolants may numb the skin and perhaps relieve pain a little, but essentially they do little if anything to assist or hasten tissue recovery or prevent it from getting worse.

Yet it appears these rather primitive methods are all that’s available for emergency treatment of sports injuries. If they don’t stop the bleeding that predisposes to slow healing and recovery, then they shouldn’t be used. But what alternatives are there? Isn’t there SOMETHING that does a better job?

Well, I know for a fact, having successfully treated thousands of injuries, that wheatgrass extract does.

Considering the enormous amount of playing and working time lost from sports injuries, not to mention the pain and disability they cause, the sporting world is slowly waking up to the fact that wheatgrass is clearly a superior alternative treatment method.

How can wheatgrass be more effective than ice?

Let’s look at an example. The young footballer pictured below received a hefty kick to the head causing a massive bruise within minutes (Left). On the right is the bruise less than 24 hours later.

Saturday afternoon

Next morning

All it required to achieve this remarkable result was to smear some wheatgrass extract (Skin Recovery Cream) over the bruise. No ice or compression was applied. It is not necessary because wheatgrass penetrates the skin, stops the underlying bleeding and rapidly reduces swelling, so that tissue damage is minimalised.

Any kind of injury can cause tissue damage. Blood vessels rupture and blood spreads into surrounding tissues causing inflammation and swelling. Pressure build-up eventually reduces blood flow which slows muscle, nerve and other tissue recovery.

So, the key aim in any injury is to STOP THE BLEEDING!

Blood leaking into soft tissue such as muscle is not where it should be and the body reacts adversely to it. A lot of soft tissue damage can occur as a result. The sooner wheatgrass extract is applied, the sooner the deep and/or surface bleeding stops, swelling is reduced and blood supply returns to the damaged tissue for healing to begin.

Too good to be true? Not at all. I have used an extract of wheatgrass to treat numerous injuries since 1995. It is without doubt a powerful hemostatic agent i.e. it stops bleeding quickly. Blood noses, open wounds, bruises, sprained ankles, cuts, scratches, abrasions and deep tissue injuries such as corked, torn or pulled muscles – usually respond quickly to wheatgrass. I can understand the sceptics but I can assure them this is very real.

But how does wheatgrass work?

Wheatgrass is an amazing healing agent, and soft tissue injury is just one of the conditions it works for. The following basic scientific explanation for these phenomena, I believe make sense.

In some way, wheatgrass appears to activate or stimulate production of Growth Factors. These are small molecules that act as cell messengers to stimulate production by DNA of the numerous proteins required for the healing process. The immune system response, wound healing and stopping bleeding and absorption of blood clot are just a few of the functions vital to the maintenance and repair of damaged tissues mediated by Growth Factors.

I have researched the literature extensively since 1995 and made thousands of clinical observations (the head bruise shown above being a classic example) which strongly suggest that wheatgrass contains Growth Factor Activators. What they do is “kick start” and thereby facilitate the natural healing process resulting in faster healing than one normally sees when ice and other methods are used.

So when treating sports and other traumatic injuries it is absolutely essential to STOP THE BLEEDING AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. Wheatgrass can do this much quicker than ice can, and it will absorb the clotted blood which ice can not do.

Some injuries that respond well to wheatgrass (perseverance pays)

  • Pulled muscles (hamstrings, quadriceps, calf, loins, back)
  • Groin injuries (osteitis pubis, adductor tendonitis), tennis elbow
  • Blisters, abrasions, wounds, bruises, corks – heal in days, not weeks. Safe for open wounds.
  • Muscle cramps
  • Blood rule – stops capillary bleeding in a few minutes
  • Shin splints
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Runners knee
  • Sprained ankle
  • Sacro-iliac strain
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Fracture pain
  • Joint injuries and swelling


  1. Meeusen R, Lievens P. The use of cryotherapy in sports injuries. Sports Med. 1986 Nov-Dec;3(6):398-414
  2. MacAuley, D. Do textbooks agree on their advice on ice? Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. 11(2):67-72, April 2001.
  3. Haiyan Lu, Lan Zhou Macrophages recruited via CCR2 produce insulin-like growth factor-1 to repair acute skeletal muscle injury. 2011. The FASEB Journal Vol. 25 No. 1 358-369

Dr. Chris Reynolds. M.B.,B.S.