Intelligent rehab for injuries

The underlying cause of degenerative or herniated discs and sciatica is frequently hormonal or muscular.

by Dr. Mark Starr — 

Had President John F. Kennedy lived another year, his legacy likely would have included the story of his astounding recovery from the chronic pain that caused him to use crutches much of the time when the cameras were turned off.

In 1961 the President’s physicians had become alarmed at Kennedy’s deteriorating condition. According to biographer Susan E. B. Schwartz, it became difficult for him to even rise from a chair. His physicians called in the expert, Dr. Hans Kraus.

Hans Kraus, M.D., was known as the originator of sports medicine in America and a pioneer of modern rock climbing. Kraus worked as an orthopedic fracture surgeon, specializing in muscle pain, sports injuries, and physical medicine and rehabilitation. Surgery was his method of last resort. In fact, he was able to avoid performing surgery for chronic pain in the back, shoulders, knees, elbows and neck 90 percent of the time.

Beginning in the late 1930s, Kraus was the first to mobilize sprains and certain fractures. He treated more than 10,000 patients, including many professional and amateur athletes during his long career. He successfully pushed President Eisenhower to launch a physical fitness campaign for children.

Kraus’s methods won him a huge clientele, including Katharine Hepburn, Eleanor Roosevelt, Johnny Unitas, Rita Hayworth, Oleg Cassini and the skier Billy Kidd, who said that Dr. Kraus’s treatments made it possible for him to win the world championship.

Even today, most surgeries can be avoided by employing Kraus’s time-honored techniques, fixing nutritional deficiencies and balancing hormones. Natural thyroid hormone, for example, has a tremendous influence on muscles, tendons, ligaments and even plantar fasciitis. The underlying cause of degenerative or herniated discs and sciatica is frequently hormonal or muscular.

Almost all of us have budging discs by age 50. Patients are told that the discs are the cause of their back or neck pain. However, if their thyroid and muscles are treated properly, the pain resolves despite the disc issue. The main causes of chronic pain are muscle and hormonal problems, which are not detected with x-rays, CT scans or MRIs. Two-thirds of muscle and joint pain resolves with proper desiccated thyroid treatment.

Trigger-point injections are a noninvasive alternative to prolotherapy and surgery. Trigger points are hyperirritable knots located in skeletal muscle. Ligaments and joint capsules, like the knees and hips, have poor blood supply and often develop trigger points which can be healed with injections. Trigger points are often mistakenly diagnosed as pinched nerves because the pain can radiate elsewhere.

In trigger-point therapy, lidocaine, a local anesthetic, is injected directly into the nodule. This breaks up the injured tissues, cools off the nerves and restores blood flow, which improves oxygen and nutrient flow, and removes the substances causing inflammation and pain. These injections are useful for many different types of musculoskeletal pain, including arthritic joints, back pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, unresolved whiplash injuries, chronic tendonitis and partially torn ligaments.

Today, the techniques developed by Kraus are still practiced by a few specialists in the U.S. When combined with optimal nutrition, balanced hormones, removal of mercury fillings and detoxification, they are second to none.


Mark Starr, M.D.(H), is board-certified by the American Board of Pain Medicine and practices the Kraus techniques in Paradise Valley, Ariz. He is the author of Type 2 Hypothyroidism: The Epidemic. 480-607-6503 or

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 3, June/July 2010.

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