CLARKE remark in his article on Silica that one of the leading indications for Silica is “want of grit, moral or physical. The patient dreads failure when confronted with any important task. This may go on to actual inability to perform whatever it is he wishes to do. Patients who have been undergoing some great mental exertion are apt to exhibit this mental fag. They feel unable to do anything.
They are suffering from nervous exhaustion. Kent says that the lawyer, the doctor, the student are the types from which are may expect Silica patients. Also although the Silica patients lacks confidence tot he point of timidity, he can be, if provoked very irritable. He may have fixed ideas. One queer symptom which has often been verified is a mania for pins. The patient looks for them, fears them, and will count them carefully when he finds them. Clarke gives this symptom as one of great value.
Under certain circumstances Silica must be used with caution as it will act upon scar tissue and fibrous deposits. Kent warns prescribes against the use of repeated doses of Silica where there are tubercular deposits in the lungs. Silica may set up an inflammation with suppuration in an attempt to throw out the deposit. Silica will set up a suppuration round a foreign body and expel it.
It will clean up suppuration in a remarkable way. When pus is forming, Hepar sulph. or Calc. sulph. are the remedies most likely to be needed. But when the discharge has taken place Silica will be the remedy.
Silica patients are chilly, and they dislike cold air intensely. They will wrap up their heads even when they are in bed to keep away the least draught of cold air. Their heads are sensitive, even the pressure of a hat is objectionable. Motion makes them worse. Change of weather upsets them, and they are worse before and during a storm.
The Silica headaches arise in the nape of the neck and extend upwards to the vertex and then into one eye, generally the right eye. They are worse from draughts and better by pressure and wrapping up the head. Light, noise and mental exertion make the headaches worse. The head may sweat profusely.
Silica is often needed in cases where the eye are affected. Inflammations, ulcers on the cornea, styes and tumours, but always in a Silica patient. Catarrh of the ear, and certain forms of deafness may need Silica. In the nose there may be loss of the sense of smell. Disease of the nasal bones, ulcerative conditions.
The teeth give trouble during cold damp weather. Neuralgias, toothaches better in a warm room and by hot drinks, tooth abscess.
In the throat Silica may be needed for quinsy or tonsillitis. Kent says it competes with Natrum mur. in inveterate sore throat. Quinsy with threatening suppuration. Inflammation of the glands may need Silica, but of course only in a Silica patient. Kent points out that in old chronic cases the patient is chilly. But in acute cases, as in quinsy and abscesses of the neck glands, the patient has an irregular flushing fever and a dislike for heat.
Silica patient do not like extremes of heat and cold. They are easily over-heated and then are apt to catch a chill and go down with a cold. They sometimes have an aggravation from taking milk. They have an aversion to meats and hot food.
Colic flatulence and distended abdomen better from heat. Constipation with much straining. The stool slips back again. Fistula often needs Silica.
Cough brought on by speaking; sometimes dry, or dry at night with expectoration during the day. Cough brought on by tickling in throat pit.
In Silica patients there may be an exhausted condition of the sexual organs. Enlarged hard prostate glands are likely to need Silica. Or abscess in the prostate. In the female cysts in the vagina. Leucorrhoea milky and corroding. Silica will often abort abscesses of the breasts.
The limbs have many symptoms. There are drawing, tearing and stitching pains, ulcers and perhaps the most characteristic symptom, ulcers and perhaps the most characteristic symptom, foul sweating feet. Sometimes the foul smell is not accompanied by perspiration.
The bones and skin have a number of symptoms. Caries of the bones. Clarke has: “Ulcers in general whenever pus is discharged from any part of the body or when appearing in the urine”.