Diseases of the Bones



For a long time she has had pain up the back, nape, and head whenever she hurried. Sixteen months ago she noticed a little stiffness on moving in the morning. Then her head became drawn. She found great difficulty in turning round. Finally, her legs gave way, and she was unable to walk unless supported round the waist. Three weeks ago she became suddenly worse.

When I first saw the patient she was in bed, lying on the back, the head being unnaturally poked forward. She complained of pain under both scapulae, the left being much the worse of the two. The pain seems to centre under the left breast, extending round to the left scapula and up to right shoulder. When she lies on the right side the pain is worse on the left, and vice versa. The pain is constant, not periodic; it is relieved by lying in bed, and again at 12 noon, after getting up.

In the upper dorsal region is a large curve, caused by the giving way of several of the bodies of the spinal vertebrae. There was no tenderness on pressure.

Some months back the pain was constant in the right side below the breast, and at the back. She thought she must have cancer. Suddenly the pain went to the left side, where it remains.

It was in September 1888 that she first suspected there was anything wrong with the spine. The pain she described as like drawing the chest and back together; with sometimes jerking pain in cartilages of the free ribs. At times constriction all round, as if by a band. On account of the spinal curve the ribs are very much pressed together on both sides. When walking, she has a sensation as if she was walking sideways. p73

Among the general symptoms of the case, I noted the following:- She is rather deaf, but can hear well in an – omnibus; in bed she is quite deaf. She is rather constipated; the water is scanty and high coloured. She perspires a little. For ten years she never perspired at all, when she was ordered a Turkish bath.

She remained three hours in it without perspiring, but four days after perspired profusely. Feet dry and cold.

Here was evidently a case of rapidly progressing disease of the spine with accompanying paralytic symptoms. The indication was to arrest the decay of the bones and and promote consolidation. There was no chance of restoring the bodies of the vertebrae which had collapsed, but if healthy action could be restored, new bone could be thrown out so as to form a kind of natural splint for the part. I was asked how long I thought it would take to bring about the change, and I said about three months.

It was important to estimate the time, as the patient’s sister, who undertook the care of her, could not continue it indefinitely. My estimate was fortunately correct. By the 15th of April the patient was able to walk up and down stairs unaided, and before the end of the month she was able to walk up and down stairs unaided, and before the end of the month she was able to leave for her home.

There were many medicines which occurred to me, and especially phosph., sepia, carbo veg., and lycopod. phos. has, in addition to its well-known relation to caries, “loss of power of limbs,” and “tenderness of dorsal spine and muscles; “sepia, “tensive pain in right side of back under scapula, especially when lying on right side;” “great aching between shoulders and under left scapula, extending into left lung, worse on expiration;”

Carbo veg., “stiffness of back, spine becomes bent;” “rheumatic drawing in back worse on stooping;” “pain in scapular region;” Lycopod., “burning in scapular region;” “drawing under scapulae.” Lycop has also the transference of symptoms for right to left. I selected the first of these four.

John Henry Clarke
John Henry Clarke MD (1853 – November 24, 1931 was a prominent English classical homeopath. Dr. Clarke was a busy practitioner. As a physician he not only had his own clinic in Piccadilly, London, but he also was a consultant at the London Homeopathic Hospital and researched into new remedies — nosodes. For many years, he was the editor of The Homeopathic World. He wrote many books, his best known were Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica and Repertory of Materia Medica