To the strict homoeopath, a case that comes directly from the “old school” presents many problems, and must be accepted with very definite understanding of its difficulties. The physician must be willing to study not only the case itself from a physical standpoint, but the mental attitude of the patient, in general and toward the new kind of treatment. He will need to instruct in season and out of season, but he must use much tact in order not to alienate his pupil by criticism of the treatment he has previously had.
One of the most difficult things for the new patient to grasp is the idea of the body as an organism a unit. He has been taught to regard it as a mechanism with certain worn or out of order. Focal infection is a very favorite idea. The trouble may be due to tonsils, or if not to tonsils, then to teeth. That there is something back of it all something that allows tonsils or teeth to be out of order does not enter his mind.
“What is this medicine for?” is a question very commonly asked. He expects a remedy for each symptom.
With people accustomed to having “attacks” of one sort or another, the desire seems to be always to have on hand some medicine to stop an attack in its beginning. They can hardly conceive of a remedy that will do away with attacks altogether, will do away with the cause.
Many people, really intelligent in most ways, do not feel the need of a physicians care unless they are very ill. They take medicines advertised over the radio, recommended by a neighbor, or handed out by some drug clerk. With this type of patient it is particularly difficult to make clear the idea of the single remedy and the absolute need for not interfering in any way with that remedy. “You were out of town and I had to do something,” is a common answer to the reminder that aspirin or some such drug was forbidden.
The taking of analgesics as it is done so generally is due to the idea that pain is an evil in itself to be stopped at all costs. That it is a danger signal, not to be covered up any more than a red light at a crossing, does not occur to the ordinary patient.
Perhaps the most common type of pain for which people drug themselves or are drugged is headache.
Many people are incapacitated at more or less regular intervals by the pain and by the nausea which often attends it. The menstrual period is often the time for the attack, which may precede, attend or follow the flow. Other causes are nervous excitement, over-exertion, indiscretions in eating, lack of sleep or of proper elimination.
The careful physician of whatever school will try to find the cause and remove it, but there is always the danger with the non- homoeopath that the treatment will be the prescribing of a coal- tar derivative or some such medicine.
This winter I had in a short space of time three chronic cases of headache, where the sufferers had never before had homoeopathic treatment. I will give them briefly.
CASE 1. D.H.S. Age 28. Housemaid. Head heavy < after eating sugar, which also causes toothache. Headache before or after menstrual period. Pain, right side of forehead, a small spot, sensation of pushing in. Pain causes vomiting. Pain < then > for vomiting. Pain > lying with head high. Appetite fair. Avoids acids, acid fruit and salt. Drinks little. Much saliva. Bowels regular. Urine slow in starting, must wait, or run water. Helminthiasis < evening < eating candy. Nose itches. Often has coryza with thick discharge. Sensitive to drafts and cold. Gets blue easily. Worries about work. Menstrual period every 26 days, lasts three days with cramps. Feb. 2, Natrum mur. 1M.
Feb. 14. General >. One headache with burning of vertex. Sac. lac.
March 16. Better. No pain with menses. One slight headache, left-sided. Sac. lac.
April 7. Headache today, slight. Helminthiasis > Natrum mur. 1M.
May 24. Head much better. Teeth feel on edge if she eats fruit. Psorinum 1M.
June 12. No headache with menstrual period, inspite of extra work and anxiety. Can eat fruit with comfort, even strawberries.
CASE II. Mrs. R.F., wife of a college professor. Very slender. Age 30 plus. Married eight years. One child four years old. Gets tired easily and this causes right-sided sick headache. Pain begins without warning, a growling which gradually increases; later a grinding pain with vomiting, makes right side of neck sore. Pain > for sleep. Feels worse in January and February. Worse for social functions. Headaches began after carsickness.
History: Was a delicate child. Had childrens diseases plus scarlet fever, pneumonia and diphtheria, also many bad colds. Tonsils were removed but still had sore throats. Menses first at 13, painful, early; came every two weeks if tired. Profuse at first, now scanty. No pain since childbirth. Has had six miscarriages, three before her baby was born. The first was caused by over-lifting and a fall.
When pregnant has intense cramps and on walking feels as if stepping into a hole. After the first miscarriage had prolapse of the stomach and fallen arches. Mentally, she is very bright and happy when well, but discouraged and cross, with an “inferiority complex”, when ill. Cherishes grudges. Restless. Dislikes being looked at. Hot weather makes her sick. She does not feel the cold. Likes to lie on the floor.
Digestion: Appetite good. During headache stomach has a pulling down feeling, bloated and sore. Clothes feel tight, as if there were a tight rope around waist. Oranges disagree in the morning. Raw salads cause eructations. Bowels are regular, but patient is constipated during headaches. Sleep is good, but patient is restless, itchy and nervous on lying down during the day. There is now a general morning aggravation. Feels very tired after breakfast and has to lie down.
I took time to study for the remedy, working the case out with Fields cards and then with the repertory. The result was only two remedies Natrum mur. with a count of 25 and Sepia, 26. I thought Natrum mur. was better to begin with, so I gave the 200th on February 4.
Feb. 14. One headache which began right and went to the left. Since then feels nauseated in the morning. Is very sensitive to a warm room. Feels as if her head would burst. A change from good to bad feelings, or viceversa, comes suddenly.
Feb. 21. One headache lasted three days, but not so hard as usual. Pain > in a dark room. Menses just over. Had abdominal pain before and during period. Sepia 1M.
Feb. 28. No headache this week. For three days head was heavy on the right side with soreness behind the ear. Some nausea after breakfast. These discomforts disappeared a little later.
March 14. Two weeks later the patient reported one headache which started, but was relieved in two hours by a dose of Sepia 1M. Since then is feeling stronger. Has had some backache and sore breasts which usually come with her pregnancies. Another headache was relieved by Sepia 1M. followed by two weeks of comfort and increasing strength. Then a bad headache followed some over-exertion and did not yield to Sepia 1M., but was temporarily relieved by the 45M. The same potency failed to help later, and the first of June the CM. was given for a bad headache and relieved it in an hour.
The general condition was not so good, however. The patient did not feel strong. There was a slight headache most of the time and the brain felt loose. < for any jar. Natrum mur. 1M.
This was followed by a marked improvement, and six days later the patient reported feeling well and strong.
She has gone abroad for the summer and one can only hope that she will keep well.
I think I made a mistake in not giving Natrum mur. 1M. at first instead of the 200th.
Sepia, in spite of its resemblance to the case, was certainly not the similimum.
CASE III. Mrs. W.B. Age 45 years. Two daughters, 19 and 13. Twelve years ago had a fall, fracturing the skull on the right side of the coronal suture and severing the left auditory nerve.
She now has headaches lasting several days. They usually begin in the night or early morning and she wakens with the pain which is expansive and very severe, < stooping. Headaches come at the menstrual period, < every other time. For the last two years menstruation has been very painful every other time, with the direction from front to back. Back very painful. Upper arms pain before menses. Before menses has a strong craving for sweets. Menses first at 11 years, painful at first, with hard cramps. Since childbirth better till lately.
In the last year and a half has had very great nervous strain owing to several cases of illness and one death in the family.
General physical condition good. Blood pressure 120/70.
Taking into consideration especially the injury from the fall, I gave on Jan. 14, 1939 Hypericum 1M., which was followed by some relief.
Two weeks later, Jan. 28, I was called to see the patient who was menstruating and suffering much pain in abdomen and back, > firm pressure. There was also hard headache, extending down the neck, > pressure. For this I prescribed Natrum mur. 1M. with some confidence, but the next morning things were worse. The pain came in waves, extending to back and arms. The streaming pain made me think of Hypericum again which I gave 45M., but in vain. Finally I prescribed Nux vomica 1M. which relieved.
Two weeks later there was another headache, which began on waking, was worse in the occiput, and extended to neck and back. There was the sensation of a tight band around the head, the eyes felt pulled back, and there was an < from stooping. Sepia 1M. improved conditions promptly.
This remedy has proved continuously helpful, in spite of an attack of grippe that demanded other medicines for a week or more. A beginning headache has been stopped by a dose of Sepia and the menstrual condition has been much relieved.
The menopause is evidently approaching and that, with the nervous tension under which the patient lives, makes the case far from simple. However, Mrs. B. is much better off than she was. She told me lately that it was almost three months since she had had a real headache.
DR. GOBAR: This paper is illustrative of these cases that help us. A headache is one of the bugbears of medicine. It is one of the most frequent things with which we have to deal, and of course is only a symptom among other symptoms. To get a new angle on headaches is an excellent thing.
DR. SCHWARTZ: I think of the days when I was back in Cincinnati as a nurse. Even the allopaths know that Nux vomica is a good remedy during the period of a womans life when she is nervous, with pelvic symptoms and headaches resulting from it. The only thing is they give it in such large doses, but they do know it is helpful at that time when there is constipation, irritability, and many of the symptoms Dr. Stevens mentioned.