A Case of Neuropathy
Wednesday, March 4th, 2009
Dec 2005 was mild for a Toronto winter but the steel grey skies were familiar. Janey,my receptionist, handed me the intake form indicative of a new patient waiting to begin our 2 hour initial visit. On reviewing the form and seeing the reason for the visit to be a peripheral neuropathy(onset 2004) with tremor I felt a sinking sensation take me over. Typically these cases give the homeopath few guiding symptoms offering hope of a good reaction. I noted that an exertion tremor had preceded the onset of the numbness and loss of positional sense by 5 years.
I heard the thud of crutches on the carpeting preceding the awkward, forced cadence of steps and then I met James. At 50 years old he was a large impressive man with neatly trimmed beard and glasses. Pleasant but brief and succinct in speech, we began the work.
What he complained of most was extreme burning and cramping in both feet. Briefly neurontin had given relief but it required large doses and the help had since waned. Burning on the lateral edges of the feet was unvarying (a symptom without variation,ie modalities might indicate a poor prognosis). Having been a physically strong man. The loss of strength and easy tiring while walking a mall was unnerving. There is painful and constant sense of walking on a stone.
The past year he notices a need to block side view on being a passenger in a car. It makes him nauseous.
Headaches for 4 years. They have a sudden onset. There is a pressing outward sensation behind the eyes which lasts about 40 minutes and gradually goes. Vertigo accompanies. Worse noise, light and motion. Frequency is 1 or times per week.
There is a previous history of;
1. At least 3 episodes of epidydimitis.
2.Psoriatic lesions below the knees (childhood) ‘cured’ by tar based creams.
3.Allergy shots 2 times per week until age 9.
4.Annual bouts of winter bronchitis.
This gentleman was quiet but cooperative. I continued to press questions hoping for a decisive indicator and finally—Aggravation from excess heat; He absolutely cannot be in a hot tub. His body feels as if it is unable to dissipate heat.
Jerking during sleep is frequent and intense.
Perspiration on falling asleep-every night.
Physical exam. Observations of the mouth reveal fissures of the tongue esp. edges.
Considering the rubrics
EXTREMITIES - JERKING - sleep - during
PERSPIRATION - SLEEP - beginning to, on
EXTREMITIES - PAIN - burning - Foot - Sole
MOUTH - CRACKED - Tongue fissured
VERTIGO - CLOSING eyes, on - amel.
Sulphur leads.His strong heat sensitivity confirms. The past history of potentially suppressive treatment of skin eruptions also lends weight to the prescription.Sulphur 6c daily was given. Within 4 days various changes were noted and gradually progressed. By March 2006 burning gone completely in both feet. Balance is 30 % improved. Headaches are completely gone.Epidydimitis briefly returned and went (which had been severe 5 years ago).May 2006 -James confidently walks into my consultation on his own two feet-no hardware. Certainly his numbness is not gone but his strength and coordination are much improved. Not bad for a little dose of ’nothing’.
This case taught me the value of seeing the patient and not the pathology. Without digging for that symptom relating to his intolerance to heat I would have been lost. Part of the genius of Hahnemann was to see in chronic diseases the importance of all the heightened sensitivities of the patient, even those not directly related to pathology. The general symptoms of the patient, when marked have great guiding or corroborative value. Homeopathy offers many possible doors to a cure.
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