Royal E. S. Hayes, M.D.
The first subject thought of as possibly useful for this little symposium is the role of Strontium carbonate in so-called simple or localized neuritis. Most cases are mechanical or traumatic in origin, the Strontium cases especially, though often obscurely so. Strontium is probably the most useful because the most frequently needed remedy. Those cases in which the cause is more obscure are usually caused by torsion or stretching, either quick or slow, and the symptoms of such effects are to be found in the strontium pathogenesis.
If one’s progessional experience counts, localized neuritis appears to be found more often above the waist, especially in the upper extremities in women and below the waist, and especially the lower extremities in men. The cause of this difference is partly occupational, and partly, quite likely, the distribution of muscular stability according to sex. A woman will carry a suitcase or bundle, or pull on a clothes line until the arm and shoulder or even back and neck muscles are tired enough to relax and the extremity become temporarily lengthened. In this way slow stretching of a nerve occurs. Perhaps some voluntary or partly involuntary motion inducing torsion occurs instead, producing the same effect. The immediate discomfort may be slight and quickly forgotten, but in a few days to several weeks neuritis has developed. The mode in men is similar, being varied by occupation or circumstance. In men, however, this accident usually occurs more quickly by exerting the muscles at a disadvantage, that is, with faulty leverage through a twist, slip, or giving way of the basic muscular support. The stretching or torsion may occur quickly by faulty or disturbed co-ordination or slowly by subluxation or relaxation even about one of the less movable joints, such as the sacro-iliac.
Now for the practical application, the first thing you notice about the patient is that he keeps the affected part flexed or relaxed. You now verify your suspicion by attempting to stretch the nerve a little and find intense aggravation of pain. For instance, if it be a sciatic nerve you find it impossible to raise the lower extremity with the leg extended. Or, if it be an arm, it is held in a position which relaxes the affected nerve.
Then the patient tells you that the pain makes him faint or “sick all through.” That is characteristic of Strontium conditions. There is an intimate relation between these injuries and the solar plexus. Strontium is a solar remedy and a valuable shock remedy. As the sun is the center and sustentive of the solar system, so the solar plexus is the great storage center from which human magnetic energy radiates. Strontium effects and those traumatic and pain effects which correspond with the Strontium genius are directly transferred to the solar plexus, causing general sick, weak or faint sensations.
The reason the solar plexus is so sensitive to injuries occurring at such a distance from it is, apparently, that the energy wave of a twisting or drawing injury is similar to the rotating drawing energy of the solar plexus (the “Sol” of the human system) hence, is in similar but not synchronous vibration and the harmony of radiation, therefore, is easily and profoundly disturbed.
To epitomize: the characteristic Strontium effect is as if when prying with a lever, the lever slips off the fulcrum and the energy is spent in a wrong direction. In the Rhus strains, for instance, the fulcrum holds, but the load is too heavy for the lever, straining its fibers.
There are stretching injuries in the abdomen or pelvis which should be differentiated therapeutically from the other kind. For instance, a woman reaches high up to place a picture or other object and feels something give way in one side of the abdomen. This may be followed, sooner or later, by renal, ureteral or even cystic or internal genital symptoms. Sharp pains occur suddenly at unlooked for moments or when in some slightly faulty position and continue a short time until she can move obscurely in such a way as to “straighten it out,” as she says. Severe cases may symptomatically simulate cystitis, renal colic, dragging kidney, gallstone, appendicitis, operitis, etc., according to the exigencies or diagnosis and ambition to do surgery. The remedy for this (for the patient I mean) is Staphisagria.
Futile prescriptions sometimes light up a good one by contrast, well illustrated in the following instance: A woman of forty came with rather intense pain in the ulnar nerve and the other anterior branches of the inner cord. It was aggravated by raising the hand, by lying on it, by cold, and it shifted to various places of the upper extremity and anterior thorax on the same side. There was general lassitude and desire to lie down. Now, Mag. Ph. has all these symptoms, but, to criticize my own prescription, they were not comprehensive of the extent and quality of the lesion, the investigation had not been pushed far enough. Consequently, little or nothing was accomplished by prescribing that remedy. Then the arm was hurt by some little twist or strain and became much worse. The pain was now of such a character at times as to cause faintness, sweating and nausea. I then found out the origin of the trouble. The arm had become tired and stretched several weeks previously by being pulled by a woman in labor. I interpreted the aggravation from the postures above mentioned as being aggravation from stretching. I observed that the position of the extremity was shifted frequently. At night it was not possible to find comfort in any position. Strontium carb. 200 was given with great relief.
Then the nerve was accidentally bruised and became worse again. Because of the constant motion for relief we strayed again from the vantage point of a comprehensive view of the symptoms and gave Ferrum, with the usual penalty, no result. A few days later Strontium carb. 500 was given. Two days later the patient was practically free from pain and the cure was soon complete.
Man at forty-six. Intense sharp pains along the entire sciatic nerve. Also an intense gnawing ache “as if in the bone.” He had been lying four days and nights on a couch where he could shift position freely without disturbing his bedfellow. Although in almost constant motion the leg and thigh were kept in a partly flexed position. Any extension beyond a certain point was intolerable. It was made worse, also, by bathing, even warm bathing, also a Strontium characteristic, His back had been slightly wrenched three weeks previously.
Strontium carb. cm. was given with prompt relief, but two days later the pain returned with numbness and heavy paralytic sensation. Stront. Carb. cm. 5 d. One every four hours.
The man actually returned to his work three days later and kept at it.