The word ‘pain’ comes from the Latin word ‘poena’ that means, a fine or a penalty. In medical terminology, pain is best defined by the definition given by the International Association for the Study of Pain: ’Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with actual or potential tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.’
Pain has both physical and emotional components. The physical part of pain results from nerve stimulation. Pain may be confined to a discrete area, as in the case of an injury, or it can be more diffuse, as in disorders like fibromyalgia. Pain is mediated by the specific nerve fibres that carry the pain impulses to the brain where their conscious appreciation may be modified by many factors.
My focus in this editorial will be more on the Chronic Pain Syndrome.
Chronic Pain Syndrome (CPS) is a common problem that is a major challenge to homeopaths because of its complex nature with poor aetiology and poor response to allopathic medicine. Mostly, an ongoing pain of 3 to 6 months is considered as diagnostic. A patient may have two or more co-existing pain conditions or widespread generalised pain. This condition is managed best with homeopathy.
I have patient, a middle-aged man with a small keloid on the left side of the chest which was there since many years. Gradually, he developed pain in it and over the years, the pain gradually increased all over the chest. He started ‘doctor-shopping’ with cardiologists and one by one all of them declared his pain to be of non-cardiac origin. In the bargain, he also underwent a dozen of investigations including E.C.G., Stress Test and to complete the list, CT Angiography. The medicines prescribed so far were nonsteroidal, antiinflammatory drugs, antihypertensives, anti-anginals and tranquilizers. He had also taken homeopathy for a few years but all in vain.
In January 2000, I saw him with these complains.
He has a family business of selling incense sticks for which he needs to travel; all his brothers are engaged in this business. For many years, this business flourished but since a few years, it had slowed down because of the competition. He is the middle sibling of the three brothers and hence always sandwiched between the elder brother, the father and the younger brother. He is married and has a sixteen year old daughter; he is happily married but his problem with his brothers is very long standing. Many times they blame him for the mistakes he never committed and had always been making fun of him. He always told his wife about all of this but never had the confidence to retaliate back to his brothers, as any arguments would only increase his chest pain, and as he became invalid due to his pain, the emotional conflicts started increasing.
The rest of the history one can read from the symptoms I took in the totality mentioned below:
- MIND – AILMENTS FROM – excitement – emotional
- MIND – ANXIETY – heart; about his
- MIND – CONFIDENCE – want of self-confidence
- MIND – DELUSIONS – ill-treated by everyone; he is
- MIND – FEAR – heart – disease of the heart
- MIND – FRIGHTENED easily – trifles, at
- MIND – INSECURITY; mental
- MOUTH – INDENTED – Tongue
- URINE – ODOR – strong
- CHEST – CONSTRICTION – Sides – left
- CHEST – PAIN – anxiety; with
- CHEST – PAIN – anxiety; with – aching
- CHEST – PAIN – excitement – agg.
- CHEST – PAIN – Heart – excitement agg.
- CHEST – PAIN – Sides – inspiration – agg.
- CHEST – PAIN – Sides – left
- CHEST – PALPITATION of heart – exertion – agg.
- EXTREMITIES – COLDNESS – Fingers – Tips
- EXTREMITIES – COLDNESS – Hands
- GENERALS – LIE DOWN – desire to
I started the treatment with Aurum metallicum 30c but it did not bring out good results; then the medicine was changed toPhosphorus 30c yet nothing good happened to his painful condition. The main thing in this case was his feeling, ‘that my brothers and father do not respect me and had ill treated me’, and a direct link of his pain to any excitement. Finally I thought of Sumbul 30c; this was given which brought about an immediate feeling of well-being. The remedy was continued, and at the same time, I gave him lots of suggestions regarding his emotional conflict with his family. Finally, at the end of three months, I stopped all his allopathic medicines which were once his life line. My initial knowledge regarding this remedy was, that Sumbul is a remedy for hysterical symptoms along with arteriosclerosis; however, this particular case changed my thinking and today I can say that this is one of the best remedy for passive aggressive behaviour due to the family disputes.
It has antispasmodic properties, hence its use in various painful conditions. It is believed to have a specific action on the pelvic organs, and is widely employed in cases of dysmenorrhoea and allied female disorders.
It resembles Phosphorus, and Lachesis (because of lots of symptoms with constriction).
Over sensitiveness and excitability are the main causative factors. The emotions directly affect the heart producing lots of symptoms with constriction which are worse from excitement.
This was a case of an eight years old girl from Singapore, who complained of chronic pain around the umbilical area since four years. The pain occurs daily and remains for few hours and then disappears. The intensity of the pain has been constant over the years. The pain usually comes after breakfast or dinner and in the afternoon, occasionally there is vomiting accompanying the pain. The type of pain is cramping, lancinating and shooting. During the pain she cries and wants to lie down. She has no appetite and no thirst. Food habits were normal except that she prefers having onions in her salad and with certain meals. She was always dull and lazy in the morning hours. The mother mentioned to me that she also has offensive odour from the mouth. Emotionally, she is very extroverted but a very clinging child, very much dependent on the mother. She lives with her mother and is the only child; her father had abandoned the mother after her birth. She has no communication with her father what so ever. Mother feels that she silently misses her father, but does not like to express her grief to anyone.
- MIND – CLINGING – children; in
- MIND – CLINGING – children; in – mother; child clings to the
- MIND – DEPENDENT of others
- MIND – EXTROVERTED PERSONALITY
- MOUTH – ODOR – offensive
- ABDOMEN – DISTENSION
- ABDOMEN – PAIN – breakfast – after – agg.
- ABDOMEN – PAIN – dinner – after – agg.
- ABDOMEN – PAIN – eating – after – agg.
- ABDOMEN – PAIN – Umbilicus
- ABDOMEN – PAIN – Umbilicus – Region of umbilicus – dinner – after – agg.
- ABDOMEN – PAIN – Umbilicus – sitting agg.
- ABDOMEN – RUMBLING – breakfast – after – agg.
- ABDOMEN – RUMBLING – morning
- GENERALS – FOOD and DRINKS – onions – desire
The case had some good symptoms, I decided to repertorise the symptoms and I selected Allium cepa 30c, to be taken as three doses in week for three weeks. There was a fabulous response for first few months but later on, the response was moderate. While selecting Allium cepa, I had totally ignored the fact that she has a silent grief for her ‘absent father’; based on this fact, I selected Natrum mur 30c once a week for eight weeks which totally removed the pain. In a span of just few months, her chronic pain was totally gone.
Remember, Natrum mur children can be clingy like Pulsatilla, but at the same time, missing the love and care of their parents.