Dr B S Suvarna
B.A, D.I.Hom[Lond.], M.I.H, PhD, PGDPC (Psychotherapy & Counselling, USA)
MAMTHA HOMOEO CLINIC
Karnataka State, India
Pain varies from that produced by an acute malfunction to nagging minor irritation , as a result different approaches to pain relief are appropriate for different conditions . Conventional medicine has tended to rely on the prescription of powerful drugs to alleviate symptoms ; they may not address the cause of the problem and may be too harsh for the body , complementary therapies provide an approach in which the sufferer can take change of their own well-being , an accurate medical diagnosis of the cause of pain is always advisable and for serious illness , complimentary therapies should be practiced along side conventional treatment .
The nervous System And Pain ; pain can be felt in most parts of the body although some parts have fewer nerve endings than others , the nervous system transmits the sensation of pain from the body to the brain . the nervous system is made up of a net work of complex fibers known as nerves that thread through out the human body like house hold wiring , the nerves conduct electrical signals back and forth between the brain and the organ mostly richly supplied with nerves , it needs to be very sensitive as it is in direct contact with our surroundings the nervous system transmits the messages it receives from the skin to the brain where they are interpreted as pain or another form of stimulus , other parts of the body , such as the muscles and joints and internal organs , also produce pain signals if they are damaged or over stretched .
The nervous system consists of three different systems which connect to a particular part of the brain , the motor nervous system , which controls the muscles of the body.
The sensory nerves system which channels information from the 5 main bodily senses of sight , sound , touch ,taste and smell and the sensation of pain to your brain . The autonomic nervous system which controls automatic functions such as breathing , heart beat and digestion . the most important part of the brain for the central nervous system is the thin outer layer or “gray matter “known as the cerebral cortex the area that controls voluntary muscle movement of the limbs is known as the motor area , while the area that receives sensations of pain and touch is the sensory area but all except the most simple of signals are relayed to different areas of the brain and can be modified by other messages of inhibition or stimulation .
Nerve Pathways :
Messages to the brain are carried in nerves of neurons which run from the periphery of the body into the spinal cord where they are protected by the bones of the spine , called the vertebrae . The spinal cord runs up through the vertebrae to the brain , signals from the brain are relayed via nerves down the spinal cord to every part of the body and back again . The brain is protected by the bones of the cranium , damage to the cranium or vertebrae puts the nervous system at risk and intense pain can be caused by trapping nerves between vertebrae , “sciatica” is caused by the trapping of the sciatic nerve at the base of the spine but it is felt as a shooting pain down the leg . It is there fore an example of repetitive strain ,injury is similarly caused by the median nerve , which runs to the finger tips , being trapped by the radial bones of the wrist . The spinal nerve bundles include nerves of both the motor and sensory systems , if the sensory nerves in the hand pick up a sensation is relayed via the spinal nerves to sensory area of the brain , the sensory area sends a signal to the motor area which transmits a signal to the motor area which transmits a signal back via the spinal cord . This tells the muscles of the hand to let go of the sauce pan quickly . To pass from cell to cell the messages need to cross gaps known as synapses via the release of chemicals which pass the impulse across the gap , it is at the synapse that the messages can be modified or controlled .
Autonomic Nervous System :
The autonomic nervous system controls the body’s automatic functions – those which are not normally subject to conscious control such as breathing and digestion ,it is concerned with the maintenance of the normal state of the body and is governed by the cerebral and the hypothalamus (a lobe in the center ) areas of the brain . The system comprises the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system ,the sympathetic system is the “all=action” emergency nervous system the one that controls the “fight or flight “response programmed into our instincts early in our evolution ,stimulation of the nerves in this system – from fear , anger or hunger . for example – speeds up the heart and breathing rates increases the blood supply to the muscles , dilates the pupils of the eye and reduces digestion and urine and saliva productions , in contrast the parasympathetic system is the “rest and recuperation “ system this is the one that takes over during rest or sleep slowing the heart and breathing rates and increase digestion , nerve cells or axons are encased and protected by an outer layer called the myelin sheath made from a mixture of protein and fats , it acts as an insulator allowing signals to be transmitted through the axons more rapidly .
Neuralgia : neuralgia is a term for pain arising from a nerve that is being irritated or trapped usually between bones (sciatica is a form of neuralgia ). The pain may be felt all along the course of the nerve and not just at the point under pressure , the pain may be constant or intermittent as in trigeminal neuralgia affecting the trigeminal nerve of the face . As neuralgia is symptom , there are many different causes
Causes : post – herpetic is the pain that follows an attack of shingles where the nerve has been irritated and inflamed by the herpes zoster virus , it can be of a very distressing kind but usually lasts only a few weeks . the pain is felt along the course of the nerve affected .
Trigeminal Neuralgia : is a condition affecting the trigeminal nerve and produces a lancing . Severe pain in the face and over the eye , it is often triggered by eating , smoking or a cold wind bony neuralgia arises as from a trapped nerve , either as a result of an old fracture that has not healed or a collapsed vertebra in the lumbar region of the spine or in the neck .
Prevention And Self Help : It is important to obtain a correct diagnosis and a visit to a doctor or osteopath / chiropractor who will carry out a full examination with X-rays , if necessary is essential . The trigeminal nerves split into several branches across the face . they can be affected by neuralgia . Home treatments include pain killers and using hot water bottles on the affected area to relieve pain , reducing muscle tension through breathing and relaxation exercises will also help . Homoeopathy can be very useful in removing trouble some neuralgia both because it reduces muscle tension and restores nervous function , electro- acupuncture is some times used .
Multiple Sclerosis :
Multiple sclerosis is a disabling and distressing illness of the central nervous system that affects young people and is characterized by remissions and relapses , lesions develop in the fatty protective covering of the nerves (the nerve sheath ) that is made from myelin ,the damage results in loss of nerve condition ( the ability of nerves to carry nervous impulses ) more in the sensory part of the nervous system than in the motor part , i.e , it affects the nerves carrying sensation rather than the nerves that carry movement messages , MS can effect all nerves but is most common in the nerves supplying the hands and legs , other vulnerable nerves include the optic nerve and the vestibular nerve ( affecting balance ) .
Causes : The precise cause of MS is not known , it seems to be more common in temperate climes and women are affected twice as often as men . there is a suggestion that it occurs more frequently in families , the two factors that are now felt to be the most likely causes are the effects of a “ slow virus “ ( a virus that lives in the body for a long time ) and diet , there is some evidence that diet (lack of certain essential fatty acids that make up the myelin ) may be a cause .
Symptoms : These vary enormously and it can take 2 or 3 episodes of MS before the diagnosis is certain they include –
- pins and needles
- manual clumsiness
- dropping drinks or cigarettes
- loss of balance and vertigo
- loss of vision , blurring or dimmed sight
- bladder disturbances , especially sudden incontinence
Prevention And Self Help : A proper diagnosis is essential and you should visit your doctor if you have any symptoms or are concerned blood tests and possibly a lumbar puncture and a scan of the spinal cord will help , confirm the diagnosis is essential and you should visit your doctor if you have any symptoms or are concerned , blood tests and possibly a lumbar puncture and a scan of the spinal cord will help , confirm the diagnosis one way or another , foods to eat –fruits and vegetables , fructose and honey , oats , brown rice , whole wheat flour , low – fat milk , pulses , fish . Foods to avoid alcohol , coffee , animal fats , full cream milk , meat , peanuts , white flour products .
Take up a gentle exercise routine which helps with posture and awareness such as yoga or the Alexander technique, learn a relaxation and breathing exercise , try meditation , massage and reflexology will help .
A naturopathic approach will involve hydrotherapy to keep joints and muscles loose and exercised ., relaxation exercises to relieve stress , dietary guidance – eat fresh fruit – vegetables , low fat meats , white fish such as cod and haddock sprouted seeds such as bean sprouts and cress and pulses . Dietary supplements- take vitamin B12 one 50 mg tablet three times a day and evening primrose oil one tablet 3 times a day .
Epilepsy : Epilepsy is a condition of the central nervous system affecting the brain which leads to recurrent “fits “ or seizures that are associated with loss of consciousness , the nerve cells in the brain send messages to one another through small electric impulses that can be picked up by an EEG machine that produces an electro- encephalogram, in epilepsy disturbances of electrical discharge occur both during and between attacks , epilepsy does not affect the mental state and although there may be some psychological disturbance as a result of long standing disease sufferers feel quite normal between attacks .
Dizziness ; Dizziness can be both a very minor and not uncommon symptom or if persisting it is there fore important to have a proper medical examination if the symptoms persist . The spinning sensation and feeling of faintness may be accompanied by nausea and actual vomiting , if there is a loss of balance and staggering (vertigo) it is important to seek medical help , occasionally dizziness may be accompanied by ringing in the ears (tinnitus ).
Migraine Head Ache : it is a form of recurrent head ache which affects both sexes , it has been estimated that up to 5 % of the population suffer from it . There are various different types , classical migraine usually affects one side of the head is preceded by an aura and is characterized by throbbing , nausea occasionally vomiting and photophobia (the pain is worse in the light ) there is usually a family history and people with migraine are characteristically hard working and obsessional ,attacks can be triggered off by over work or emotional tension . Migraine appears to be a disease of the blood vessels of the brain , in the initial stages (aura ) the blood vessels constrict , restricting the blood flow to the brain and then dilate , causing the throbbing pain and eye symptoms . The head ache may last a few hours , but in a variant called cluster migraine the head ache may occur daily for up to 3 months and is often associated with watery red eyes , common migraine is not so severe as the two previous types and is often confused with a simple head ache . Abdominal migraine is rarer but occurs relatively , frequently , especially in children . It presents with stomach pain , nausea and occasionally vomiting
Homoeopathic Remedies : Nervous Remedies : —Aconite, chamomilla , ignatia , nux vomica , coffea cruda