Female aged 61 years presents with severe arthritis in her hands which began at age 42 years when she moved from a hot climate to a very cold one. Her hands and fingers are swollen and are becoming severely deformed with the fingers curling inward and twisting. Her right hand is worse, but both hands suffer sharp pains and a burning sensation. They also have no strength and limited movement, her right hand she couldn’t close.
The arthritis began at age 42 years when the patient would wake up with her fists clenched. She remembers having really bad dreams at the time. Her fingers began to become twisted and deformed at age 49.
Her health history includes a full hysterectomy at age 41 years due to a massive fibroid tumor in the uterus (she appeared to be heavily pregnant). She was hit by a car from behind at age 34 and landed on her right side and elbow. She suffered severe headaches for several years after this. She has never slept more than 3-4 hours in her life and can have bad dreams (no general theme), but awakes feeling very frightened. She also suffered panic attacks until very recently.
For the last 3 years she has suffered severe chest infections and pneumonia every winter and takes months to recover. She suffers from hemorrhoids especially after eating red meat. She has a very low appetite and often forgets to eat. She craves acids and salty food. The pain and inability to move, both in her hands and hips and legs, is worse in the mornings and on the right side.
She really feels the cold and can not take much alcohol as it makes her quite ill. She is anxious in nature especially about driving to new places and driving at night.
She loves to travel and spent most of her life from age 21 until 58 years of age living and traveling overseas. I could see that she did not feel comfortable discussing anything emotional, so I went with the generals and physicals as there were plenty.
I chose the following rubrics using Murphy:
Hands, burning, fingers (pg 826)
Hands, swelling, fingers (pg 858)
Female, fibroids, uterus (pg 659)
Lungs, pneumonia, infection (pg 1225)
Sleep, disturbed, sleep, dreams by (pg 1684)
Generals, morning, agg (pg 770)
Food, salt, desires (pg 742)
|Widows peakSloped forehead
|Ball noseBall chin
|Eyes- recessed lidsTeeth
Asymmetry ?eyes/ mouth
Lines – from mouth
Miasm Cancer? Brown
Several brown remedies were in the repertorisation: Arg Nit, Ars, Caust, Nat Carb and Sil
I chose Silica 30 daily, not only because it came through in every rubric but it described the patient’s coldness and intense dislike of the coldness and its negative effects on her. It also fitted the picture of anxiety very strongly.
She started taking the Silica 30 daily in July 2006. Took it for about 8 weeks. She reported feeling good, but she had no improvement in her hands. The only change was a slight increase in energy and this was her first winter in several years without getting pneumonia. A few colds presented but they were thrown off quite quickly and easily. In essence the result was good, but more was needed.
I decided to try a higher dose seeing that the effects of Silica had been positive so far. I gave the patient a dose of Silica 200C. She reported a dramatic reduction in the pain in her hands the following day. The pain continued to dissipate for the next week but by day 11 it had returned. She took another dose of Silica 200 and again the pain reduced dramatically for about 3 weeks and she had a lot more movement. The next dose was given 24 days after the last, movement was again increased, pain dramatically reduced and the swelling was also reducing quite a lot.
We met 35 days later and her middle finger on her right hand had straightened up and turned back from the permanent twisted, hook position it had been in for years. The arthritic condition of the hand was slowly reversing.
In unison with the improvement of her hands, her anxiety levels have also improved. When faced with what would have been extremely upsetting situations for her, she is now responding and reacting in a more relaxed manner,. in effect, not letting things get her upset or anxious. She is also fighting off illness quickly (she is exposed to a lot as she works with young children in education).
We continue to evaluate her condition every month or so. She contacts me as the pain begins to return and we reassess, but each time, her hands are slowly improving. Her pain levels have reduced overall by 50% in the right thumb and 70% in all other fingers. The mobility in her hands has increased 80% and she can now make a fist which was impossible before the Silica. The swelling in her fingers has also reduced 70% especially in her right thumb.
She takes a new dose of Silica 200C each time the pain begins to return. Each time she takes a dose there is a dramatic improvement in pain overnight. The swelling and the mobility has not reversed during the treatment, it slowly improves. The frequency of the doses has been 11 days, 24 days, 35 days, 44 days and 32 days. This last dose was required sooner due to the extra stress of the Christmas period although she handled it quite well.