Clinical Cases

A Case of High Blood Pressure

hypertension treatment with homeopathy remedies

Homeopath Erin Douglas presents a case of hypertension in a woman of 32.

Gender:                Female

Age:                      32 years

Occupation:                   Health Insurance Consultant

Case start date:    December 15, 2014

History of Present Illness: 

Patient arrived bearing an allopathic diagnosis of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and high blood pressure, for which she is taking medication (Norvasc). Patient has been on Norvasc for five years (since she was 27 years of age) and has been told that she will have to take the high blood pressure medication for the rest of her life.  She also suffers from chronic muscular tension in the neck and routinely visits a massage therapist and a chiropractor to alleviate these symptoms.

Etiology:

Patient moved to a new city after ending a very serious relationship with a man whom she thought she would marry. One year later, she realized that she had problem with her blood pressure when her doctor refused to refill her birth control pill prescription because her blood pressure was too high.  IBS symptoms of runny, light orange stools and gassiness after eating started at the same time.  For as long as she can remember, patient suffers with chronic neck pain where the pain gets so bad that “she wants to remove her head from her neck because she feels as though her neck will not be able to support her head.

Major Presenting Symptoms:

Bowel movements fluctuate between watery and constipation. Will be gassy and bloated for two hours after eating.  Bowel movements can be a range of different colors, mostly light orange.  High blood pressure symptoms include excessive sweating and a general feeling of anxiety.  Very thirsty.  Chronic neck pain so severe “that I want to remove my head from my body”.  Also accompanied by a feeling of tightness in the front of her chest- feels like there is a weight on her chest.”

Mind – Very stressed, very tense all of the time. Hates her job even though she is an over-achiever at work.  Doing quality work is important to her.  Tends to fall in love with the “wrong men,” men who are already married or emotionally unavailable.  Will not cry in front of people.  Wants to be alone if she is sad; consolation annoys her.  Ever since she can remember, will startle very easily.

Vertigo – Patient does not suffer from vertigo.

Neck pain – 9/10; chronic pain.  Feels as though she would be better off removing her head from her body.  Almost as if she neck cannot support the weight of her head.

Chest – When feeling anxious, patient is able to keenly feel chest palpitations.

Stomach – Aversion to milk and bread.  Will suffer from gassiness and bloating several hours after eating.  Craves salty foods, potato chips.  “If I could eat kettle chips every day, I would.”

Bowel Movements – Would start getting soft bowel movements accompanied by gas.  It’s been awhile since she has had a good bowel movement.  Most of her stool is soft and falls apart, lighter orange in color.  When she felt good, they were darker brown.  Her bowel movements are inconsistent; will go a whole day without a bowel movement and the next day will not be as good. If there is no bowel movement the day before, the following day will surprise her and she will have to run to the washroom.  It will typically be diarrhea with a light orange color, no mucous. There is no accompanying feeling of sickness, it flows out and the whole event is over.  If she is stressed, she will have two or more bowel movements per day.

Thermals – She is a warm person to the point where she gets clammy hot.  Would rather be cold then hot.  If she starts sweating, it is difficult for her to come down to a normal temperature.  Sitting and sweating for her is one of the worst things she can imagine.  Does not enjoy sitting in the sun.

Thirst – Generally thirsty.  Will reach for cold water.

Sleep – Tremors at night.  Patient twitches in her sleep.  Otherwise, sleeps soundly.  Likes to be fully covered when she sleeps.  Has no trouble falling asleep.  Will sleep for 6-7 hours per night.

Rubrics Used:

Mind, starting, easily

Mind, consolation, agg.

Rectum, constipation, alternating with diarrhoea

Stomach, desires, salty things

Generalities, warm, agg.

Generalities, jerking muscles, sleep, during

Chest, palpation, heart, anxiety

Additional – I suspect that the patient may suffer with gluten intolerance.  I have also asked her to try removing gluten from her diet for the next three weeks as a test period to see if she feels better.

Remedy Differential: 

SULPHUR

Although some of the patients unique symptoms fit nicely:

  • “Talks, jerks and twitches in sleep” (Boericke)
  • “Sulfur is generally thirsty for cold water” (Farrington)
  • “Perspiration gives no relief; in fact the patient is usually made worse by it” (Farrington)

Some of the patients more characteristic symptoms are not covered specifically by Sulphur:

  • Stool picture does not match specifically (alternation between constipation and diarrhoea). The closest I could find from the Suphur picture was from Hering, “stools: soft and very thin; frequent, pasty; semi-liquid; brown, watery, corrosive; sometimes painless; putrid; expulsion sudden, often involuntary.”
  • There is “anxiety in chest” (Hering) in Sulphur, but it makes no reference to heart palpitations.

Overall, I do not like this remedy for the patient as it does not fit her mind picture at all. There is no mention in any of the major materia medica’s of Sulphur patients being easily startled or averse to consolation.

PHOSPHORUS

On many levels, I like Phosphorus for this patient. Many of the patient’s more characteristic symptoms are nicely represented by Phosphorus:

  • “The patient is easily startled” (Farrington)
  • “…called for in heart disease where palpitations are worse from every emotion” (Farrington)
  • “Stools: soft, paplike; scanty, semifluid; green; whitish-grey; grey; green mucous; white mucous; white watery; green watery; yellow watery; biliousprofuse; alternating with constipation” (Hering)
  • “Crave salt”  (Neatby)
  • “Over-sensitiveness to all external impressions” (Farrington)

The mind picture still does not seem to fit.  A lot of the fears that I see in the Phosphorus mind (fear of the dark, fear of death, evening, night, alone, etc.) do not match up with how I saw the patient during the interview. She was brave enough to travel to a new city at a young age and start anew.  As well, the phosphorus patient is generally ameliorated by consolation.

NATRUM MURIATICUM

Overall, I like how the Natrum Muriaticum picture aligns with the patient.  Many of the patient’s more characteristic symptoms are covered specifically by this remedy:

  • “Starts and talks in sleep, tosses about.” (Hering)
  • “Any expression of sympathy or any attempt to console only aggravates the situation” (Farrington)
  • “Exhausted in the heat of summer and in the sun” (Neatby)
  • “The patient is easily startled” (Farrington)
  • “Heart palpitation is a constant complaint in physical and mental conditions” (Farrington)
  • “Patients are generally thirsty” (Neatby)
  • “Desire for salt, aversion to bread” (Farrington)
  • “Alternate constipation and papescent stool. Irregular stools, sometimes two or three a day, then constipation.” (Hering)
  • “Starts and talks in sleep, tosses about.” (Hering)

Remedy Choice and Posology: 

I would begin the patient with 2 pellets of Natrum Muriaticum 200CH and ask to see her in two weeks.

Follow Up # 1                                                                                                January 8, 2015

Took remedy the 20th December, 2 pellets Nat. Mur.  200CH

Patient made a small journal of observed changes:

December 22nd – Quite moody, got into a few arguments with mother; was feeling very relaxed despite the moodiness, not motivated (unusual because she is normally quite motivated).

December 24/ 25th – Good energy, sleeping well at night; sleeping the whole night, not waking up; over-sleeping; still easily startled, but not as intense. Christmas snacking was impacting her bowel movements; small rabbit poo; dry and unsatisfying; no more bloating, cramps.

Evening of December 28th – Had a panic attack. Tons of people moving around, coming in and out of the house.  Drank a little bit of alcohol and was laying in bed but not asleep.  Was lightly drifting in and out of sleep. All of the sudden, it felt like her heart was going to jump out of her chest.  Used deep breathing to calm herself down (which helped her mind, didn’t help her heart).  Eventually stopped because she fell asleep.  Later on that evening, she sat up in bed (convinced that something was happening) and she struggled to get a perspective on what was going on.   She has never had this happen before.

December 29th – January 1st – One bowel movement.  She was feeling crampy.  Mood was okay.  She was definitely sleeping quite a bit; sleeping up to nine hours a day or more.  It could have been a holiday thing as she had more time to relax.  Felt more relaxed than normal.

January 2nd — Had a crazy dream.  Looming violence.  Man was stalking her and her sister.  We were inside the house and he was outside.  He was super blonde.  When she woke, felt startled.  She couldn’t believe that it wasn’t real.  In her dream it was 4:34 and when she awoke and looked at the clock it was 4:34.

Evaluation: 

Mind – Feeling good.  Do not feel too much of a change.  Perhaps a bit happier, due to a sudden career change and breaking off a bad relationship with a married man.

Vertigo – Does not suffer from vertigo.

Neck pain – Better since taking the remedy.  Still hurts a bit (5/10) but before it was a (9/10).  Not so much pain now, but a bit of stiffness.  Also affects her upper back, right alongside her spine.

Chest – When feeling anxious, patient is able to keenly feel chest palpitations.

Stomach – Has started a gluten-free diet.  No longer suffering from gassiness and bloating after eating.  Food cravings remain unchanged; craves salty foods, potato chips.

Bowel Movements – Much better.  Went through a period of constipation right after taking the remedy (small, dry, pellet-like) but now she is having one normal bowel movement a day.

Thermals – No change.  With the exception that patient has noticed that she is perspiring more, especially during yoga.  Whereas before perspiration bothered her, she says that she enjoys it and that the perspiration feels good.

Thirst – No change.  Generally thirsty.  Will reach for cold water.

Sleep– No more jerking or tremors at night.  Sleeping well.  Waking refreshed.

Evaluation: 

The patient has responded very well to the remedy.  I would like to continue with 2 pellets of the Nat. Mur 200CH and see her again in a month.

Follow Up #2                                                                                               February 24, 2015

Took remedy the 10th January, 2 pellets Nat. Mur.  200C

Mind – Everything is good; especially considering still going through a transition at work.  Patient has noticed that before she was reactive to things around her, now she is creating the work.  She has embraced a different way of thinking where she is the architect of her destiny.  Has been using the last three months to focus on herself.  Now, is beginning to think about getting back into the dating scene. Admits that she puts on a strong front all of the time and feels that there are things she is emotionally repressing.  Feels confident that she will figure out what she is repressing.  Feels that this treatment is helping her get to her underlying issues.

Vertigo – Does not suffer from vertigo.

Neck pain – Better since taking the remedy.  Much better a couple of weeks after taking the remedy.  Has started to hurt a bit again.

Chest – Noticed that she feels a lot of emotions in her chest and has realized that she will hold her breath when she is feeling stressed.  Working on taking deep breathes during work.

Stomach – Been gluten-free for almost three months now.  No longer suffering from gassiness and bloating after eating.  Food cravings remain unchanged; craves salty foods, potato chips.

Bowel Movements – Regular bowel movements. No mucous, no bloating at all.

Thermals – No change.

Thirst – No change.  Generally thirsty.  Will reach for cold water.

Sleep – No more jerking or tremors at night.  Sleeping well.  Waking refreshed.

Evaluation: 

Patient seems to be in a good place, both mentally and physically.  Neck pain has returned slightly, so would like to repeat dosage of Nat. Mur 200 CH and ask to see her in two to three months.

Follow up #3                                                                                                    May 26, 2015

Mind – Everything at work is good.  Patient is happy that she is running her “own little ship.”  She is learning and having fun.  Admits that she always falls for the wrong men.  She is not interested in the good boys.  Saw the way that her father was treated and he was a good man.  Not interested in being treated or treating another person that way.  Not dating yet.  Still working on herself.

Vertigo – Been feeling lightheaded; comes with a feeling a vertigo when patient lifts her head too fast.

Neck pain – Tension is gone from the neck.  Still feels a bit tight.

Chest – Has been working on her breathing and not holding her emotions in her chest.  Has noticed improvement.

Stomach – Still gluten-free; will not go back to eating bread.  No gassiness or problems with overall digestion.  Feels great in this regard.

Bowel Movements – Bowel movements are normal; once a day; firm.  No diarrhea, no cramping.

Thermals – Not perspiring as much anymore.  Has even noticed that in yoga, she is not perspiring as much and not feeling hot at her desk anymore.  Hands are no longer cold and clammy.

Thirst – Noticed an increase in thirst.  Has switched to warm or room temperature water.

Sleep – Has been good.  Getting 7-8 hours a night.  Waking refreshed.

New Symptoms:

Head – Patient has been suffering from headaches “at the front of the forehead” comes in a whoosh (very abruptly).  Has been noticing sensitivity to light while driving; comes and goes suddenly.  The headaches are not debilitating and they are not migraines.  Patient is unsure what is causing it.

Evaluation:

I suspect that the Nat. Mur has helped to lower Kristen’s blood pressure and this is the reason that she is suffering from vertigo and headaches.  I have asked her to go back to her doctor (GP/MD) to have her blood pressure checked.  No remedy given.

Follow Up—Phone call                                                                                           June 15, 2015

Patient made an appointment to see her medical doctor and her blood pressure  measured  low.  Medical Doctor has agreed to do a two week test where patient will be off her high blood pressure medication.  Patient is suffering from neck and chest tightness.  2 pellets of Nat. Mur. 200 CH given.

Follow UP- Phone call                                                                                            July 3rd, 2015

Patient went in for follow-up with her Medical Doctor and he has agreed that patient no longer needs to take high blood pressure medication.

About the author

Erin Douglas

Erin Douglas

Erin Douglas is a classically trained homeopath and a registered yoga instructor currently practicing in Honolulu, Hawaii. Having graduated from the Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine in 2013, Erin went on to complete a yogic therapeutics course in Rishikesh, India as well as a Vipassana meditation course in Chiang Mai, Thailand. A strong advocate of Body-Mind-Spirit wellness, Erin is founder of My Intrinsic Wellness, a health and wellness center founded on the idea that true wellness comes from within. In addition, Erin has published numerous articles on classical homeopathy, mindfulness and yoga. For more information, please visit her website: http://www.myintrinsicwellness.com

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