Date of consultation: May 11, 2021
Miriam is a 66-year-old married woman living in Cape Town, South Africa. She is an avid botanist, biologist, gardener, and herbalist, growing her own food and herbs. She is dedicated to her little farmyard of chickens, ducks, Guinea fowl and cat.
Her history includes six surgeries as a child before age 16, including, two eye surgeries and four surgeries to remove teeth. As a youth she had bone removed from her hip and inserted into a removed metacarpal cyst in her left hand. As a young adult she had surgery to release a chronically contracted flexor tendon in the right index finger and an appendectomy.
Miriam’s chief complaint was a headache at the onset of a Berg wind. The Berg winds raise the temperature rapidly and once overheated Miriam experiences a headache. She noted that she also responds to dehydration with a headache.
The location of the headache was described as brain stem, deep inside the head. “It feels tight on the inside not just tight on the outside of the head.” There is pain on the right side up along the mastoid bone. It is continual pain, so intense that she cannot lie down.
Lying down aggravates, as does getting angry, getting stressed and eye strain from computer work. Ameliorating activities are wetting the hair and cooling down by swimming in a pool.
Other physical symptoms include a stiff neck along the right side of the neck. Pain is described as a sharp pain on movement that can extend down into her chest or down her arm into her palm. The sensation of a tight upper back and shoulders was also mentioned.
Miriam described her general thermal state as warm with a strong intolerance for heat. Within fifteen minutes of being outside in the strong South African sun, Miriam must go indoors, or she is likely to get a headache. She cannot wear anything around her neck but when cold may wear a light scarf.
She reported diminished perspiration and diminished thirst. Non free-range eggs and sometimes bacon cause (sudden onset) severe cramps and diarrhea and she often gets heartburn and infrequently waterbrash, especially if lying on her right side.
She loves salt and gets really “hangry” if a meal is missed. She has a diminished sense of smell, a symptom she has had for a very long time. Miriam describes her nature as kind and very caring, solid, genuine, always up for argument, mellowed, don’t suffer fools gladly, impatient, feisty, frustration and hurt makes her angry but she is more mellowed now.
Typically, when She gets a headache, she will take
- Grandpa Headache powders (combination of Aspirin, paracetamol and caffeine). [taken only during the day because of the caffeine]
- Ibuprofen 400mg + panado (paracetamol) 500mg combination. [taken at night]
- “Headache” 30C combination remedy from local homeopathic pharmacy containing:
Ant crud; arnica montana; ars alb; bry; chamomilla; gels; iris vers; Sang can; spig ant.
- CONGESTIVO (by Natura) combination remedy containing:
Aconit nap spag D3; Amb gris D30; Arn mon spag D3; Ars iod D6; Ferrum phos D10; Glonoinum D6; Kali phos D10; Puls vul D4; Sang can spag D3; Sepia off D6; Strych nux v D4; Verat vir D3.
The allopathic medications or homeopathic remedies worked to relieve the headaches some of the time, but not consistently. Headaches associated with Berg winds were not reliably reduced by these medications or remedies.
Miriam reported that she has struggled with heat for a very long time. Even when attending a dancing class, she needed to wear a cooling wrap around her head/neck, and often got a headache after a class. She is very careful when she goes out in the heat, watching the amount of time in the sun and taking water with her.
|Mental and emotional||Physical||Modalities||Confirmatory symptoms|
|Miriam’s symptoms||· Dwells on past events
· Anxiety- dislike of closed places
· Cannot sit still
· Stiff neck
· Neck pain extending down to chest and arm
· Diminished smell
< berg wind
< tension & stress
< lying down
< getting angry
< eye strain
> wetting hair
|· Can’t miss a meal
· Diminished sweat
· No thirst
· heart burn
Therapeutic intervention: May 11 – October 21, 2021
- On May 11, 2021, Miriam was started on Natrum Muriaticum 30C 2 pellets once a day on Tuesdays and Fridays.
- On June 2, (after only three doses of the remedy) one headache episode was reported and no noticeable change in symptoms. The dose was reduced to one pellet and the frequency increased to once a day.
- On August 20, Miriam reported consistently taking the remedy and noticed a marked improvement including a headache episode in which the remedy was able to clear the headache and no headache episodes in the presence of the hot Berg winds. No change was noted in the neck pain, diminished sense of smell, agitation and not sitting still and heartburn. The dose was increased to two pellets once a day.
- On September 21, Miriam reported that in most instances when there are Berg wind scenarios, she no longer experiences a headache. No change was reported in the other symptoms. Potency was increased to 200C 2 pellets, once a day. Frequency was decreased to Monday-Wednesday-Friday.
- On October 21 Miriam changed to taking the remedy on an ‘as needed’ basis. She reported “in most instances when there are Berg wind scenarios, I no longer experience a headache if I catch it in time… timing is everything!!” She found that if she is able take one dose of the Natrum Muriaticum 200C at the time the Berg winds begin, she is able to avert the headache. However, there are still sometimes when the heat is too intense, and she succumbs to overheating and the headache.
This case illustrates that Natrum Muriaticum was able to address Miriam’s chief complaint of headache that occurred as a result of a Berg (hot) wind scenario. Miriam reported that if she takes the remedy as the Berg wind begins, she has greater success at avoiding the headache.
Natrum Muriaticum is known for symptoms that are worse with heat. However, it is also recommended to not give Natrum Muriaticum in the acute (headache) scenario (rather give the acute Bryonia for the acute headache), but to give it when the headache is over to address the chronic symptom.
Miriam has found that taking the remedy as the Berg winds start and before the headache has begun, she is able to prevent the headache occurring. It is possible that consistent administration of the remedy for a few more months may provide an even more reliable reduction in headache episodes.
“It has been a learning experience to attune to both the weather patterns and my body and discern the precise moment to take the Natrum Muriaticum in order to prevent a headache. I am more successful now than ever before, and that is a great relief.”
- ’Berg Wind’. American Meteorological Society – glossary of meteorology. 2012
- Mukamal KJ, Wellenius GA, Suh HH, Mittleman MA. Weather and air pollution as triggers of severe headaches. Neurology, 2009; 72: 922-927.
- Michael Teut, Robbert A. van Haselen, Lex Rutten, Chetna Deep Lamba, Gerhard Bleul, Susanne Ulbrich-Zürni. Case Reporting in Homeopathy—An Overview of Guidelines and Scientific Tools. The Faculty of Homeopathy 2021, 1-8.
- Van Haselen RA. Homeopathic clinical case reports: Development of a supplement (HOM-CASE) to the CARE clinical case reporting guideline. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 2016:25, 78-85.