Being a student of homeopathic medicine is a journey from known to unknown. Regardless of how much we read our material medica, it always challenges our limits. It is often said “your eyes will see in a patient, what your mind knows.” Here we have illustrated how to use and differentiate remedies, which we have learned through our clinical experience while treating cases.
We once had a case of a middle aged man who got punched on his chest by his friend in an argument. He called us to get some medicines for this. On enquiring about his complaints he said, he had pain on slightest touch. Considering his blunt injury and typical modality Arnica was prescribed and he was asked to report back. There was no significant relief in his symptoms. Thus he was told to visit the clinic. On examination we found that there was reddish discoloration of the part which was hot to touch and aggravated by the slightest movement of his shoulder. Hence, Bryonia was given which helped him wonderfully. Later while reading Phatak’s material medica we were astonished to find “ Bryonia is indicated in cases of injury to joints when Arnica fails”. Then we realized that there was no blue black discoloration with coldness of part for Arnica to act. Rather, reddish discoloration with heat in the part was very characteristic of Bryonia with the peculiar modality of aggravation from slightest motion and touch. Another remedy to be thought of when there is coldness of injured part with blackish green discoloration where pain is ameliorated by cold application is Ledum pal.
I am reminded of a case of a man who demanded a quick prescription complaining about his eye which appeared blood red and swollen without any apparent cause. He also complained of pain in his ankle and knee joint. I considered the reference from Allen’s key note which states “contusions of eyes and lids, especially if much extravasation of blood; ecchymosis of lids and conjunctiva”. Also, considering his ascending type of rheumatism which is very characteristic of Ledum pal , it was prescribed . The patient gradually improved and his eye turned normal within a week. Symphytum is also to be considered when there are blows to the eye. Other well known symptoms where Ledum pal should be thought of are punctured wounds as from needles, nails , insect bites etc. especially with coldness of the part.
Sprains are a common condition which we encounter in our day to day practice. We had this man who had an accident while driving a two wheeler and dashed another vehicle in which his hand suffered a bad jerk. He complained of muscular pain in the forearm region aggravated by movement and better by tight bandaging and warmth. There was no external swelling nor discoloration. This observation pointed towards muscular pain which suggested more of a tendon affection and hence Ruta was prescribed which relieved his complaints within 24 hrs. Ruta is a very effective remedy in cases of sprains.
Rhus tox and Ruta have similar modalities i.e, aggr. initial motion and amel. continued motion , but Rhus tox is indicated when the causative factor is over stretching , straining or over exertion . You might get a patient who complains of pain after stretching up high to reach for something. But the most characteristic key note of Rhus tox which we had found clinically that differentiate Rhus tox from other drugs is that there is pain along with stiffness , numbness with tingling formication which is mentioned in Boericke’s MM. Another common picture of Rhus tox you might find during summer weather is people complaining of bodyache after over exerting in the sun and immediately taking a cold bath , or going for a swim or sitting under an air conditioner or fan which triggers their complaints.
Bellis per. has a similar etiology, where the person suffers from throat infection by drinking chilled water after getting heated and exerts in the sun. Bellis per. is the remedy to be thought of after major surgical work on deeper tissue and there is occurrence of infection followed by eruptions like pimples and acne on the face.
Calendula is a very well known and widely used remedy for healing of surgical wounds , sutures, as it promotes granulation and hastens healing. It is also indicated where there are lacerated wounds, clean cuts, incised wounds etc.
We also have Staphysagria as a remedy for mechanical injuries from sharp cutting instruments, for instance after surgical operations. I remember a case of a girl who had a finger deformity which was corrected surgically. After the surgery she developed eczematous eruptions on the same area. The part was externally sensitive to touch and draft of cold air. Staphysagria is extremely sensitive and has the feeling of being exposed with rawness. In this case there was an open raw wound in the form of eczema, which was very sensitive to external things and hence she was given Staphysagria to she responded beautifully.
Another nerve remedy is Hypericum, where there is injury to the spinal cord. The patient might come to you complaining of severe neuralgic pain after having a fall on the coccyx. Hypericum is indicated for injury to the parts well served by nerves and where we find intolerable pains, as in crushed fingers, toes. Hypericum (along with Ledum) also helps prevents tetanus.
Kent states that Cicuta virosa is an old remedy for tetanus. Cicuta has more of a convulsive tendency, especially after injury to the brain, producing serve violent spasms and convulsions. You may find a Cicuta adult patient very confused and behaving like a child, a characteristic symptom of Cicuta.
Another surgical area where homeopathic remedies prove efficacious is after laparotomy and laparoscopy, when people often suffer from gaseous colic. China off is the drug for such post op gas pain which is not relieved by passing it. You may find debility in the China patient due to profuse exhausting discharges with loss of vital fluids. The patient is weak, over sensitive and nervous. Carbo veg also has flatulent colic but complaints are ameliorated by eructation. Carbo veg is suitable in atonic conditions where there is lack of reaction. Weakness, flatulence and air hunger are present with most of the complaints.
We know of Mag phos. for cramps and neuralgic pains, but Mag phos. also has flatulent colic which is better from bending double , rubbing, warmth and pressure. The patient feels bloated, a full sensation in the abdomen, walks about loosening his clothes and constantly passes flatus. Mag phos. also covers bad effects from catheterization.