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Some Experiences with Natural Medicine
and related observations
Repetitive Strain Injury : Camomile and Mag Phos
In summer 1983, we were the proud owners of an SERC ICL Perq graphic workstation which included a tablet and mouse for digitising graphs. The ergonomic design of the tablet & mouse was poor but the discomfort in my wrist was ignored in my eagerness to get on with the research. By the end of 1984, the wrist had become very painful and I developed a lump on the wrist under the thumb of my right hand - I was told that it was repetitive strain injury (RSI). The colour of the lump and the skin just around it had darkened. I could not write my Christmas cards that year and was unable to rest the injury as advised by the doctor. The usual anti-inflammatory rubs did not help and the wrist and thumb started to throb with pain during the Christmas vacation. White Embrocating BP (White Liniment BP), which normally eases the aches and pains of gardening, hill walking etc. did not clear the problem.
One evening, after pouring out my camomile tea, I instinctively put the hot tea bag on the lump to soothe it. I then decided to make a hot poultice with it and covered it with some cling film and wrapped the wrist and thumb with an elastic bandage to hold it in place overnight. By the next morning, the pain was considerably reduced. The camomile tea bag had dried out by now and the skin was discoloured. I repeated the hot camomile poultice again that night and by the next morning the pain was reduced to my pain tolerance level, which is quite high. By this time I found that a folded towel on the table under the wrist and lower arm when using the digitising tablet was less aggravating. The poultice was repeated when needed and slowly but surely the lump went over a period of a few years. There is no evidence of a lump anymore.
I did not experiment with any other herbs but have since found that homeopathic Mag Phos 6x heals strains as described below.
Summer 2003 was a particularly taxing time for me. I retired in June 2003 and decided to move my books and papers single-handedly from my staff room to a room on a different floor. I had until the end of August to do this, so I did not spend more than 2 to 3 hours per day on this task for fear of straining myself at a time when we were also trying to sell our home. To make it easier for me, I packed books into A4 boxes and supermarket plastic bags and loaded them into a wheelie bin. Unfortunately, being only 5' 2", it was much more difficult to take the packages out of the fairly deep wheelie bin than to drop them in and I felt my back go at one point. I got over this problem by tipping the wheelie bin onto its side to get the packages and boxes out. However, the bin was easier to control by pulling than pushing and I was aware that I was twisting my sore back but had to carry on as best as I could.
At home, I decided to re-grout the bathroom as part of the general pre-sale smartening up. I felt I could do this in a matter of 2 - 3 days if I kept at it. Progress was good until the stool I was standing on slipped in the bath and I fell over the bath side. I decided that apart from the shock and some bruising of the ribs, I was alright. I was stiff and ached when I went to bed but this was to be expected. The following morning, I resumed my scraping and grouting knowing that I only had the wall at the head of the bath with the shower head to finish off. Instead of relying on the stool, I decided to balance on the edge of the bath to reach the tiles near the ceiling. Just as I was springing up with one foot on the edge, I coughed and pulled the already strained back muscle which went into a spasm. I could not get upstairs to bed and there was some concern that I could be out of action for some weeks even if not months. Even the slightest movement was excruciating.
Although my books suggested Arnica and Rhus tox for strains (Panos and Heimlich (1983:42), I did not have these nor the other remedies recommended in my homeopathic texts. Powell (1976: 47) suggested Mag Phos 6x for cramp-like pain. I always have a supply of Mag Phos 6x since I have used it sometimes on its own and sometimes with other salts (such as Kali Phos) during the hayfever season. So, I sipped 6 pillules of Mag Phos 6x in some warm water every 4 hours and by the next day I was able to get upstairs to bed albeit with pain - but the muscle was definitely starting to relax. The most comfortable position was lying on my front with my feet dangling over the foot of the bed; when I tried Bowen Therapy in 1998, I noticed that this position was very relaxing. I continued taking 6 pills of Mag Phos every 4 hours. I was able to get out of bed but took it easy the next day. On the following day, I was able to drive 75 miles to an appointment although the back was still not back to normal strength.
2004 - 2006:
Mag Phos was ineffective when I thought I had strained the left wrist while gardening on a wet and cold February morning in 2004. The muscles of the hand went into a spasm on applying the hand brake with the sore hand. After two weeks of being unable to drive, I re-read the books and decided that I must have sprained (not strained) the wrist this time. I took one 2 pill dose of Ruta grav. at night and the throbbing pain was gone by the next morning. I decided to give myself a few more days before driving again. Recently (Mar 2006), I fell down the stairs and sprained the wrist again. Ruta grav did help but the wrist was weak and the pain returned whenever I lifted anything heavy, such as a saucepan of water. Since I could not get a timely appointment (a common complaint) at my medical practice, I took a bus to Accident & Emergency at the hospital and they gave me a splint for the wrist. I took the occasional single tablet dose of Ruta and used the splint and found that I could even drive the car and do most things without bending my wrist. After two weeks, I continued to use the splint only when lifting and/or moving heavy things.
muscles, ligaments and tendons are stretched or torn.
Strain: muscles are stretched and sometimes torn, with swelling and pain.
Please note that the books indicate a variety of remedies for these conditions and I happened to be lucky with what I tried. You should consult a homeopathic practitioner if conventional treatments do not help.
1 Aug 2006
I went to see a physiotherapist on 1 Aug 2006. Unfortunately, continued use of the wrist splint had made the left wrist muscles disproportionately weaker compared to those in the right wrist. The referred pain up the arm was due to over-use of compensating muscles. So, I am having to tone up the muscles by doing progressively more demanding exercises. Although Ruta grav and the wrist splint did help, I should have requested a referral to a physiotherapist if there was still a need to rely on the support for more than two weeks.
My husband had excruciating pain in his left arm/shoulder which severely reduced his range of movement. He was sent for an X-ray, the results of which would only become available in 7 to 10 days time. His arm and shoulder were beginning to throb but he, like me, was averse to taking strong pain killers. There was no external bruising. My own feeling was that he had walked into a door or something similar and that he had bruised his bone. He was willing to try Ruta Grav and went to sleep with 2 pillules under his tongue. The pain had reduced by the morning. He took 2 more doses and was definitely on the mend. We have noticed that with some homeopathic remedies, there is no need to continue the treatment once the body starts to respond. His rapid response to Ruta Grav. suggests that it was bruising to the bone. He is visually impaired and has walked into doors etc. before but with only minor discomfort in the past.
MM, a friend of ours is minimally conscious and bed-ridden after a brain-damaging accident. All his muscles were contracted, some were hard as bone with spasm, making him thrash the leg he could move in agony. He is peg-fed and after a lot of hesitation, his wife placed Mag Phos 6x under his tongue after we visited him in September 07. When we next visited him in October 07 he was much more relaxed and most of his muscles are no longer in spasm.
A friend from Singapore tried Mag Phos for her night cramps in bed - they have completely gone with less than a half bottle of New Era Biochemic Tissue Salts Mag Phos 6C.
I found that Mag Phos, Nat Phos and Calc Phos were helpful (in combination with spices and herbs) for curing a severe bout of gastritis, which had got progressively worse over 3 months due to cold windy weather. Gastritis can cause pain under the ribs, in the back, the shoulder and down the arms.
During extremely cold weather, my husband developed stiffness and pain in the lower back which eased on moving. Normally, this calls for homeopathic Rhus Tox, which we did not have at hoem. Instead, he tried White Liniment (See: http://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/25402/SPC/white%20liniment%20bp%20%28white%20embrocation%20bp%29) on going to bed and had no problems the next day. He repeated the massage with the liniment for another day and has been clear since.
© Mahes Visvalingam,1 Aug 2006
Last updated on 03/02/12