FOCAL DYSTONIA–A NEUROLOGICAL CONDITION–TREATED WITH CAUSTICUM
Filed under Clinical Cases
Focal dystonia, like so many neurological disorders, can be difficult, often impossible, to treat. The term, dystonia, refers to movement disorders in which there are prolonged muscle contractions which cause repetitive movements that are involuntary and sometimes painful, sometimes not. A dystonia can affect a single muscle, a group of muscles, or the entire body.
In focal dystonia, the abnormal movements are localized to a specific part of the body. In the case that follows, a 29 year old man had focal dystonia affecting the thumb, index and middle fingers of the right hand causing his handwriting to deteriorate badly. It began a year and a half earlier. He could not hold a pen properly and it often slipped out of his grasp. He could not control the fine motor movements necessary to form legible script. After writing a few words, he felt pain in the wrist. Rotating the wrist relieved the pain temporarily.
There were other problems, notably, throbbing headaches affecting the back of the head, sometimes accompanied by nausea, and, two months ago, his concentration had slipped. “I find it difficult to think clearly,” he said. Curiously, his concentration was fine until about ten or eleven a.m. when it began to slowly deteriorate.
By the end of the day, he was so tired he was unable to help out much at home. “The tiredness comes on around three or four p.m.,” he said, “and lasts until I sleep.” His wife was not at all happy with him as they had a new baby and she expected some help when he got home. “I force myself to help out,” he said.
If his wife didn’t take care of the house exactly as he wished, it angered him and he found fault with her.
Asked to describe himself, he said he was somewhat timid, even shy. “I don’t like to socialize,” he said. “I don’t have much to talk about. He said he was lacking in social skills.
He had a tender side. “I’m oversensitive by nature,” he said. “I feel very sad if I see someone suffering.” He mentioned seeing Stephen Hawking, the renowned theoretical physicist who is paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. “Seeing him, or anyone in a wheelchair, affects me deeply,” he said.
He mentioned he had had warts on his fingers when he was younger and that when he had eaten fish it caused vomiting.
So, the question, “Can homeopathy cure focal dystonia?” has to be reframed because every patient is more than his or her diagnosis. This patient had focal dystonia as well as headaches, poor concentration and debilitating fatigue. The question, in fact, is, “Can this patient be cured?”
Yes, provided we know enough about the patient. Here we had a timid, socially inept person, who was overly sensitive and unable to bear the suffering of others. He was also critical of his wife and quick to anger. And, oh yes, he also had a history of warts on his fingers and fish made him sick.
Taken together, these symptoms match the homeopathic medicine, Causticum, which he received.
He was seen seven weeks later, in early November, 2007. The handwriting was worse, but his concentration had improved. He could now stay on a task and finish it. Before, after twenty minutes, he lost his focus. The headaches had stopped. His energy was up, too, and on arriving home at night, he was able to pitch in and help his wife.
To a homeopath, he was improving. But what about his focal dystonia? The handwriting was worse. For a true cure to occur, the patient must get better from above and then, later on, from below. His concentration and energy were better and his headaches had gone. Those symptoms occurring in the head and brain were better telling the homeopath that, indeed, he was getting better from above. We then assume the handwriting will eventually improve. Causticum was continued daily.
When seen again, three weeks later, he reported he was gaining some control over his right thumb, index and middle fingers. He could grasp a pen better. His anger was less. Causticum again was continued.
Two months later, his handwriting was continuing to improve though very, very slowly. His headaches had returned. The strength of Causticum was increased.
I then lost track of him until August 1, 2009, a year and a half later. His focal dystonia had improved somewhat and he was able to write though he had to grasp the pen with his thumb and forefinger. If he added his middle finger, the hand trembled so he used only the thumb and forefinger. But it was not his handwriting that brought him back. Now, he was worried about his voice which had gone quite hoarse. He had seen an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist who passed a scope and told him he did not have laryngitis but that his vocal chords were “bowed.” He also had acid reflux with burning from the stomach all the way up the esophagus, made worse by spicy as well as fried foods. He was burping throughout the day. He had no headaches.
Again, Causticum was given. In homeopathy, the rule is to continue a medicine if it worked well in the past EVEN THOUGH THE COMPLAINT IS DIFFERENT! A really good homeopathic medicine we refer to as a CONSTITUTIONAL MEDICINE as it acts on the mind, the emotions and the body and it will cure virtually any local complaint.
Three weeks later, he reported, “A 100 percent improvement in my voice.” Two weeks ago, he coughed and expectorated mucus mixed with blood clots. The acid reflux was much less. “I’ve noticed it once or twice,” he said. The burping had stopped.
He will be kept on Causticum from time to time over the next couple of years and I expect that his focal dystonia will gradually improve.
It is important to understand that Causticum has been acting, not only on his focal dystonia, but on many aspects of his mind and body.
Conventional medicine treats focal dystonia in several ways. Diazepam (Valium) and clonazepam (Klonopin) are sometimes used as are injections of Botulinum toxin type A (Botox). Botox is injected directly into the affected muscles. To a homeopath, such a treatment makes no sense as focal dystonia is NOT A LOCAL DISEASE. It is known that there is misfiring of neurons in that part of the brain known as the sensorimotor cortex. Clearly, the seat of the problem is in the brain. Because of brain involvement, delicate brain surgery has been employed wherein certain areas of the thalamus have been surgically destroyed thereby improving function. Surgery, of course, is an extreme measure.
How much more gentle is homeopathy!