The Man Who Asked His Wife to Stand on his Buttocks, Terrible Low Back Pain Cured with Colocynthis
Filed under Clinical Cases
I know. It sounds strange: a man who asks his wife to stand on his buttocks. You’re thinking, “How in the world…?
Well, let’s try to understand what lead up to this apparently bizarre activity. Cosmo, a burly 49 year old Greek immigrant, was changing a tire one day in 2002. As he lifted the tire he felt a sudden severe pain in the left side of his lower back. He found that with rest and some non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) the situation improved within two weeks. But it was back again when he came to see me in November, 2007. The pain went from the left lumbosacral area to the left hip. He also said that lying on his back was unbearable. “My hamstrings feel like they are moving,” he said. To get relief he sometimes punched the area with his fist. “But what gives me the greatest relief,” he said, “is for me to lie on my stomach and my wife to stand on either the buttocks or the hamstrings.”
He said the hamstrings were both restless and tight. “When she steps on them, the relief is tremendous. The pleasure of that release is so great I fall asleep right away.”
Cosmo disliked sleeping in a bed on a mattress and two years earlier switched to sleeping on the bare floor. “The hard floor pressing up against the sides of my thighs feels good,” he said. “Sometimes I’ll sit on the edge of a table and the pressure of the table against the back of my thighs feels good.”
Can you begin to make sense of Cosmo’s problem? That’s right. He had muscle pain in the buttocks and hamstrings which was better from hard pressure. Very hard pressure. This was not the usual muscular pain that yields to a good massage. No. This pain only yielded to extreme pressure.
The homeopath pays attention, first and foremost, to symptoms that are out of the ordinary and Cosmo’s pain and release from pain were certainly out of the ordinary.
The homeopathic medicine I was thinking of, Colocynthis or Bitter Cucumber, is often associated with anger so I asked him about anger.
“Yes,” he said, “I get angry every day. I used to kick garbage cans and throw chairs.” He was the owner of a gas station that also sold other items. It was located in a rough and tumble neighborhood. He had a relatively high turnover rate of employees, some of whom stole from him and did not take care of the store.
“What pisses me off is people that lie and people who don’t respect other people or other people’s property,” he said. “When I see paper all over the restroom I feel rage.”
He added, “I hate stupidity. I hate lack of respect. When I hold my anger in everything gets worse. I feel my eye wanting to pop out of my head.”
Cosmo’s case revolved around two factors. The first was muscle pain better from very, very hard pressure and the second was frequent and fairly violent anger.
Indeed, he did need Colocynthis. What lead to this prescription was not the location of the muscle pain (buttocks and hamstrings) but the strange way he got relief: sleeping on the bare floor, having his wife put all of her weight directly onto his hamstrings, and sitting on the edge of a table. Any modifying influence making a symptom either better or worse we call a ‘modality.’ For Cosmo, the great modality was “better from hard pressure.” He was also an angry person and in the ‘proving’ of Colocynthis many provers reported feeling strong anger. That is, mentally and physically healthy persons who took Colocynthis reported feeling uncharacteristically angry. In fact, in the originally proving conducted by Hahnemann the following symptom is recorded: “Extreme peevishness; everything is amiss; he is extremely impatient; everything vexes him…”
Cosmo got Colocynthis.
When seen again four weeks later, the left lumbosacral pain and the left hip pain had gone away. The hamstrings were no longer moving and twitching and painful and so his wife had had to stand on the hamstrings but once. His anger had also declined.
“Yeah, now that you mention it,” he said, “I fired an employee the other day. She had been stealing and I was totally calm the whole time. That was unusual.”
Cosmo was still sleeping on the bare floor. “But now, in the middle of the night, I’ll wake and go to bed. Before I slept all night on the floor.”
He was off to a good start. His strange muscle pains gone. He had received two doses of Colocynthis both within a twenty-four period. Contrast this to the treatment he would have received from conventional medicine: a muscle relaxant, possibly an antianxiolitic, plus pain medicine all of which he would have had to take daily for a long time, possibly forever.
Homeopathy. It’s almost like magic.