A Case Of Sciatica

Words: Dr Julian Jonas

A few weeks ago a call came into the office from a patient whose wife was in the grips of a bad case of sciatica. He was hoping I could prescribe a remedy by speaking with his wife over the phone since they lived about five hours away.

It was evening by the time I could get back to her. We had never met before, but there was no time to do a full medical history, or the typical comprehensive intake, I usually do for an initial appointment.   So, I focused on the symptoms and origins of the issue at hand.

Diana, or so we will call her, is a 60-year-old woman in good health. Three weeks earlier she had strained her back and self-treated with unspecified remedies.  The back responded well, but the next day there was pain extending from her right hip down the side of her leg into the ankle.  She had tried to address it with a few homeopathic remedies suggested by her husband, and brother-in-law, but improvement had only been incomplete and temporary at that.

Selecting an effective homeopathic remedy is a bit like attending a Passover service. For the uninitiated, the most widely recognised part of the service is the first of four questions: why is this night different than all other nights? The most important question one needs to address in any homeopathic treatment is how is this person, or disease, or group of symptoms, different from all others?

We call those differences the characteristics of the case — the thing, or things, that make it distinct, or unusual. [‘Strange, rare and peculiar’ in homeopathic lingo].

When I delved into the precise details of Diana’s symptoms, she told me that the pain was intermittent, but largely better during the day. It was at night, an hour after lying down, especially after midnight, that the pain became quite excruciating. She wasn’t sleeping, but a few hours every night and was at her wits end. If the remedy I suggested didn’t work, she was ready for a trip to the emergency room [ER] and some steroids.

In the homeopathic repertory, the exhaustive database of symptoms, along with the remedies relating to those symptoms, that assists homeopaths to differentiate and ultimately select the most appropriate medicine, there are a lot of remedies listed under ‘sciatic pain.’ To be precise, in the most current computerised version I consulted, there are 284 remedies from which to make a single choice.

The information that Diana related so far had been helpful. The ‘modalities’ — those factors that make the condition better, or worse — she had given such as right-sided, aggravated by lying down, worse at night and better during the day all had narrowed the possibilities to a great extent, but I needed to press her further for more, in order to arrive at that single remedy, the simillimum, which I could prescribe confidently.

There wasn’t much more Diana could tell me about her sciatica, so I asked her to think of anything else she could tell me about how she was feeling since the onset of the condition. She thought for a moment and answered, “Well, my feet get cold when I lie down to sleep. That has never happened to me before.”

That sounded like a bit peculiar. The sciatica was one-sided, but both feet were going cold. So, I looked at the repertory and found a single rubric [symptom] listed in the extremities section: coldness in the feet aggravated by lying down. Out of thousands of possible remedies, there was only one remedy listed, and it was one of the ones on my short list. Bingo.

The substance Tellurium is a metal, nestled in the fifth row of the periodic table, between antimony and iodine. It is a fairly well-known homeopathic remedy, its curative properties having been researched by the ‘Father of American Homeopathy,’ Dr Constantine Hering, MD [1800-1880]. But, it is most well-known for its affinity for the back and the spinal column.

Following the selection of the remedy, the problem remained as to how to get it to Diana promptly.   It is the type of remedy readily available at a health food store, and it took several days to reach her. In the meantime, she had reached her wits end and submitted to a steroid injection, which worked for a few hours only.

Fortunately, when the remedy reached her, and she began taking it, she started to feel better from that evening. A few weeks later, I was able to follow-up with Diana, in person, and she reported that the sciatica was 99 per cent better.

Dr JULIAN JONAS, CCH, LicAc, a graduate of Cornell University, with a degree in Asian languages and philosophy, lived in Asia for ten years, where he studied and practiced Oriental Medicine. He graduated from the Meiji College of Oriental Medicine in Osaka, Japan, and maintained his own clinic in Japan before running a village healthcare project in Sri Lanka. He was introduced to and captivated by the profound healing power of homeopathic medicine, early on in his career, but his formal homeopathic studies began only after he returned to the United States and established a practice in Vermont in the late-1980s. A graduate of the New England School of Homeopathy and the North American Homeopathic Master Clinician Course, Dr Jonas has studied with some of homeopathy’s foremost practitioners and teachers around the world. He has over 35 years of experience as a healthcare practitioner. Website: http://www.centerforhomeopathy.com. This article is ©Dr Julian Jonas.

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