Homeopathy For Job Maladies

Occupational health

Words: Dr Narayan C DESHPANDE

Occupational health and safety is a matter of concern. It relates to the adaptation of a working environment for workers, especially in the preferment and preservation of their physical, mental and social well-being in every occupation — to the utmost extent.

The question of occupational health and safety is also a global issue; it is now taking a new turn, primarily because a host of contributory and other factors. You guessed it right — rapid industrial and agricultural development that are underway in the developing world, what with the advent of new products and product processes.

Most countries are today shifting from manual labour to service automation in manufacturing, mining and agriculture. This has led to identifying potential occupational health implications and also their anticipation. What’s more, the never-ending yearning for technical advancement has ushered in the big rush to import sophisticated machinery and equipment, not only into the industrial production sector, but also services and commerce. This has, in turn, led to a paradigm shift — the ever-expanding structure of the labour force as a whole, including an upsurge in the employment of women.

The outcome: the anticipation and emergence of health problems in the wake of changing needs. Today, emphasis on ergonomics and occupational psychosocial factors is also an important part of the services industry. This holds a new challenge for occupational health and safety practices in the developing world, because the means to dealing with such problems are not as advanced, or refined, in comparison to what is available in the developed world.

Yet another important question is: how best can one make working conditions healthy and safe in the interest of workers, employers and governments, as well as the public? This appears to be simple and obvious on the surface; however, it is not. Millions of people are employed today in conditions that trigger ill-health and are also hazardous.

Crux Of The Matter

Every year, work-related injuries and disease ‘kill’ approximately 2 million people worldwide — this is greater than the number of deaths from malaria. What’s more, over 160 million new cases of work-related diseases occur worldwide — they include respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, cancer, hearing loss, musculoskeletal and reproductive disorders, psychosomatic, psychological, mental, neurological disorders and syndromes.

While psychological stress and overwork have been on the ascendant, leading to insomnia [sleeplessness], depression, fatigue, and burn-out, as well as heart disease, it is estimated that a mere 5-10 per cent of workers in developing countries and 20-50 per cent in the developed world, notwithstanding a few exceptions, are estimated to have access to adequate occupational health services. Think of this too — it was recently reported that in certain advanced economies, a large percentage of work places, also sites, are not often inspected for occupational health, as also safety.

It is obvious that from time immemorial human beings have engaged in occupations for their daily bread and butter — either by choice, or chance. Some undertake high and higher education in pursuit of executive, high-end, white collar jobs. Many of them land up with disease after working for some years in that occupation. Blame it on sick building syndrome [SBS], or what you may too, not to speak of a host of industries in myriad areas — from chemicals to construction, among others. They want to cop out of the system, but their occupations may not allow them to. This leads to occupational hazards.

Here is a list of a handful of occupational hazards, systems affected, and their management, in précis:

  • Central Nervous System: Nuclear scientists, staff. They need special costumes to protect them from nuclear radiation etc.
  • Headache and eye strain: Computer usage. Workers. They would need changes in lifestyle, change in position of the computer screen: 20-20-20 rule.
  • Frequent sore throat: Public speaking [clergymen’s sore throat], teachers: Dysphonia [loss of voice]. Solution: restricted use of voice. Homeopathic treatment.
  • Respiratory. Pneumoconiosis. Inhalation of dust in factories [1-5micron in diameter], siderosis [iron dust; excess iron in body tissue], asbestosis [asbestos dust], bagassosis [sugarcane dust], silicosis [silicon/sand dust] byssinosis [cotton dust], and black lung disease [coal dust]. Recommended: frequent sanitisation in industries; mines. Recommended: Wearing proper masks; early diagnostic measures.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders. Also, haemorrhoids [piles]. Sedentary working staff. Diagnosis and homeopathic treatment.
  • Varicose veins, phlebothrombosis: Policemen; teachers. Recommended: Proper stockings; suitable surgery, if required.
  • Plumbism: [lead poisoning]: paint industry. Diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
  • Mental stress and strain leading to depression, anxiety etc., They would need psychiatric counselling, along with medical treatment.

Homeopathy

A good and proper case-taking helps in treatment; it also helps to find occupational hindrances for treatment. By enquiring about past history and life-space investigations, a homeopathic physician can arrive at the precise occupational issue. It is imperative that guidance is given accordingly to the individual/patient on the management and prevention of the problem in question. In most cases, treatment with just medicines may not be satisfactory.

A note on ‘Computer vision syndrome,’ which is rampant, thanks to the frequency of use of virtual media, especially in schools, not to speak of their usage at the occupational level, would be apt.

Computer Vision Syndrome

  • Blurred, or double vision
  • Eye fatigue
  • Irritated eyes
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Burning sensation in the eyes
  • Red and watery eyes
  • Headache.

Management 

  • Changes in lifestyle
  • Use suitable protective/corrective glasses
  • Change in the position of the computer screen in case there is obvious brightness, or glare, on the computer screen either from artificial light, or from the window
  • Keeping minimum distance between the screen and the eyes [approx 25-30inch]
  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule by taking a break after every 20 minutes for 20 seconds and look at least 20 feet away
  • Change the font size of text and the brightness of the screen such that they don’t strain your eyes. Also, adjust the contrast.

A few simple exercises for the eyes may be useful. Blink the eyes more often; this gives a break from incessant viewing of the screen.

Speak to an ophthalmologist [eye specialist] for appropriate glasses, or when adjustments don’t work.

Homoeopathic Remedies

  • Ruta graveolens is useful for eye strain owing to constant computer/laptop usage. It is also useful for wrist pain triggered by constant computer/mouse usage
  • Hamamelis virginiana, Lachesis muta, and Vipera berus are useful for varicose veins/ulcers
  • Ratanhia peruviana, Nux vomica and Aesculus hippocastanum — for haemorrhoids
  • Arsenicum album, Senega, Blatta orientalis, Rumex crispus and Sambucus nigra — for respiratory disorders
  • Nux vomica, Robinia pseudocacia, Carbo vegetabilis, and Lycopodium clavatum — for gastrointestinal problems, including irritable bowel syndrome [IBS] and gastroesophageal reflux disease [GERD]
  • Argentum metallicum and Phosphorus — for sore throat from overuse of voice.

It is imperative that a suitable homeopathic remedy that ‘fits’ the individual/patient’s symptom-picture, as also constitution, or personality, is taken on the advice of a professional homeopathic physician — for useful, tangible and long-term treatment outcomes. Please do not indulge in self-medication, or self-treatment.

Dr NARAYAN C DESHPANDE, BSc, MD [Hom], is Officiating Professor & HOD, A H Medical College, Bengaluru. He’s also Professor Emeritus, and former in-charge Principal, Government Homeopathic Medical College & Hospital, Bengaluru, former PG Guide, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka, former PG Examiner, Mangalore University, MGR University of Health Sciences, Chennai, Health University, Salem, former Health Expert, Karnataka Public Service Commission, Bengaluru. A recipient of the prestigious Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Award for his 35+ years of commendable service to homeopathic education and alternative healthcare, Dr Deshpande lives in Bengaluru, India.

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