A Specific Occipital Headache.
H. F. ZINK, M. D.
I was recently consulted by a man from a near-by town for an unbearable occipital headache. The man was about thirty-five years of age, and weighed about 175 pounds. He had been treated without benefit by all the physicians of his home town. He said he did not know any cause for the headache, unless at one time he had been overheated when out in the sun. He could not eat or sleep, but would walk backward and forward in his room all night, and he walked the floor constantly, begging for relief, while in my office.
On examination, looking for specific indications, I found that his feet and hands were cold, but that his head was hot, his face flushed, his eyes very bright, the pupils contracted, and there was quite a considerable irregularity of the heart's action. The respiration and temperature were both a little above normal.
I was satisfied that he had been taking the bromides and cold tar analgesics. I endeavored to select the indicated remedy. I gave him the following prescription: Specific gelsemium, one dram; specific cactus and specific crataegus, of each half a dram; distilled water, enough to make four ounces. Of this I gave him a teaspoonful every hour until the distress was relieved, then every three hours for a day or two, and finally, three times a day. Relief occurred in a few hours, and the man has since been entirely well.
I devour your Therapeutist every month, and I get hungry for it before it is due again. This is my first attempt to write for a medical journal, and if it finds its way into print I would be glad to write again. Let the facts continue, we certainly need them all.
COMMENT:—The young doctor has given us without suspecting it, a very valuable suggestion, and a very specific course of treatment. I believe the indications were entirely covered with the gelsemium and cactus. The gelsemium relieved the cerebral irritation, and thus overcame the congestion. The cactus had a double indication. It relieved the functional irregularity of the heart, and restored the tone of the nerve centers. It acted as a direct tonic.
By understanding this action of these two remedies, and making a close diagnosis, the doctor would feel it his duty to prescribe these remedies, whether he had ever met a case like this before or not. Occipital headache is a most distressing condition. Usually, however, it has dilated pupils, dull eyes, and general weariness. The doctor's treatment would have increased the condition, if these indications had been present. This proves the importance of prescribing not for the occipital headache, per se, but for patient at that time, for the indications when that headache is present.