A Case of Herpes ZosterNicholas Nossaman, MD, DHt
59 y/o African-American college professor with ulcerative colitis since1983, for which I was able to provide only very little help with homeopathyand for which he takes Azulfidine. He also has sclerosing cholangitis (forwhich he takes Actigall) and interstitial lung disease, both of which havebeen improved with homeopathy.
He presented on 12/19/05 with shingles (having made the diagnosishimself). The lesions occupied his left thorax and had first developed 3 daysearlier. His pain and the number of sores were increasing. He saw hisprimary physician at Kaiser who recommended Valtrex (an antiviral) andOxycodone (a narcotic analgesic). He consented to take the latter as needed,and sought homeopathic treatment. His pain was markedly worse in the back(especially in his spine) than in the front, was “needle-like” and particularlyworse at 4 AM and 4 PM. He was unable to concentrate with the pain, andwas moving about very slowly. He felt “tight” in his back, and his pain wasmuch worse with slight touch (as from contact with his shirt). He felt betterlying on the painless side, worse with cold and better with heat. Hedescribed the pain as “agonizing”. On exam, he had clusters of vesiclesfrom back to sternum, encircling his left thorax along the T-5 dermatome. After repertorization of the above symptoms I prescribed Arsenicum Album10M initially and in water hourly while awake, and called him back thefollowing day.
On the next day he felt worse, with the pain worsened by deep breathing,and partially ameliorated by pressure of the mattress on his back. He sleptoff and on during the night, took Oxycontin with partial and temporaryrelief. He described the burning pain in the vesicles as relatively mildcompared to the agonizing pain in one spot in his back, near his spine. Hedescribed it as “fist size” and with the feeling of a tight fist, a “grabbing”and burning sensation aggravated by breathing. The blisters were worsefrom touch. I repertorized his new symptoms and chose Zincum Metallicum1M, a dose dry on the tongue and some in water to be given every hour overthe next 8 hours. By that night at 9 PM he was tolerating the pain a bit better,but he had increased his Oxycontin dose, making it unclear if the remedywas helping. Two of the lesions had started to crust over. There was,however, a diminution of the focused, most severe, pain. He was to call mein one day.
Two days later he called me again to report that the pain pills weren’tworking as well. At that point the pains were partly ameliorated by a hotshower, but also by the application of ice. He now had bilateral dorsal pain,which was tight and burning. The focus of intense pain had reasserted itselfwith agonizing severity. It was worse with the jarring of walking, partlybetter by lying on the opposite side and by leaning forward when sitting. Now concluding that the Zincum had indeed played a role in his relief, Irepeated it in three doses—the 1M potency—over the next 90 minutes. Ispoke with him three hours later and his pain was clearly better, with noadditional analgesics. Six hours later his pain was again worse, but onceagain not focused in the small spot. He was trying to decide whether or notto travel to Washington, D.C. for a family reunion. I repeated the Zincum 1Magain and spoke with him 24 hours later at which time he was feeling muchless pain, two-thirds of the sores had now crusted and he was using only anoccasional Ibuprofen to supplement his pain control. He used a handful ofdoses of the Zincum in water over the next two days and indeed made thetrip to Washington, D.C. He and his wife were exceedingly relieved by thedramatic change in his agonizing pain.
Upon his return from the trip he was experiencing mostly itching in thelesions. Two weeks later, 1/10/06, eight days after resuming his normal busyschedule he once again was experiencing pain in the residual lesions,alternating between the chest and back, associated with constant formication,with great sensitivity to light touch once again. He described intense burstsof short-lived aches on the background of the sensation of ants crawling onthe affected areas. He was worse from 3 PM until bedtime, was not asameliorated with the hot shower, better at rest and worse with activity andbetter with pressure. He had taken a few doses of Rhus Toxicodentron 1M,which I had provided him with as part of a contingency package for his tripeast, should we need to communicate while he was there. Despite thecontradictory modalities and since he had garnered some relief from theRhus Tox, I had him repeat it twice more with the recommendation that hechange to Mezereum 200c the next day if not additionally improved.
The following day he reported no change in his pain from either remedy, afeeling of being “cut” on his chest and back, alternating with the feeling offormication. I reverted to the prescription of Zincum Metallicum 1M onceagain, as it had helped him despite the change of symptoms and it broughtrelief once again, making him virtually pain-free.
I heard from him six weeks later, on 2/28/06, with the report that he had acontinued residual itch since our last conversation, with no pain whatsoever. The itch was worse during the night if he had to urinate. A single dose ofMezereum 30c relieved the itch and he has been free of symptoms from theZoster since.
In Chronic Diseases in the section regarding the back, in ZincumMetallicum, Hahnemann described “pressive tension in the back, below theright scapula, down the back and toward the right axilla” and “tensivepressure in the back, on a small spot on the border of the right scapula” and“burning pressure on the spine…” Zincum Metallicum was one of eightmedicines in the Repertory (Synthesis 8) with this symptom, describing themost peculiar—and severe—feature of his pain. Only two of the eightshowed up in the first 30 remedies which came up for consideration.
ANNALS OF ALLERGY, ASTHMA & IMMUNOLOGY April, 1997 Volume 78, Number 4 Guest Editorial Trends in US Asthma Mortality: Good News and Bad News David M Lang, MD Clinical Allergy-Immunology Rounds , hronic Diarrhea and Pneumonia Leonard Bielory, MD; Frank BasileMD; Maria Palmisano, MD; John Oppenheimer, MD; and Michael Orenstein, M Original Articles Immediate Rhinoconjunctivitis Ind
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