A Teenager with Scoliosis

1910170Original patient complaint: Scoliosis

One of a myriad of myths about homeopathic treatment is that it is a slow process and that healing occurs over months or years rather than days or weeks. A second misconception is that it can be an effective modality for individuals with first-aid or acute illnesses, such as sprains and strains, insect bites or stings, colds, sore throats, and diarrhea, but not for chronic, longstanding health concerns. A third mistaken idea is that homeopathic treatment may be helpful for anxiety or depression, or even for skin or organ problems, but not for structural problems, which is more appropriately the venue of orthopedic surgeons, chiropractors, or body workers. We are hoping, through this simple, straightforward case, to dispel all three of these misunderstandings.

Anita, fifteen years old, was from Southern California. We conducted the initial interview eight months ago by Skype video. Normally we only present cases in which the patient has been at least one year on a particular medicine. We are making an exception here because the case, prescription, and results are so clear. “My back has a sharp C curve in the lower spine. It hurts a lot at times. Lumbar pain. I kind of imagine everything pushing up against that part of my back. Putting pressure on things. Everything else is crammed to one side. It seems tight. Like you can’t get it loose. Can’t release the pressure. Tight like a rubber band when you stretch it out. One side might be floppy while the other side is being pulled. It is about to break.” At this point she held up a rubber band and demonstrated. “Like you’re trying to break it, but it won’t break. The spine is going that way. There is nothing there. That would be floppy… Like a rubber band when it’s just sitting there hanging out. It’s not supposed to be stretched out.”

“Thinner and thinner. Skinnier and skinnier. If you stretch out Play Dough. When not stretched out, it’s kind of free. Like a string. Easy to break. Flimsy. Any sudden thing can break it. It’s very weak. Cheaply made. Not strong. Wimpy. Weaker than the rest. Strong is tough, durable.”

Consistent with Dr. Rajan Sankaran’s sensation method, we were following and recording, literally, the words of the patient. We were listening, encouraging, and had no idea where she would lead us. The challenge with this method of homeopathic case taking is to have confidence that, sooner or later, one way or another, the patient will lead us to the right medicine. If we are very fortunate, as happened in this case, the patient will actually tell us which medicine to prescribe! But, at this point, the sensation is still being elicited.  The case unfolds further from this point.

“Wimpy. Not strong. Weaker than the rest. Trials and worldly things. Things you know you should be doing. Deaths, family struggles, school. Things that come your way. Choices you have to make. Things you’re supposed to learn from, if you make the right choice… By law, the right choice. Not stealing. Feeling like you’ve chosen the right thing for you. The right answer on a test. The one that is really correct.”

Now Anita has led us to the mineral kingdom: the world of structure, performance, relationships. Stealing suggests the Ferrum (fourth row of the periodic table) line of minerals. Let us see if the case continues to unfold in this direction.

“Not stealing things from stores. Being honest. Not stealing things that you shouldn’t have. When you’re stealing, you’re disobeying the law. Not necessarily being caught, but knowing that you’re disobeying the law. Like speeding. Drugs. You’ve got laws and rules. Integrity. You’ve got to obey the law, even though no one’s watching.”

It is becoming even more clear that Anita needs a mineral remedy from the Ferrum line, due to the emphasis on the law and right or wrong. We ask her to elaborate on “not obeying laws.” “Stealing, doing drugs, speeding, road law. The laws that the government has. Enforced law and your personal laws. What you’ve chosen to follow or not follow. When you’re not observing the laws, you’re breaking the law… Like killing someone. You know it’s not right. There’s a law set. You’re breaking what it was meant for… You’re always told not to break the law. People who made the rules. They’re the people who think they know what’s best. They chose what will keep everyone safe and in harmony. They will keep the structure of the government. If you don’t have laws, you don’t have that… The people who make the laws can’t automatically make them. We have to agree. They’re probably pretty high up there in the government.”

It is now absolutely clear that Anita needs not only a mineral from the Ferrum line, but one that has issues of crime, punishment, attack and defense, and protection. This includes Manganum, Ferrum, Cobaltum, Niccolun, Cuprum, and Zincum. We have reduced the likely medicines from over 2000, the entire material medica, to six medicines. We are nearly there. We just need to let Anita proceed and she will hopefully lead us to which of these medicines she needs.


Switching Gears To Find the Right Medicine

We had just participated in a webinar with one of our homeopathic teachers, Dr. Divya Chhabra. Her emphasis, again and again, was to keep guiding the patient back in sensation, rather than in the mind. So, we asked here about smell, with the intent of moving Anita into the realm of sensation. “The needles smell like metal. Nickel. That gross kind of metal smell. It probably tastes like it, too. If you lick a nickel, it tastes like that grossness. The foily thing. Very bitter. You taste what you’re smelling. The fish smells the same as it tastes. The metal is gross. Not earth. Dirty. Not from the earth. Bitter. It tastes like dirt. Coppery. Used. Very touched. A five-cent nickel. If you bite on it, you can just taste it.” [Anita made an unpleasant grimace.] Like a zing. It just tastes like nickel. Gray, dulled nickel.”

At this point we asked about nickel and copper. “Copper is like gold wire. Copper wire. Nickel is dull and copper is pretty. I’d much rather have a penny than a nickel. I see a nickel. They’re currently doing new nickels. The old ones are old, dull, gross. Silver is shiny. Nickel is just kind of dull.”

Being familiar with the homeopathic medicine, Niccolum (nickel), we asked Anita how she got along with her brother. “I become annoyed with him easily and quickly. I am not at all patient when I’m around him. I get mad at him for not being respectful to me.” This was fascinating to us because in the Niccolum proving conducted by Dr. Rajan Sankaran, that we learned about in India a decade ago, the provers became very irritable and short on patience. One of the main feelings was a lack of receiving the respect that the provers felt they deserved. Quite memorable to us is an experience we had with a Mumbai taxi driver, while learning about the proving. He became lost, started driving us in circles, and we became quite angry.

It was obvious that the medicine needed by Anita was Niccolum. We prescribed a single dose of Niccolum 1M. How fascinating that she was able to verbalize exactly the substance that she needed. We have never, before or since, met anyone who had such a strong charge about nickel. Nor anyone who talked about the taste and smell of nickel. This is what we call “speaking from source.” It is illogical and comes from an unconscious place. The patient begins talking what sounds like nonsense, but that is precisely what frees the mind to lead us to the right homeopathic medicine.


Follow-Ups Over Eight Months

Six weeks:

“My back has been doing really well. It feels normal. I’ve been able to crack my back and twist it around. I feel looser. I can breathe. I don’t feel as tight. I don’t feel any back pain at all. My back is just normal. I can’t say that my spine has straightened out. It’s just not giving me any hassle. It’s feeling more durable. Stronger. It feels like a force field around it all. It’s like the weight’s been lifted off of my neck. The weight that’s been there for such a long time is gone. I’m not having to support my back anymore. It’s doing what it’s supposed to do. I can sit slumped without it hurting. I can sit up straight, too. It’s very nice.” We asked if there was any difference in Anita’s relationship with her brother. “I don’t get as easily annoyed with him. It’s weird. I’m a little more lenient, tolerant.”

Four and a half months:

My body gave out while I was at camp. I think it’s because the two weeks previous I was sleeping on hard beds and walking a lot. I’d say it was maybe a 25% relapse from how good it as after the remedy. I just don’t feel as loose. My back is tighter. Not as strong. I feel like I’ve gone backwards quite a few notches. I feel the weight on my neck. My whole back hurt after I went to a party and danced. I just couldn’t get comfortable afterwards. I’ve been doing hard physical labor the past couple of months and I can really feel it in my back. We repeated the Niccolum 1M.

Eight months:

I was doing really well until a week ago. I did a three-mile race and was quite sore afterwards. It’s not nearly as bad as it might be but it’s still not holding up like it was before the race. I would say that, up until then, my back was 100% better. Now it’s at 75%. I also noticed, in the past week, that I’ve been quicker to cry. Normally I’m good at keeping back tears. I didn’t make the connection until now that it got worse at the same time as my back. We repeated the Niccolum 1M.

An Easy Case Using This Method

We found the method of Dr. Chhabra, in which she continually leads the patient back to sensation and away from the mind, to be the key to arriving at the prescription of Niccolum. There was a leap that Anita made, when we asked her to go to smell, that took her right to nickel. It is not surprising that taste followed immediately, since the two senses are so interconnected. It would have been quite easy to have become sidetracked a bit earlier and to have prescribed a plant medicine belonging to the Conifer family, but we were confident that we were in the mineral realm and Anita was kind enough to tell us what medicine to prescribe! Cases such as this seem very easy, but the art of case taking is subtle. Easy yet complex. We are grateful to our teachers, Rajan and Divya, for elucidating these remarkable methods of case taking and case analysis.

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