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Source: Papers On Health
This very severe trouble, though resisting
ordinary methods of treatment, is not difficult to cure by right means.
If help is at hand, the patient may be placed in a shallow bath, and
cold water splashed with a sponge or towel against the back. A bad case
has been cured with two minutes of this treatment. After it, the
patient must be well dried and put to bed.
When help is not available, a substitute for the cold splashing is a
thick cold compress, the length of the spine, which must be laid on the
bed, and the patient lie down on it. This must be changed when it grows
hot, and a few changes usually give relief.
Persons who are suffering have often very strong prejudices. For
example, one who has decided most firmly that he "cannot do at all with
anything cold," is suffering from cramp, and nothing but cold will
relieve him, but you must not even hint at any such application. You
must in such a case consider how this prejudice took its rise. You will
probably find that cold has been unskilfully applied to this patient,
and bad effects have been produced, not by the cold, but by its
unskilful application. For instance, in a case of cramp the irritation
and excess of heat may be both confined to a very small space, no more
than that which is filled by the root of one nerve; the rest of the
body may be cold rather than hot. There is need first that this general
cold should be dealt with, and a general heat produced by some means or
other. This is usually best done by packing feet and legs in a hot
blanket fomentation. But this again is not an easy matter when cramp
prevails. If you move the limbs in the least the cramp comes on, and
the patient screams with pain. Still, you need not be defeated; you can
let the limbs lie, and heat them from above by placing the hot blanket
over them as they lie. As soon as you get heat raised in the body
generally, by some such means as this, you are safe enough to apply all
the cold that is needed. That may be so little that a common
pocket-handkerchief will be enough. This wrung out of cold water, and
folded so as to cover about three inches square of the lower part of
the spine, may be gently pressed. If this is really well done, there
will be no shivering from the cold, and there probably will be a
cessation of the cramp. The one thing wanted is that the cold cloth
shall be placed right over the root of the nerve which is irritated,
and consequently overheated. The prejudice is thus overcome, and it is
seen that cold is not to be absolutely avoided, because it has been
once or twice, or many times, wrongly applied.
To prevent the cramp returning, means must be adopted to increase vital
energy in the system. Entire mental rest for an hour after meals must
be taken. If the patient says "I cannot get this," then he simply will
soon have to give up all work, and perhaps narrowly escape a departure
from this working world altogether.
Each morning before rising, the compress should be applied as above for
a short time; the back should then be rubbed with hot olive oil before
dressing. This treatment, and proper rest, will prevent return of the
cramp. If the patient falls asleep on the compress, allow this sleep to
continue unbroken: it is invaluable. So also is the avoidance of all
anxious thought, which is best secured by complete trust in a loving
God and Saviour.
Next: Croup Less Serious Form
Previous: Cramp In The Limbs