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Source: Papers On Health
The use of these to give temporary relief, often
degenerating into a habit, causes so much serious disease that we have
felt constrained to insert an article warning our readers in regard to
it. The use of tobacco we have found a fruitful source of dangerous
illness. It tends to destroy nerve power, and through this to relax the
muscular system. It has a most dangerous effect upon the mind, relaxing
the brain, and even causing some of its functions to cease. It hinders
clear reasoning, and in many cases brings on incipient paralysis. It is
a fruitful source of cancerous diseases of the mouth. It destroys
keenness of vision. It is of no use to quote exceptional cases in such
an argument. Great men have smoked, as some great men have habitually
drunk, to excess. But that is no argument for the average man of whom
we speak. The very difficulty he has in giving up the use of tobacco
indicates a diseased state of the nerves, which no wise man will
willingly bring on himself.
The effect of the continued use of opium, chloral, and many drugs taken
to gain soothing or sleep is dreadful: so much so that we have seen
patients who were deprived of them, after some time of continuous use,
perfectly mad with agony. Let our readers remember that the relief
given in using such drugs comes from a benumbing of the vital nerves.
Their influence is deadening, and, if strong enough, kills as surely
as a bullet. The wise medical man will, if he does administer such
drugs, take care they are only taken once or twice. If a doctor orders
their continual use he is to be distrusted. By all means let our
readers avoid the terrible snare of ease and sleep obtained through
narcotics. It is generally easy to give relief, in the various ways
described in these papers, without resort to any such hurtful methods.
Suppose that you try a very hot application to the roots of the nerves
affected, if you can guess about where those roots are. The doctor
should help you to know this. The hot poultice is put on--we shall say
it fails to relieve. Well, you put on a cold application at the same
place. That relieves slightly. Whichever of the applications relieves
should be followed up vigorously. Do not say, "Oh, it gives relief for
a little, and then the pain returns." Follow up the little relief, and
change from heat to cold as the pain or relief indicates. You can do no
possible harm by such processes, and in multitudes of cases all will
soon be right, and no opiate required at all. But you must not think
all remedies at an end when you have tried one or two singly, and
relief does not yet come. The large hot poultice may be put on the
roots of the affected nerves, and ice-cold cloths placed on the
branches of these nerves at the same time. Then the cold ice cloths may
be placed on the roots and the hot on the branches. But remedies are
not exhausted, by any means, when you have thought of two or three
applications of heat and cold. The whole nerve system can be influenced
by the rubbing of the head and spinal region, so as to wake up a strong
increase of vital action in the nerve centres there. We have seen a
patient who had been for months under medical treatment, and in agony
except when deadened with narcotics, rendered independent of all such
things by a little skilful rubbing alone. Perhaps you object that these
remedies are "very simple." Well, that would be no great harm; but if
they are so simple, you are surely a simpleton if you let your poor
nerves be killed with morphia, while such obvious remedies are at hand.
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