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Source: Papers On Health
This is a severe pain in the lower back, shooting sharply
down the back and calf of the leg. It arises from inflammation of the
large nerve which supplies these parts of the leg with power. Most
commonly it is caused by exposure of the hips or lower back to cold and
damp, as by sitting on the grass or a stone seat.
The cure for it, in the earlier stages, is the application of the
ARMCHAIR FOMENTATION (see). This may be applied for an hour, and
renewed immediately for another hour if the patient can stand it, and
then rest given for two hours, and the fomentation applied for two
hours again, or at least for one, taking care to rub with oil and wrap
up in comfortable flannels between and after the treatment. This may be
done again on the second day. The fomentation may then be given once a
day until the pain is removed.
Be quite sure that no trifling application will succeed with such a
disease as this. It will not do to use less heat than will go through
and through the haunches of the patient; and that amount of heat is not
very small. You must have a good soft blanket if possible, your water
must be boiling hot, and you must have plenty of it.
If the hot treatment causes increase of pain, this indicates that a
stage has arrived in which cold is to be applied instead of heat to
the lower back, to subdue nerve irritation. Before or after this stage,
cold application will do harm, so it is well always to try heat first,
as in the great majority of cases that is what is required. When cold
is applied, the patient must be warm, and if necessary the feet and
legs should be fomented.
To keep what is got either by the soothing influence of cold or by the
stimulating power of heat, it is good to rub with hot olive oil, and to
dry this off well in finishing, and also to wear a good broad band of
new flannel round the lower part of the body. This band ought not to be
so tight as to confine the perspiration. See Changing Treatment;
Remedy, Finding a.