Pat Deacon, RSHom, HMC
A midwife called me about our mutual patient, Jane, who had been in labour for many hours with intense contractions. Jane's energy was flagging. She was trembling and said she couldn't go on.
A midwife called me about our mutual patient, Jane, who had been in labour for many hours with intense contractions. Jane's energy was flagging. She was trembling and said she couldn't go on. Jane was so close to the birth of her baby; but she just couldn't make that last half mile.
The midwife was concerned that Jane might end up consenting to medical interventions because she was too tired to go through that last stage of labour. She asked what could be done homeopathically. I prescribed Kali phos (Kali phosphoricum), which is useful not only for labour, but for any situation where the person is suffering from nervous exhaustion caused by stress or overwork, or both - as may be the situation during labour. In this case, one dose of Kali phos was enough to quickly revive Jane and allow her to complete birthing her baby. During labour and birth, everything is very intense and the right homeopathic remedy should make a difference within five to 10 minutes.
Homeopathy has many remedies for people who need a little help to get through periods of stress or hard work. For example, had Jane been lying listlessly, perhaps facing the wall or curled up in a ball, I would have recommended Gelsemium. This remedy is particularly useful for the patient who is not only fatigued, but who also fears going forward. It's also used for influenza and the fatigue that follows.
Arnica montana is useful for fatigue caused by muscular overexertion, cramming for exams, and jet lag. The main indication is sore aching muscles that feel bruised, though no bruising may be apparent. People who need Arnica often have a tendency to push themselves beyond their own limits, denying the side effects of doing so.
Many of us have had days of overexertion an overly ambitious hike or bike ride or too much time working in the garden. We usually feel it the next morning, waking stiff and sore and stumbling out of bed. Once we get moving, though, we feel a bit better, and a hot bath seems to relieve the stiffness for a while. When muscles, ligaments, and tendons have been overstrained, consider Rhus tox.
Nux vomica is a good remedy for those who have pushed themselves too hard either through overwork or the use of drugs. They have relied on stimulants such as coffee to stay awake, and then have used alcohol or sleeping medication to relax and sleep. The most notable mental characteristics in these patients are extreme irritability and impatience. Physically, they often feel cold, are very sensitive to drafts, and suffer from digestive problems such as constipation, hiccoughing, heartburn, and abdominal bloating and pain.
Cocculus helps those exhausted by "night watching," the combination of staying up all night and worrying for the welfare of other people. Sufferers might be nurses doing shift work, mothers with sleepless babies, or those caring for sick family members. The main symptoms are dizziness and sleeplessness. When finally given a chance, these people find they either cannot sleep or feel more exhausted when they wake than when they went to sleep. Cocculus is another remedy to consider when jet lag produces dizziness.
Picric acid helps with those suffering from mental exhaustion. Sometimes, after a heavy work or study period, a person's mind feels completely worn out. The patient has difficulty concentrating and is unwilling to take on anything new. Generally, the patient feels dull and confused, and may suffer from a heavy headache, based in the back of the head.
It is important to recognize the sources of fatigue and stress in our lives and to try to alleviate them before they cause problems. For those unavoidable situations, though, a couple of doses of one of these remedies can allow us to get our lives back on track.