Pre and Post-Operative Care Remedies
Table of content
- Overview of mainly indicated remedies
- Pre- and post- operative care
- Fear, anxiety, nervousness, sleeplessness and acute distress
- Pain after operation
- Painful injections
- Pain after amputation
- Nausea, vomiting and gastritis
- Constipation, diarrhea, distension and flatulence
- Distension and flatulence
- Shock, collapse and coma
- Anesthesia and side effects of drugs
- Wounds, Scars and Sepsis
- Bedsores and decubitus
- Surgical fevers
- Bronchitis and pneumonia
- Urinary troubles
- Paralytic or post-operative ileus
- Weakness and prostration
- Lack of reaction remedies
- Some special types of surgery
- Tooth extraction and dental surgery
- Case studies
- Summary of indications for the mainly indicated remedies
This compilation is thought of as a workbook for the student and beginning practitioner of homeopathy. However, it is not thought to replace the basic study of the laws and principles of homeopathy and homeopathic materia medica.
Any errors and limitations are the responsibility of the compiler. If you should find any errors or have a suggestion for increased readability, please Katja Schütt (Germany): [email protected]
Surgery represents the tremendous technical achievements of orthodox medicine on one side. On the other side it demonstrates the inability to cure, especially chronic diseases.
Homeopathy is a holistic healing method that treats the patient as a whole, recognizing that there is no local disease and that “no external ailment, not due to some particular outer injury can arise and maintain its place, or even grow worse, without inner cause and inner involvement of the entire organism (which is consequently ill). They could not appear at all without the consent of all the rest of the economy and without the participation of the rest of the living whole (i.e., of the vital principle pervading all the other sensing and responsive parts of the organism)… the person is inwardly ill before it and while it lasts.” Therefore, the source of complaints on the external parts, which have not been caused by any outer injury, lies in some internal malady and to pass them off as merely local ailments and to treat them exclusively or almost exclusively with local applications or other such means, as if they were wounds, is as absurd as its results are pernicious.
Operating means to remove the result of disease, whose formation should be impossible in a successful method of treatment. serves to make surgery unnecessary by means of preventative treatment. It raises the threshold of disease susceptibility, prevents illness, clears up the cause of pathology and obviates operation – especially in chronic patients. Patients given proper homeopathic treatment need operations less frequently, because homeopathy can treat diseases in their functional stage, before irreversible organic changes have developed. Homeopathic treatment also serves to arrest supposed surgical cases and finally, if surgery is necessary, it can help in managing surgical cases with pre and post-operative homeopathic medicines.
One of the most important duties of the homeopath is to recognize what is curable and what is not curable by our medicines.
In cases where a pathology has been formed, our duty is to pause with surgery, if there is a totality of symptoms, or even if there are no current symptoms present but the patient can remember them. This will allow the homeopath to recognize the original totality of symptoms of the case, and in these cases the job of the true homeopath is always to find the chronic remedy first. The case is not hopeless as the symptom totality is the only condition for the choice of the indicated remedy according to the Law of Similars. The elimination of all perceptible signs and symptoms means the removal of the inner modifications of the vital force which underlie them and thereby destruction of the whole disease, and when disease is destroyed health is restored.
Surgery itself is never curative, only palliative, as it does not cure the underlying pathological process that caused the problem to occur. The morbid functioning which produced the ailment, remains unchanged by such removal. Surgery tends to be suppressive and closes a vent before the cause is cured, and a recurrence in that or another region of the body may follow, even in more vital organs. With the removal of the end product (pathology), Hering’s law of direction of cure is blocked, as symptoms cannot disappear in the reverse order of their appearance. The vital force may be able to find a vent or channel through some other point of least resistance, but otherwise the cure may be delayed or impossible. But true cure always must proceed in the correct order: “from centre to circumference… from above downward, from within outwards, from more important to less important organs, from the head to the feet… symptoms which disappear in the reverse order of their coming are removed permanently.”
Only when the patient is truly cured, but there remains a residual mechanical “mass”, can this mass be removed by an operation without damage to the patient.
Surgery, however, can be essential in some situations as a means for preservation of life and a patient who refuses an operation, even when the pathology requires it, is a danger to himself and his physician.
For instance, the most urgent cases, where danger to life and imminent death do not allow time for a homeopathic remedy to act. This would include life threatening situations such as, severe injuries and accidents, congenital deformities, suffocation, asphyxiation, injury from lightning, freezing, and drowning etc. “Only in such cases is it permissible and expedient, at least for the time being, to rouse the irritability and sensibility (the physical life) again by means of a palliative.”
Other things that are the proper domain of surgery are cases where it becomes necessary to bring help to bear on the suffering parts by mechanically removing external impediments to cure. However, when the entire living organism demands effective dynamic help to be enabled to accomplish the cure, as it always does, this is where the service of the physician and his dynamic homeopathic remedies come in to accomplish the work of healing.
The following recommendations are mainly indicated remedies for commonly occurring ailments after surgery. For more details I refer to the Materia Medica and point out that prescribing must always be done according to the laws and principles of homeopathy and the totality of characteristic symptoms, but never for the “name” of disease. Nothing in homeopathy is standardized. The choice of the remedy as well as potency and dosage need to be individualized to bring about a gentle, rapid and permanent cure. Any disease state has to be studied and treated based on the individual symptom picture of the patient and dosage has to be individualized, taking into consideration the nature of the patient, the nature of the disease and the nature of the remedy.
However, there are homeopathic remedies that are almost “specifics” for certain ailments, helping with a variety of frequently occurring symptoms and which are highly effective with most people in the treatment of clear, strongly indicated acute conditions. They have an affinity for a particular organ or tissue and usually the symptom picture is predominant whereas constitutional aspects of the remedy are minimal. These group specifics are reserved for diseases of a common (exciting) cause and fixed character with similar symptoms. Their indications are based on group anamnesis that can be used for fixed acute miasms (genus remedies) as well as for environmental disorders, mental trauma, physical injury and first aid treatment. Therefore, their use is in accordance with the laws and principles of homeopathy and very different from allopathic indications of specific drugs for specific diseases.
Thus, emergency and post surgical treatment can be started with first-aid specifics, but we need to watch the individual symptom picture carefully to adjust the remedy (and dosage) according to the individual reaction of the patient. Surgery causes different healing reactions in each individual and, in case of complications, various factors determine the individual symptom picture that follows. Behind each reaction is the constitution of the individual patient, the individual sensitivity and miasmatic background.
Like any acute ailment, surgery may wake up latent psora and require the subsequent administration of antipsoric remedies to facilitate cure and prevent chronic followings.
Some guidelines for dosage which have proved to be effective in practice:
30c and 200c work best in acute conditions. Use at least a 30c, put one pellet (#10 globule) in 4 oz. of water and stir it to dissolve. Putting it in water makes it reach more nerve endings and it starts to work as soon as it touches the mucous membranes. Take one teaspoon or tablespoon as needed (for children or babies one might only give a half teaspoon), as often as every 15 to 30 minutes in acute cases, such as high fevers and accidents, or only every 2 to 6 hours in less acute diseases. Only use a remedy dry if it is impractical or impossible to take it in water (the only exception is homeoprophylaxis). Repeat the remedy if the symptoms start reappearing, and then give another dose of the same remedy. Each time you take it, it must be succussed beforehand to increase the potency of the remedy,as the vital principle does not accept identical doses without opposition, i.e. without bringing out other symptoms of the remedy.
Decrease the frequency as you begin to feel better and stop taking the remedy as soon as you feel completely better. Otherwise, the remedy frequency can build up in your system and aggravate the symptoms which you are trying to cure. Make another cup if you need the remedy again. If you feel only slightly better, it probably means the remedy is correct but needs to be given more frequently or in a higher potency. If you don’t feel any better at the end of the first cup, the remedy is most likely not the right one. If no amelioration is seen within a reasonable amount of time you may need to consult a professional homeopath.
The remedy can be swabbed on the skin if the patient cannot swallow, ideally on the lips or another area with many nerve endings close to the surface.
If you are taking two remedies for the same injury, dissolve each one in a separate cup and take them apart, i.e. give one after another, intercurrently, leaving a suitable gap to allow the first remedy to work. This may be an hour after the first remedy in normal healing conditions and up to very short intervals like 10-15 minutes in extremely acute situations.
As a preventive, take the remedy dry, three pellets, all at once (hypersensitive patients only need one pellet), dissolved in the mouth in a 200c potency (only one dose). Alternatively, 30c in split doses, three doses can be given for pre-operative cases. Homeoprophylaxis is in accordance with homeopathic principles and every surgical case is a lesser risk if it is well prescribed for beforehand. Prophylaxis remedies are capable of maintaining a healthy, “uninfectable” state, (this refers to any dynamic morbid agent) because the vital force is occupied by the reaction to a subtle but stronger similar homeopathic remedy that will extinguish the intruding weaker one in the living organism.
and Calendula creams can be used safely when indicated, however, taking the remedy in 30c or 200c orally, dissolved in water, will result in faster healing. Never use Arnica ointment on open wounds as this may cause inflammation.
Recommended first-aid packet for the patient undergoing surgery:
- Aconitum napellus
- Calendula officinalis
- Nux vomica
- Hypericum perforatum
If these remedies are taken according to the instructions of a professional homeopath, then a 30c or 200c can be taken. For self-medication, lower potencies (like 6c or 12c) are recommended. Higher potencies should not be prescribed by a non-professional.
Mainly indicated remedies
|Preparing for surgery||In uncomplicated cases: Acon, Arn, Calen, Hyper, Nux-v, Phos, StaphIn complicated cases, individual homeopathic treatment is necessary.|
|Fear, anxiety, nervousness, acute distress, sleeplessness||Acon, Arg-n, Arn, Ars, Coff, Gels, Ign, Phos, Puls, Op, Sil, Spig|
|Pain after operation||Acon, All-c, Arn, Bell-p, Cham, Coff, Hyper, Led, Mag-p, Staph, Rhus-t|
|Nausea, vomiting, gastritis||Ars, Ip, Nux-v, Phos|
|Constipation, diarrhea,distension, flatulence||Alum, Bry, Nux-v, Op / Aloe, Ars, China, Podo / Carb-v, China, Lyc, Op, Raph|
|Shock, collapse, coma||Acet ac, Camph, Carb-v, Stront-c, Sul-ac, Verat alb,|
|Hemorrhage||Arn, Calen, China, Ferr-m, Ferr-p, Ham, Ip, Lach, Mill, Phos,|
|Anesthesia and side effects of drugs||Acetic acid, Carb-v, Cham, Nux-v, Phos|
|Wounds, scars, sepsis||Arn, Calen, Hep, Hyper, Lach, Led, Pyrog, Staph, Thiosin|
|Thrombosis||Apis, Ars, Both, Lach, Nat-s, Vip|
|Bedsore, decubitus||Arn, Calen, China, Fl ac, Graph, Hyper, Hydr, Lach, Led, Sul ac, Zinc|
|Surgical fevers||Acon, Arn, Ars, Bapt, Bell, Bry, Echi, Ferrum p, Gels, Hep, Lach, Merc, Nux-v, Puls, Pyrog, Rhus-t, Sulph, Verat v|
|Bronchitis, pneumonia||Aether, Ant-t, Bell, Bry, Ip, Kali-bi, Phos|
|Urinary troubles||Acon, Arn, Ars, Bell, Berb, Canth, Caust, Hep, Hyper, Mag-p, Merc c, Nat-m, Puls, Tritic|
|Paralytic or post-operative ileus||Arn, Carb-v, Op, Nux-v, Plb, Raph|
|Lack of reaction||Carb-v, Psor, Sulph (Carc, Tub)|
|Weakness and prostration||Ars, Carb-v, China, Muriaticum acidum (constitutional prescribing)|
Pre- and post-operative care
Homeopathy is a powerful adjunct to the practice of surgery and will help to reduce fear, anxiety and nervousness prior to surgery, prevents excess bleeding, swelling, pain, unsightly scar tissue, reduces complications, promotes healing and encourages a fast post-surgical recovery. It is valuable as an antidote to allopathic medicine, to replace chemical antiseptics and also to replace local anestheticsin some cases.
Frequently, Aconitum, Arnica, Calendula, Hypericum, Nux Vomica, Phosphorus and Staphysagria will be all that is necessary to carry a patient through surgery. The most common problems arising out of operations are pains, bad effects of anesthesia, hemorrhages, slow healing wounds, gastric disorders like nausea and vomiting. Moreover, there may appear sleeplessness, septic fever, bedsores, surgical shock, jaundice etc. If these ailments are treated with homeopathic medicines, wonderful success can be achieved. In difficult and more complicated cases, surgery has to be preceded by individual homeopathic treatment in order to ensure the best preparation.
Arnica montana is indicated in any case of trauma and shock and the first remedy to consider before and after surgery. It prevents shock, controls hemorrhage, reduces swelling and pain, prevents soreness, inflammation, suppuration and sepsis and promotes healing of wounds. Arnica has a strong affinity for the muscles, skin, connective tissue and blood vessels and is especially indicated if the patient feels beaten and bruised all over the body. Given before and immediately after an operation it is a powerful adjunct and should be given until symptoms manifest themselves indicating some other remedy. Dosage depends on the vitality of the patient and severity of the operation. Vital patients need higher potencies and a longer time to prepare, as they tend more to react with shock.
Fear, anxiety, nervousness, sleeplessness and acute distress
Fear and nervousness may weaken the immune system and prevent rapid recovery.
Aconitum napellus is the first remedy for any sudden and violent onset of shock or trauma. It is indicated in case of terrible fearbefore surgery, when anxiety, fear or phobias come on suddenly from shock and fright and when the patient anticipating surgery is extremely agitated or panicked. Severe anxiety, restlessness and intense fear with an unreasonable fear of dying, accompany the most trifling of ailments. Anxiety is severe and makes the subject feel like he is facing death – he may even predict the time of death. The patient is easily excited and startled, sensitive to light and noise, physically restless, tossing about and possibly sleepy, yet sleepless. Aconitum will also solve shock or fright stuck in the body or mind for a very long time. Think of it in chronic phobias with fear and anxiety that have developed after trauma in which the person experienced a fear of imminent death. Here it is a useful remedy to remove the remaining shock which may have terrified him, with or without his knowledge, and became a chronic and deep layer. Free-floating anxiety with sudden symptoms that come out of “nowhere” will often benefit from this remedy. Aconite stands for the 4 F’s: fast – fever – fulminant – fright. Think of it also during pregnancy, contractions and childbirth.
With Aethusa cynapium, the patient fears any operation (Calc), andthat he will not awaken from anesthesia, or that if he is to close his eyes, he may never wake up.
The patient who benefits from Argentum nitricum is nervous, anxious and hurried, talks about his symptoms with everyone and may suffer from brain fag, stomach troubles and emotional diarrhea. Diarrhea is green, mucus-like or similar to chopped spinach or in flakes. There is great apprehension before any engagement with profuse perspiration and diarrhea. Anxiety is liable to start weeks in advance.
Think of Arnica montana when the patient suddenly awakes at night with fear of death or when he fears the physician and does not want to see him. Arnica may also be indicated for fear remaining and patients deeply wounded and who re-live the horrors of an accident and injury will benefit from this remedy. Think of it in anxiety or fear caused by, or originating, from any physical situation with physical and emotional memories of the past shock, and continuing symptoms since.
The Arsenicum album patient is thin, nervous, restless and full of anxiety and insecurity. He fears catching a disease, to be alone, death, and thinks it is pointless to take any medicine. The patient is weak and exhausted, suffers from fear and trembling, is in dread of the ordeal and is thirsty for water, little and often.
Carcinosinum will be of benefit for the patient who suffers from prolonged or even lifelong fear, unhappiness, worry in anticipation and obstinacy. The subject likes dancing, desires harmony, may be fastidiously tidy or the opposite, may enjoy storms, be sensitive to music, and sympathetic to others. Insomnia and constipation are common. Multiple infections like bronchitis, whooping cough, pneumonia, tonsillitis, recurrent colds, influenza, glandular fevers (infectious mononucleosis) etc. but absence of childhood diseases or their appearance in adulthood – in severe form or rapidly one after another – are typical symptoms. Bipolar (such as worse or better at seashore), contradictory and constantly changing symptoms (Tub) are very characteristic for this remedy. Also think of it when well selected remedies do not work or have only a limited action, or when there are partial indications for more than one remedy, but where no single remedy covers the case, especially when there is a history of cancer in the family. Think of Carc in tumors appearing after fright.
Coffea cruda is a short and superficial acting remedy and mostly used in acute conditions. It is of benefit for the highly sensitive patient who has unusual activity of the mind and body, is full of ideas, quick to act and therefore suffers from sleep disturbances. He is sleepless before and/or after midnight, lies awake unable to close his eyes. Symptoms are caused by fear or fright, sudden emotions, such as over joyous events or pleasant surprises, mental excitation or overwork, persistent recurrent thoughts or from too acute hearing. The patient is constantly thinking and talking. Possibly, he does not want to see the physician, who seems to frighten him. Coffea is also a remedy for extreme fear of death, especially when occurring during labor or contractions, or from pain. All kinds of pains are intolerable and accompanied with fear of death. It is a remedy for emergencies like drowning, choking, freezing and all cases where rapid excitation of the vital force is necessary.
Gelsemium sempervirens is of help for the nervous individual who suffers from too frequent bladder or bowel evacuations. It is useful when the patient complains about anxiety, apprehension, weakness and trembling prior to surgery, possibly accompanied by lethargy or headache. Anticipatory anxiety starts just before the event takes place. Everything seems to be all right until the person has to start, than he is overcome with fear and trembling. It is the first remedy for fear of the dentist (Acon). The patient is discouraged and paralyzed by fear, fears death and to be injured, especially in traumatic shock, and there is a tendency toward nervous diarrhea and aching limbs. Thirstlessness, vertigo, numbness and urgent urination are other characteristic features of this remedy. It is a great remedy for the bad after effects of “hearing bad news“, stage fright and nervous dread of appearing in public. After hearing bad news the person is as if paralyzed, he can’t move, just sits there, trembling. There may also be absolute want of fear. Also think of Gelsemium when a pregnant woman fears contractions and parturition.
Hypericum perforatum may be indicated for nervous effects of blows, accidents and concussions to the head and spine (coccyx!). It also removes the consequences of fright and effects of shock – provided symptoms agree. Think of Hypericum especially when severe nervous depression follows wounds, effects of shock, fright (and mesmerism).
Ignatia amara will soothe the nervous system if symptoms agree. It is adapted to individuals with nervous temperament, who are alert, nervous, rigid and apprehensive, morose, oversensitive and who overreact. Spasmodic effects and hysteria may be present. It may be indicated in very young children when admission to the ward is emotionally equivalent to loss of loved ones (Puls) and in ailments from hearing bad news. Think of Ign if convulsions or spasms occur after fright.
Opium is a great remedy to eradicate bad effects of shock and fear, which can live in the mind of the survivor for a very long time and indicated when fear persists afterwards, both day and night. The patient becomes afraid if the incident is recalled or the incident comes back continually before the eyes. The face expresses fear and fright, there may be involuntary stool after a fright and trembling or diarrhea may accompany fear. Think of it in children who suffer from complaints due to thefright of their mother during pregnancy or in ailments occurring after morphine intake.
Phosphorus is a valuable remedy for pre-operative anticipation, including dental operations, especially in children. Phosphorus is full of fears and their responsiveness manifests itself by a strong desire for affection. The patient usually has a hemorrhagic tendency and a thirst for icy cold drinks, carbonated drinks, juice, ice or ice cream.
Pulsatilla nigricans is probably indicated in very young children when admission to the ward is emotionally equivalent to the loss of a loved one (Ign) and will also restore the weak, weeping, female equilibrium. Also think of it in fear of seeing the dentist and if the pregnant woman suffers from fear before parturition. Constitutional features will help to choose this remedy, if indicated.
For fear of injections (pins and needles) Silicea and Spigelia are valuable remedies. Silicea is known for its strong fear of needles, but, despite this, the patient is hunting for sharp objects. Think of these remedies in fear of amniocentesis in pregnant woman.
Zincum metallicum helps patients whose nervousness shows itself by restless feet. The patient is nervous, exhausted, sensitive, easily excited and usually tormenting everybody with his ailments. He is very restless, constantly on the move, trembling and his muscles are twitching.
Pain after operation
Pain is often the first complaint after surgery and here homeopathic remedies supercede morphine which causes severe side effects, disturbs the stomach, stops peristaltic movements and urine and causes sleeplessness. Frequently, the character of pain indicates the seat of the action: pain involving nerves are sharp, shooting, lightning-like; pulsating pain indicates an encapsulated organ; sharp, splinter-like pain an ulcerated mucous membrane or skin; burning pains, the involvement of mucous membranes; dull, boring, gnawing pains that bones are affected and sticking, cutting pains indicate the involvement of serous membranes.
Prominent homeopathic remedies that effect quieting the nerves are Chamomilla and Hypericum.
Aconitum will be of help when the pain is very intense, intolerable, driving to despair or crazy and accompanied by anguish and FEAR. The patient screams with pain. Pains are sticking or tearing and sensations of burning, numbness, tingling, prickling or crawling are marked.
Allium cepa comes to the rescue in neuralgic pains that are stitching, burning, tearing, thread-like, violent, almost unbearable and rapidly exhausting the strength of the patient. Think of All-c in injured nerves due to amputation or surgical intervention and in traumatic neuritis.
Arnica will be of help when there is a sore and bruised feeling all over the body. The person is extremely sensitive to the touch and fears being approached because of this and complains that the bed feels too hard. It will also relieve the soreness following parturition and promotes proper contraction of the uterus and expulsion of any portions that may have been retained.
Bellis perennis is useful for shock and trauma to internal deeper tissues or organs, especially of the pelvis, and if the patient feels bruised in the pelvic region. There is lameness as if sprained and much muscular soreness. In surgery of the abdominal and pelvic organs, breasts or trunk, gynecological surgery such as a hysterectomy or cesarean section, the patient will greatly benefit from this remedy. Bell-p is a valuable remedy for heavily bleeding wounds, keloids, injury of nerves with violent pain (Hypericum), intense soreness and intolerance to cold bathing. The pain is unbearable, sore and bruised, worse by motion but often better on continued motion. It is a great childbirth remedy, extremely healing for the trauma and bruising of the cervix and birth canal and to bring back the tonus of the uterus. Think of it when there is the sensation of soreness and bruising in the pelvic area, when the pregnant woman is unable to walk during pregnancy due to venous stasis or when the abdominal wall is sore during pregnancy or childbirth. It will also come to the rescue when there is a deep tissue ache and bruising after organ removal. It is sometimes called the “internal Arnica”.
For post-operative pain in the lumbar region, Berberis vulgaris is said to be the remedy. Look for confirmatory symptoms.
Chamomilla is a valuable remedy for acute pain syndromes andwill be of help when aggressive pain is accompanied by intense irritability, numbness of affected parts and hot sweat. It is a major pain reliever for patients who are easily angered and oversensitive to pain, fretful and moody. The patient is beside himself, snappish, weeping and whining, peevish, ugly, uncivil, restless, impolite and impatient. It is valuable for muscular and nerve pain and especially in the aftermath of injury in children. The pain is unbearable – the patient cannot stand the pain and groans all of the time. Think of it for teething children who want to be carried around and want something, but then throw it back to you if you offer it. They may have one pale and one red cheek. Chamomilla is a valuable remedy for colic from anger, menstrual cramps, uterine hemorrhages of dark blood with labor-like pains and for painful labor spasms during delivery, especially when the pain is shooting upward or passing off down the inner aspect of the thigh. It is also useful for post-partum pains when the patient has stood a good deal, is hypersensitive and worn out. Think of Chamomilla for a toothache that is worse from warm applications and aggravates between 9 p.m. and midnight and to make the tolerance for dental drilling and grinding easier in both child and adult.