Role of homeopathy in treatment of poliomyelitis
It is an infectious viral disease caused by poliovirus which can lead to paralysis as severe complication.
The virus infects only to humans & transmits majorly through fecal - oral route. Healthy person gets affected by direct contact with infected person or contaminated food or water. A person affected with polio virus can spread virus for weeks through his feces.
Polio usually occurs in places where sanitary measures are inadequate and hygiene measures are not taken properly. Thus developing or undeveloped countries mostly suffer with the hazard of poliomyelitis.
It usually presents with flu like symptoms- cold, cough, fever, sore throat in early days of infection. So one doesn’t come to know about polio infection in that period. The paralytic symptoms appear late. The incubation period (virus entering in body to developing symptoms) ranges from average 7-14 days.
Polio was a major epidemic in 19th and early 20th century worldwide. But after discovery of polio vaccines, it has been eradicated through many countries. Still some incidences occur where vaccination has not been done esp. in Asia and Africa.
Causes and pathophysiology
Poliovirus is a type of RNA virus from enterovirus group that causes poliomyelitis. It affects oropharynx, intestines and central nervous system.
This virus enters human body from nose or mouth, colonizes in throat and intestines and then gets absorbed in blood and lymphatic system. Further they are passed in large numbers through feces even when patient is not experiencing any symptoms.
When virus enters the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) through blood, it affects meninges, destroys motor neurons, causes muscle weakness and then develops acute flaccid paralysis. Depending upon the affected nerves different types of paralysis occurs.
Spinal polio is the most common form, characterized by asymmetric paralysis that most often involves the legs. Bulbar polio leads to weakness of muscles innervated by cranial nerves. Bulbospinal polio is a combination of bulbar and spinal paralysis.
Travelling to place where polio is common disease or recent outbreaks occurred.
Immune-compromised patients like HIV, old patients, children, etc.
Children who have not been immunized with polio vaccine
Living or nursing person shedding poliovirus through feces.
Handling lab specimens containing live poliovirus.
Sub clinical (early) symptoms:
Non paralytic polio: this appears after involvement of brain and spinal cord. These symptoms persist for 1-2 weeks even after sub clinical symptoms have disappeared.
Pain or stiffness in the arms or legs, back or neck
Muscle spasms or tenderness
Sometimes poliovirus infection can lead to paralytic polio, the most serious form of the disease. Paralytic polio has different types, depending upon part of brain or spinal cord affected. Commonly 3 types are present - spinal polio, bulbar polio or bulbospinal polio (combination of both).
Loss of muscle reflexes
Severe muscle aches or spasms
Flaccid paralysis (loose muscles), usually worse on one side of the body
The onset of paralysis may be sudden.
It is a group of signs and symptoms that affect patients for long duration after polio infection. These usually include disabling signs and symptoms like:
Progressive muscle or joint weakness and pain
General fatigue and exhaustion after slightest activity
Muscle atrophy ( wasting of muscles)
Difficulty in breathing or swallowing
Sleep-related breathing disorders, such as sleep apnea
Decreased tolerance for cold temperatures
Presence of signs and symptoms of meningeal irritation like stiffness of back and neck, difficulty to lift head or bend neck and abnormal reflexes along with following tests confirms diagnosis:
Routine cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) examination
Serum Antibody levels for polio virus
Viral cultures of throat washings, stool and CSF
Temporary or permanent muscle wasting and paralysis
Disabilities and deformities of the hips, ankles and feet.
Respiratory difficulty can lead to death.
Sanitary and hygiene measures
Polio vaccination is the best prevention against poliomyelitis infection. Worldwide polio immunization is accepted by various countries to prevent polio.
As such there is no specific cure exists for polio, the aim is to give symptomatic relief to patient and preventing complications. This includes:
Analgesics for pain
Antibiotics for secondary infections
Ventilators or other breathing units to assist breathing
Physiotherapy to prevent deformity and loss of muscle function
A nutritious diet
Role of homeopathy in treatment of poliomyelitis
Homeopathic medicines are effective in treating poliomyelitis in earliest cases. They can relieve most symptoms like headache, sore throat, fever, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle spasms or tenderness, etc.in shortest possible time. Homeopathic medicines also prevent the undue recurrence and complications in early diagnosed cases.
Even the flaccid paralysis can be treated to some extent, but post polio syndrome is difficult to treat with homeopathy.
Homeopathic medicines improve our immune power to fight out organisms that cause polio and get rid of its harmful effects. Homeopathy not only relieves symptoms but also boosts our immunity to combat such infections.
Thus it more helpful in even those people in risk group like children, pregnant women, old age patients and those suffering from chronic diseases. This is a natural, safe, and effective method of treatment of polio.
Homeopathy is based on law of similars- ‘similia similibus curentur’ which means ’like cures like’. Thus medicines are selected on basis of symptom similarity and they give relief in most harmless but effective manner.
Homeopathic medicines are administered after taking into account the entire picture of the disease i.e. all the signs and symptoms present, the triggering factor/s, aggravating and ameliorating factors, the character of pain, and appearance of other accompanying symptoms like changes in thirst, appetite, and mental state etc.
Along with homeopathic medicines, proper sanitation and hygienic measures has to be taken. These are the main criteria to be looked after for preventing polio transmission.
In case of epidemics even some specific homeopathic medicines can be used for preventive purpose and improve immunity.
Even those patients, who have post polio syndrome, can be benefited with homeopathy through palliative approach. The medicines selected on symptom similarity can give relief to some extent in such case.
Homoeopathic medicines work effectively in all age groups and can be taken safely during pregnancy by women. Homoeopathic medicines are safe, gentle and effective to give relief in harmless way.
Homoeopathic medicines not only reduce the severity and recurrence of complaints but it will also improve general health of patient.They are most palatable medicines and easy to administer. Still patient should not do self-medication and take medicines after consulting a homoeopathic physician.
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