A Contradictory Case of Sciatica

Joe Kellerstein, DC, ND

The patient was referred by his sister to a college clinic where I regularly see live cases.

This 44-year-old man appeared to be strong and healthy. He presented as very friendly and aware of being proper. I mean by this last comment that he seemed astutely aware of when to laugh and when to be serious. He felt genuine in response, but crisply aware of how to respond.

Since 1992 he had been employed in a factory involved with woodworking. This involves a lot of lifting. In 1998 after lifting a table he developed a severe back pain. It became a chronic situation that ultimated in a diagnosis of lumbar disc herniation.

The pain had been in his right leg as well since about 2006. This limb pain had the sensation of “needles” and could move around the lower limb.

The spasm and pain was much worse in the winter, sometimes to the point that he could not walk. In this state he would require help to rise from a chair or the bed. It felt like a knife in the back. It was immobilizing.

Lifting was a definite aggravating factor.

During the winter the ache would aggravate later in the evening. The first phase of pain kicked in after supper by 7 p.m. Later at night, say by 10 p.m., there was even more ache and stiffness. At this point he regularly used a hot bath with epsom salts to soothe, but it only moderately relieved.

During sleep, movement was treacherous. Every time he moved there was pain, and turning in bed was especially difficult.

While on the subject of sleep, he had had night sweats for about one year. The description was of cold sweats and, oddly he says, the perspiration smelled a bit of tobacco (he reported smoking about 2 cigarettes per day).

On waking the next day, the familiar spasm would be there and the need for assistance to rise from bed. Once up, he would make his way to a hot shower.

Prior to coming to see me he had been having bad dreams every night. He dreamed of a dog following him and repeatedly biting him.

He seemed to fight more with his girlfriend. It had become easier to irritate him toward anger. Sometimes without much provocation. This was disturbing as his self-image is one of being easy going.

There is a history of arthritis in the hands, knees and legs. This too will be worse in the winter. It is noticed that when walking in the night during the winter months his knees would be painful and he could not squeeze his hands. This has been so for about 2 years.

On the day I saw him he had precordial chest pain. It was worse that morning at about 8 a.m., but was still there. In conversation at this point the patient noted that he had been sedentary and gained weight these last months.

On reflection, our patient expressed, “I used to be happy and joke. I was very friendly, kind and happy. When the pain came I changed. It was severe and I would cry with the pain. I was very sad. Occasionally I will have a fear of the devil at night.”

So the symptoms I took from the case were:

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Kellerstein headshotJoe Kellerstein, DC, ND gradu-ated as a chiropractor in 1980 and as an ND in 1984. He graduated with a specialty in homeopathy from the Canadian Academy for Homeopathy, and subsequently lectured there for two years. He also lectured in home-opathy for several years at CCNM; for eight years at the Toronto School of Homeopathic Medicine; and for two years at the British Institute for Homeopathy. Dr. Kellerstein’s mission is the explora-tion of natural medicine in a holistic context, espe-cially homeopathy and facilitating the experience of healing in clients

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