Skin creams and salves

Friday, September 7, 2012

Iodine as counter-irritant, part 2

More on the use of iodine as a counter-irritant. Follow the link for more information including a lot of case histories, I have copied the intro and a few plates, with instructions. The take-home point is that the counter-irritant must be applied AWAY from the area of local inflammation, over the next "vascular territory".

The Treatment of Surgical Inflammations by a New Method ~ 1870

Other means of counter-irritation are discussed in the book, I focus on IODINE.

An introduction to the concept can be found here:

KEY POINT~ What are the principal conditions which are needed for the prosperous beginning and progress of an inflammation? An inflamed part must have increased space —more room for swelling, it must have more blood, it is all the better for perpetual unrest. There must be no other inflammation near to interfere with it—two inflammations do not flourish together.

In the following pages I assume (and the results recorded hereafter justify the assumption) that the- inflammatory process is one and the same process wherever it- may occur, and that the best remedies for any inflammation are the best in all. That drugs have, for certain purposes, great utility I do not deny. Putting aside, however, specific inflammations I know no drug, or combination of drugs, that can cure an inflammation. Counter-irritation can unquestionably cure inflammations. Let me cite one fact among many. An inflamed patellar bursa, before chronic thickening sets in, can be most certainly cured by a ring of blister placed around it, when every other remedy fails. Seeing that counter-irritation could do what no other remedy could, I put a ring of counter-irritation around abscesses, carbuncles, cellulitis, and other inflammations, and discovered striking and rapid results. I next sought to find out the most favourable localities for counter-irritation in every inflammation.

It appeared to me that it should always be established over the next, or another, vessel or vascular territory.

I knew that even and gentle pressure could rapidly arrest some, especially chronic, inflammations. For removing the products of inflammation I knew no remedy to be compared with it. I used it, therefore, in all accessible inflammations.

The best mode of using the best remedies (counter-irritation, pressure, rest, and a few others) in every inflammation is not a routine treatment. Take counter-irritation alone; there is endless scope for individual and independent judgment in the determination of its best localities, best degrees of intensity, best extent and configuration of area, and best modes of production. It is the same with the other remedies advocated in these pages.

One of the greatest advantages of counterirritation is this—it immediately and efficiently relieves inflammatory pain. Most patients are eager to exchange a continuous, dull, wearing, inflammatory pain for a temporary smarting.

The cases are very briefly reported, as they are intended simply to illustrate the effects of treatment.

The following diagrams are mostly drawn from actual cases. The dotted lines show the extent of counterirritation, of a moderate character, as effected by iodine pigment. Unless otherwise indicated, the whole circumference of the limb is irritated.

Fig. 1.—Extent of counter-irritation in a large abscess of the fore-arm. If the first application of iodine is efficient, the relief of pain is striking and immediate. See Mr. Hodges's case of Mammary Abscess, and Mr. Turton's cases of Carbuncle.

Fig. 2.—Shows singular appearance, after twenty-four hours of counter-irritation, in removing inflammation, and circumscribing pus. I have several times seen this tumourlike collection of pus removed in a few days by continued counter-irritation.

Fig. 3.—Extent of counter-irritation (iodine) in abscess of popliteal space. An iodine paint is applied to the whole circumference of the limb within the dotted lines.


Fig. 1.—Counter-irritation in carbuncle. A mild form should be more extensive, as in next fig. also.

Fig. 2.—Counter-irritation in a single boil, and in a cluster of boils.

Figs. 1 & 2.—Show extent of moderately vigorous (iodine pigment) counter-irritation in synovitis and early articular ostitis of knee and ankle.

Fig. 3.—Is intended to show use of actual cautery in severe articular ostitis of shoulder. One stripe is at the front, one at the back of the joint, and one midway between the two.


Fig. 1.—Shows mode of using counter-irritation (acetum lyttao in severest, iodine liniment in less severe cases) in purulent inflammations, especially gonorrheal, of conjunctiva. Where counter-irritation must be repeated or kept up, two horseshoe shapes, one within the other, are useful.

Fig. 2.—Shows sharp counter-irritation in the more acute laryngeal inflammations.

Fig. 3.—A milder counter-irritation in the less acute inflammations.

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