This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
The sufferer from congestion of the brain should carefully ascertain the cause of the disease, and should then, without delay, change his habits and mode of life, so as to secure the most complete avoidance of all exciting causes. If he is actively engaged in business, he should, if possible, take a journey, leaving all his cares behind. If, however, this cannot be done, or if the case has reached so severe a stage that a journey would be impracticable, the most complete relief from care and seclusion from exciting causes should be secured at home, and an energetic course of treatment should be pursued. One of the most efficient measures for active congestion is the application of ice and cold compresses to the whole head, or to the nape of the neck. Applications should be made once or twice a day, and should be continued from half an hour to an hour at a time. In most cases the cool applications to the head should be accompanied by the hot leg or sitz bath. Wearing of the wet head-cap continually, night and day, for a few weeks is another useful measure. The hot-air bath, wet-sheet pack, rubbing wet-sheet, and the half bath, are also excellent measures. The hot half bath may be used daily to great advantage. Other baths, in case the patient is quite strong, may be used daily for a time, then every other day. In less vigorous patients, such vigorous treatment as packs and hot-air baths should not be employed more often than two to four times a week.
Persons suffering from passive congestion require less vigorous treatment than those suffering with the active form of the disease. In the majority of cases, the proper indications in passive congestion are such as will have a tendency to remove the cause of obstruction to the return of the blood to the head. We have frequently obtained better results by the employment of hot fomentations to the back of the neck, or between the shoulders, with cold applications applied to the top of the head, than by the use of cold alone.
Galvanism may also be applied with excellent effect in many cases. The best methods of application are as follows: 1. Place the positive pole at the base of the head, and the negative pole upon the spine, six or eight inches below; 2. Place the poles of the battery upon the bony prominences just behind the ears, thus passing the current through the head; 3. Apply the current by the method known as central galvanziation, in which the negative pole is placed at the pit of the stomach, and the positive at the top of the head-the hair being moistened-the latter, after one or two minutes, being applied to the sides of the neck and the spine.
Sleeplessness is best relieved by the wet head-cap, continuous compress, or cold-water bag applied to the head, and the hot foot-bath, taken at night just before retiring. In many cases, these measures are greatly aided by the application of fomentations over the stomach, and wearing, of a wet bandage about the bowels at night. The patient should sleep with his head elevated. In many cases it is better to elevate the head of the bed than to bolster the patient up with pillows. When the bowels are constipated, great care should be taken to keep them open by means of enemas, if necessary. Laxative drugs should not be taken if their use can possibly be avoided; and cases are very rare in which they are really required.
Great care should be bestowed upon the diet, which should consist almost wholly of fruits and grains. The patient should take neither coffee, tea, nor alchoholic liquors of any kind. Tobacco in all forms should be discarded. Stimulating condiments should also be disused. The diet should be made as simple as possible, and the patient should use great care to avoid overeating and to masticate his food thoroughly. When the patient is troubled with acidity, gas, and heart-bum, great benefit may be derived by the use of pulverized charcoal after each meal. We frequently use a mixture of one part of pepsin with three of charcoal with excellent effect. The patient may take from half a teaspoonful to a teaspoonful of the charcoal half an hour after eating. The use of charcoal crackers is also advantageous. Other symptoms of indigestion should be treated according to directions given elsewhere.