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 proper plan of treatment consists in removing the causes, so far as possible, by the employment of such remedies as will improve the general condition of the patient, and the application to the spine of such remedies as will increase the quantity of blood circulating through it. The best remedies for this purpose are the use of fomentations to the spine, and galvanism. Fomentations should be applied for an hour or two at a time, and should be employed several times a day. The hot-water bag is an excellent means of applying heat. Hot sandbags, or bags filled with heated corn-meal or salt, are also convenient methods of applying it. Galvanism is, however, by far the beet means, when it can be employed. It may be employed in two ways: first, with the two poles at equal distances above and below the tender portion of the spine; and, secondly, with the positive pole directly over the scat of pain, and the other at a little distance either above or below. The application should not be continued more than two or three minutes at a time without interruption, and not more than twelve or fifteen minutes altogether. Electricity may be used daily with advantage. In cases in which the patient complains much of a burning sensation in the feet and limbs, this may generally be relieved by the application of the tepid compress over the tender portion of the spine. This may be worn during the intervals between the applications of heat or electricity.
The disease is, in some cases, very obstinate, but may be considered as curable in almost every case, if the treatment is continued a sufficiently long time. Rest in bed, is, in most cases, a very essential measure of treatment. The evils of confinement in bed may be relieved by daily massage, with an inunction two or three times a week, and local applications of electricity to the muscles of the body every other day. The application of sun heat to the spine by means of burning glasses has been lately recommended as an excellent remedy in this affection, but we have not yet had an opportunity of giving it a trial.
The diet of the patient should be very simple and unstimulating. Milk can be used freely, together with fruits and grains. When the patient is quite anaemic, meat may be taken once a day; but we protest against the excessive use of animal food, which is recommended by some physicians, as serious results may follow from the introduction of an excessive amount of nitrogenous food into the system. We know of one case in which the patient was treated by the plan referred to under the advice of an eminent physician and who was discharged as cured, but died within two weeks of acute Bright's disease of the kidneys, which was undoubtedly produced by the excessive use of meat during her treatment.
In many cases, this disease is very obstinate, apparently resisting the most thorough treatment for months; but, in almost every case, a cure may be effected at last by perseverance in the use of the remedies recommended.