This section is from the book "A Treatise On Therapeutics, And Pharmacology Or Materia Medica Vol1", by George B. Wood. Also available from Amazon: Part 1 and Part 2.
This name has been given to a variety of palsy which comes on after exposure to cold. It is sometimes precede)] by pain, which disappears, leaving the palsy behind; sometimes is wholly unattended with pain. It may occur in any part of the body, but is most common in the forearm and shoulder. Sometimes it affects the face through the seventh pair of nerves , and sometimes also probably appears in the form of paraplegia; in which case I have no doubt the seat of the rheumatic disease is in the spine. It is often a serious affection; the muscles becoming atrophied, and sometimes contracted so as to produce a good deal of deformity. It is distinguished from lead-palsy by the unimpaired electro-muscular contractility and sensibility. In the face, it may sometimes be difficult to determine between it and cerebral palsy; but independently of the facts that, in the latter case, there are generally obvious head symptoms, and palsy elsewhere, there is one diagnostic character worthy of attention. In hemiplegia we seldom meet with palsy of the orbicular muscle of the eyelid, and the inference is probable that, when cerebral palsy is confined to the face, this phenomenon will be wanting. When it occurs, therefore, in facial paralysis, the affection may be considered as probably seated in the Seventh pair.
Correct diagnosis is here very important; as, if the affection be cerebral, electricity is contraindicated for a long time after the attack; whereas, if it be mere rheumatic palsy of the seventh pair, the remedy may be applied speedily. Rheumatic palsy may almost always be cured by faradisation. The natural tonic contractility is often restored, thereby removing deformity, before the muscles come under the control of the will. The muscles sometimes assume their proper symmetry three or four weeks before a single voluntary movement has been made by them. In the affection of the seventh pair, which is not unfrequently attended with an unsightly distortion of the features, it is important to examine each muscle carefully, and give it the due share of electrical excitation.