This section is from the "Impaired Health: Its Cause And Cure" (Volume 1) book, by John H. Tilden. Also available from Amazon: Impaired health its cause and cure: A repudiation of the conventional treatment of disease
The evidence of pain. The patient complains of pain, and directs to its location by placing his hand on the part, or as near to the part as he can.
How much pain has the patient? He may be sensitive, imaginative, and inclined to exaggerate; or he may be frightened. On the other hand, he may be reticent and fail to tell the truth about his suffering. Again, he may be too ignorant to give a clear account of himself.
These are a few ways of learning of pain:
(a) Facial expression and bodily movements;
(b) As described by a friend or nurse;
(c) Results, such as weakness and emaciation from long suffering;
(d) Arterial pressure.
When a patient's face is contorted and his body writhes, doubles up, or stiffens, we have good evidence; yet he may be malingering (acting). However, the experienced physician will not be fooled long. It may take a little watching when the patient thinks he is alone. If he really suffers, he will suffer alone as well as when someone is near.
Many are sorry for themselves and make more complaint than necessary; others complain to secure sympathy. The real physician will discriminate, while the doctor is never anything but an amateur. The former cures his patient by imparting assurance; the latter adds to the disease by first discouraging and then operating.
When a patient who looks well declares he has been suffering for months, and he has not lost weight, and there are no objective signs, such as impaired circulation and heart action, and no tumor at the point where the pain is said to be located, it is safe to treat him as a malingerer or a self-deluded individual.
If nervous, imaginative, and self-deluded patients, describing their suffering as "awful ... .. fearful," "I liked to died last night," "I thought I was a goner," etc., are examined for patellar reflex, this movement will be found greatly exaggerated. This proves that they are very sensitive to pain, and should be questioned regarding eating; and it will be found that they eat much starch, and use coffee and other stimulants. Many will be found to have toxin poisoning.
Women bear pain--prolonged pain--better than men. The reason for this is that they are more self-controlled than men. Man is more self-indulged, hence less able to stand pain.
There are many kinds of pain; namely: boring, tearing, lancinating; a feeling of pressure, of heat, of cold, of hunger; a feeling of all-goneness, fullness, emptiness.
Colic is distinctive. It is rhythmic--the patient does not suffer all the time. It begins gradually, and increases to a climax; then subsides, to repeat again. Such pains are characteristic of canals: the intestinal, urethra, ureters, uriniferous tubules, bile-duct, eustachian tube, uterus, and fallopian tubes. An inflammation of these tubes and canals is accompanied by rhythmical pain.
Throbbing Pain: Pain that rhythms with the heart and pulse is caused by hyperemia. Headache and toothache are types. Any inflammation that is accompanied with enough swelling will have a rhythmic pain.
Precordial Oppression: This is a feeling of constriction. Angina pectoris is a type of this pain. This pain is of the heart. Affections of the pleura or lungs give no such pain. Asthma is a feeling of suffocation. It differs from oppression in the fact that it is difficult to draw air into the lungs, whereas in heart oppression there is no difficulty in getting air into the lungs, but it appears difficult to extract the oxygen, and the patient feels that he will die of suffocation.
Reflex Pain: When reflex pain is from angina in the lungs or abdomen, resembling indigestion, rheumatism, neuralgia, or neurosis, it may be relieved by rest, but not with the usual palliatives.
Shooting pains are usually neuralgic.