This section of the book is from the "Household Companion: The Family Doctor" book
A safe and often very useful remedy for pain in the abdomen, or, indeed, anywhere else, is the outward application of a mustard-plaster. When doubtful what else to do, try that. Properly used, it can do no harm, and will most probably do good, often a great deal of good. A hot piece of flannel laid over the belly will sometimes be almost as useful as a mustard-plaster.
Colicky pain may be lessened by firm pressure on both hip bones, near their front edge. This can be done with one's own thumbs and fingers, or by those of another.
The pressure should be pretty hard, though steady and not enough to hurt of itself.
Gentle pressure, and still better kneading the bowels, at the seat of pain from flatulence, will often help to scatter the wind and promote its moving and passing downwards, which is very important to colic.
Also, rubbing over the stomach and back with a hair-brush or clothes-brush, as briskly as can be comfortably borne, will sometimes do a wonderful amount of good for colicky pains.
If such palliative means as those just spoken of, as aromatics, laxatives, and outward warming applications, do not, in a reasonable time, show signs of affording relief of severe pain
we may have to obtain medical advice, or in its absence to resort to anodynes. Of these, the quickest and most effectual are those made from opium, especially laudanum (tincture of opium). A much weaker one is paregoric (camphorated tincture of opium). Camphor is, in the form of spirits of camphor, both an aromatic and an anodyne; in the latter quality, however, less potent, at least in ordinary doses, than opium. Both, and especially opium, require great care in their use. (Doses of all remedies and medicines recommended, will be found tabulated in a later part of this book).
Pain in the abdomen, however, by no means always comes from indigestion or colic. It may possibly be the beginning of inflammation of the bowels, or of dysentery; of peritonitis; or of obstruction of the bowels. It may be seated in the liver; in the kidneys (then rather in the back); if low down, in the bladder; in the female, in the ovaries or womb; or there may be an aneurism of the aorta, or a cancer; or it may be only a form of neuralgia. For each of these, which a good deal of knowledge may be needed to ascertain, a different kind of treatment will be called for; the pain being only one of the manifestations of disorder. Therefore any suspicion of so serious a possibility as either of these (or even severe or obstinate colic) will be a proper reason for promptly obtaining the advice of a physician.
For the relief of pain in the side or chest, a mustard-plaster is to be considered, after trial of rubbing, and simple heat (by a hot flannel, hot flat-iron, bag of hot salt or sand, or a tin vessel filled with hot water) the first active remedy. So much here depends on the origin of the pain, that no further uniform treatment of chest or side pains can be advantageously laid down. Pain in the chest may result from pleurisy, pneumonia, neuralgia, rheumatism, heart-diseases, aneurism of the aorta, etc., or from so secondary a cause as dyspepsia ("heartburn," cardi-algia). Each of these requires some difference of management.