(From contralto, to draw together). Contraction; called by Dr. Aitkin, beribe-ria. An immobility of any of the joints from a preternatural contraction of some of their muscles, or from a derangement of the osseous or ligamentous parts of the joint affected. Dr. Cullen ranks this as a genus of disease in the class locales, and order dyscinesiae; and defines it "a continued, rigid contraction of one or more of the limbs."he distinguishes two species.
1. Contractura primaria, from a rigid contraction of the muscles, termed also obstipitas; a word, that with any other annexed distinguishes the variety of the contraction.
Of this species he forms four varieties. 1st. When the muscles become rigid from inflammation. 2d. From spasm. 3d. When contracted, from the antagonists being paralytic. 4th. From irritating acrimony.
2. Contractura articularis, from rigid joints.
Dr. Aitkin observes, that the disease is most frequently symptomatic: and when it depends on muscular contraction only, he advises the tepid bath, with bandages, and counteracting by proportional weights the increased power of the muscle. Mechanical contrivances, either to assist the paralytic muscles or gradually extend the contracted ones, are chiefly useful. In each instance, the vapour bath is a valuable assistant. Dominiceti Buzaglo,and at present Mr. Pugh, have often succeeded in this disease by a bath of this kind.