Distortion is that irregular growth, or unnatural motion, by which any part of animal bodies becomes deformed. Although this term is generally used to express an uncouth contraction of one side of the mouth, yet in this place we shall treat chiefly of those distortions of the bones which proceed either from external injuries, or diseased constitutions, such as a morbid state of the bones, contracted muscles, etc. This affection most frequently appears in rickctty or scrophulous children, or adults of a very delicate and debilitated frame.
Distortions of the spine often arise in consequence of continuing too long in any particular posture ; a circumstance which ought to be attended to from the very com-mencement of the complaint. - Hence the patient should be accustomed gradually to turn himself to the opposite side, and to sleep upon a firm hair mattress, where his body may lie on a more equal surface than in the effeminating feather-bed. At the same time, a nourishing and regular system of diet, sometimes the cool, at others the cold-bath, should be employed, conjointly with such strengthening remedies as are conformable to the nature of the case, and the consti-tution of the individual. By these means, the disease has in many . instances been controlled in its progress ; though a radical cure cannot always be effecte 1.
Several machines and instruments have been invented by ingenious men,for removing distortions of the spine, by pressure; but as their application requires considerable skill and attention, we think it our duty to caution those, who may be obliged to resort to such expedients, against the pretensions of the illiterate. In many cases, however, where the patient was not too long neglected., the use of the common collar has been attended with ad-vantage. There is another contrivance, called spinal stays, with certain machinery adapted to them, which was invented in France, and afterwards introduced into this country by the late Mr. P. Jones, who, on account of the improvements he made on this article, is generally considered as the original inventor. Still, therefore, great merit is due to that skilful man ; and as his widow, for the benefit of her family, now conduces the business (No. 23, Charlotte-street, Bedford-square), and has been in the constant habit of personally attending on females, we venture to recommend her to the patronage of the public.
Causes similar to those before ehumerated, also produce distortions of the limbs. As, however, this subject is more connected with the practice of surgery than that of domestic medicine, we decline the farther discussion of it; having already communicated a few appropriate remarks (see vol. i. p. 155), under the head of Bandy-leGs.