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A 40-year-old male, artist by profession, reported with headaches. He had had this superficially all day, but it had gotten worse while sleeping during the night. He reported that the pain was principally “on the top of the head, close to the forehead, but not right on the forehead”. He further had noticed an urge to eat while the headache persisted, but stressed that this was no true hunger. There had initially been a “sharp , heavy pain” in his left arm that did not permit him to even hold his paintbrush. The pain had drawn upward from the elbow into the shoulder. This then spread into his neck, creating a sensation of stiffness. As he then refrained from conducting further labour with his arms, these symptoms gradually weakened, but the superficial headache persisted.

During the night he had woken several times. Each time he noticed that the headache appeared slightly worse than before. His head felt heavy and as if under pressure. He had taken an aspirin before going to bed but this had not brought any relief. In the early morning he felt like he had palpitations or arrhythmia and his left arm felt “heavy, painful and somewhat numb”. He had a drawing sensation between the shoulder blades.

The patient was prescribed Rhus toxicodendron In D/X 3 liq.; to take 7 drops every 15 Min. for 2 hours as needed.

The patient took 4 doses.

The pain in his arm and shoulder-blade vanished after the 2nd dose, as did the palpitations. Following the 1st dose his headache had moved from a frontal/top position to the crown of the head. After the second dose it moved to the top/back of the head. On the 3rd administration the pain had moved to the upper neck and on the 4th dose the pain moved to the lower neck/upper shoulders.

The patient took no further dose as within the following 10 Min. the pain moved into the left shoulder and elbow and after further 10 Min. vanished completely.

Rhus toxicodendron by Boericke [1]:

  • want of appetite for any kind of food.

  • Puls irregular with numbness of left arm.

  • Palpitations.

  • Stiffness of neck.

  • Headache getting worse while sleeping.

  • Heavy head

  • Pain in forehead & proceeds thence backwards.

Rhus toxicodendron by Clarke [2]:

  • headache < moving arms.

  • Heaviness & pressive fulness of head, as if brain were about to burst.

  • Lancating headache day & night, extending as far as ears…

  • beating and pulsating in head.

  • Violent palpitations of heart while sitting quietly.

  • Weakness & sensation of trembling heart.

  • Shooting in region of heart, with painful sensation of paralysis & numbness of left arm.

  • Puls rapid, small, compressible.

  • Rheumatic stiffness of nape and neck with painful tension during movement.

  • Tearing between shoulders, drawing together from both sides.


[1] Boericke, W. (2004) Pocket manual of homeopathic materia medica and repertory New Delhi: B.Jain publishers Ltd.

[2] Clarke, J. (1994) A Dictionary of practical materia medica New Ddelhi: B.Jain publishers Ltd.