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Part 48

In curvatures forward of the vertebrae from a fall, or from some heavy body falling upon them, in general no one of them is displaced far beyond the others, but if one or more be so displaced, the case proves fatal; but, not withstanding, as formerly stated, the displacement is circular, and not angular. In such cases, then, the urine and faeces are more apt to be retained than in displacement outward, the feet and the whole inferior extremities are colder, and the symptoms are more fatal than in the former case; and if they do survive, they are more subject to retention of the urine, and to loss of strength, and to torpor in their legs. But if the displacement be in the upper part, they experience loss of strength and torpor of the whole body. I know no mechanical contrivance by which such a displacement could be reduced, unless that one might be benefited by succussion on a bladder, or any other similar plan of treatment, such as extension, as formerly described. I am not aware of any mode of pressure which might be applied along with the extension, like that of the board in displacement backward; for how could one apply pressure from before through the belly? (internal cavity?) The thing is impossible. But neither coughing nor sneezing has any power so as to cooperate with the extension, nor would the injection of air into the bowels have any effect. And to apply large cupping instruments with the view of drawing back the vertebrae which have protruded forward, shows a great error of judgment; for they rather propel than attract, and those who apply them are not aware even of this fact, for the greater will be the inclination forward the greater the instrument applied, the skin being forcibly drawn into the cupping-instrument. I could tell of other modes of succussion than those formerly described, which one might fancy would be more applicable in such an affection; but I have no great confidence in them, and therefore I do not describe them. On the main, it should be known, respecting the accidents which I have briefly described, that displacements forward are of a fatal and injurious nature; but that displacements backward, [p. 247]for the most part, do not prove fatal, nor occasion retention of urine nor torpor of the limbs, for they do not stretch the ducts leading toward the intestines, nor occasion obstruction of the same; but displacements forward produce both these bad effects, and many others in addition. And truly they are more apt to lose the power of their legs and arms, to have torpor of the body, and retention of urine, who experience no displacement either forward or backward, but merely a violent concussion along the spine, while those who have displacement backward are least subject to these symptoms.

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