Home | Texts by category | | Quick Search:   
Works by Hippocrates
Pages of On The Articulations

Previous | Next

On The Articulations   

hips are more emaciated than when the gibbosity is seated higher up;
but the whole spine is more elongated in them than in those who have
the gibbosity seated higher up, the hair of the pubes and chin is of
slower growth and less developed, and they are less capable of
generation than those who have the gibbosity higher up. When the
gibbosity seizes persons who have already attained their full
growth, it usually occasions a crisis of the then existing disease,
but in the course of time some of them attack, as in the case of
younger persons, to a greater or less degree; but, not withstanding,
for the most part, all these diseases are less malignant. And yet many
have borne the affection well, and have enjoyed good health until
old age, more especially those persons whose body is inclined to be
plump and fat; and a few of them have lived to beyond sixty years of
age, but the most of them are more short-lived. In some cases the
curvature of the spine is lateral, that is to say, either to the one
side or the other; the most of such cases are connected with tubercles
(abscesses?) within the spine; and in some, the positions in which
they have been accustomed to lie cooperate with the disease. But these
will be treated of among the chronic affections of the lungs; for
these the most suitable prognostics of what will happen in these cases
are given.

42. When the spine protrudes backward, in consequence of a fall,
it seldom happens that one succeeds in straightening it. Wherefore
succussion on a ladder has never straightened anybody, as far as I
know, but it is principally practiced by those physicians who seek
to astonish the mob-for to such persons these things appear wonderful,
for example, if they see a man suspended or thrown down, or the
like; and they always extol such practices, and never give
themselves any concern whatever may result from the experiment,
whether bad or good. But the physicians who follow such practices,
as far as I have known them, are all stupid. The device, however, is
an old one, and I give great praise to him who first invented this,
and any other mechanical contrivance which is according to nature. For
neither would I despair, but that if succussion were properly gone
about, the spine, in certain cases, might be thereby rectified. But,
indeed, for my own part, I have been ashamed to treat all such cases
in this way, because such modes of procedure are generally practiced
by charlatans.

43 Those cases in which the gibbosity is near the neck, are less
likely to be benefited by these succussions with the head downward,
for the weight of the head, and tops of the shoulders, when allowed to
hang down, is but small; and such cases are more likely to be made
straight by succussion applied with the feet hanging down, since the
inclination downward is greater in this way. When the hump is lower
down, it is more likely in this case that succussion with the head
downward should do good. If one, then, should think of trying
succussion, it may be applied in the following manner:-The ladder is
to be padded with leather lined cushions, laid across, and well
secured to one another, to a somewhat greater extent, both in length
and breadth, than the space which the man's body will occupy; he is
then to be laid on the ladder upon his back, and the feet, at the
ankles, are to be fastened, at no great distance from one another,
to the ladder, with some firm but soft band; and he is further to be
secured, in like manner, both above and below the knee, and also at
the nates; and at the groins and chest loose shawls are to be put
round in such a fashion as not to interfere with the effect of the
succussion; and his arms are to be fastened along his sides to his own
body, and not to the ladder. When you have arranged these matters
thus, you must hoist up the ladder, either to a high tower or to the
gable-end of a house; but the place where you make the succussion
should be firm, and those who perform the extension should be well
instructed, so that they may let go their hold equally to the same

Previous | Next
Site Search