The ideal person for using Rhus tox is :
Restless, continually changing position, having a great deal of apprehension especially at night and finds it difficult to stay in bed. The head will feel heavy, and the jaws may be noisy, creaking, with TMJ pain.
The tongue tends to be coated except for a red triangular area near the tip and there is a frequently bitter taste in the mouth and a desire for milky drinks. There is often a drowsy feeling after eating.
There may be a nagging dry cough and a sense of palpitation most noticeable when sitting still. The back tends be stiff and normally feels better for moving about; limbs are stiff and any exposure to cold makes the skin feel sensitive or painful.
Cold, wet weather makes symptoms worse as does sleep and resting.
What helps most as far as symptoms are concerned is warm, dry weather, movement, rubbing the uncomfortable areas, warm applications and stretching. The remedy is Rhus tox in the 6C potency.
Trials - In Britain a study found that using the 6C dilution of Rhus Tox was effective in moderating the symptoms of patients with Fibromyalgia whereas a trial in the Australia, involving just three patients who fitted all the criteria including the profile for Rhus tox, there was no benefit when a 6X dilution was used.
The difference between 6X and 6C may seem unimportant, but the dilution difference if enormous.
With one study using Rhus tox 6C and claiming marked benefits for Fibromyalgia patients and one using Rhus tox 6X showing no benefit, the jury is still out. However since there is absolutely no chance of side effects with homeopathy there is little to be lost in trying, but try the 6C first.
In controlled trials it has been found that hypnotherapy helps more than physical therapy in those patients who do not seem to respond well to most other forms of treatment. Pain is reduced, fatigue and stiffness on waking is improved and general feeling of wellbeing better.
The most widespread treatment approach to Fibromyalgia involves the use of various pharmacological agents and it is useful to evaluate the results of studies as to their efficacy. Tricyclic antidepressant medications increases the amount of serotonin in the central nervous system and increases the delta-wave sleep stage and is found to consistently improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia, though not by acting as an anti-depressant and not in all patients treated.
Studies involving various forms of antidepressant medication tend to support use of Amitripyline (25 to 50mg daily) with pain scores, stiffness, sleep and fatigue all improving on average but by no means in all patients.
In one study 77% of Fibromyalgia patients receiving Amitripyline reported general improvement after 5 weeks as against only 43% of those receiving placebo medication. Side effects from the antidepressant were however measurable with a selection of drowsiness, confusion, seizure, agitation, nightmares, blurred vision, hallucinations, uneven heartbeat, gastrointestinal upsets, low blood pressure, constipation, urinary retention, impotence and mouth dryness all being observed or reported.
When combined with osteopathic manipulative methods (mainly soft tissue techniques - see below) anti-depressant medication offered greater relief.
A study involving the use of systemic corticosteroids (prednisone 15mg daily) showed that there were no measurable improvements, and since side effects with such medication is usual this approach is clearly not desirable. Indeed if it were to produce an improvement it would be sensible to question whether fibromyalgia was indeed the correct diagnosis. Some other rheumatic condition is a more likely to improve symptomatically with its use.