Chapter 1.1 – Articles from the 19th century or earlier

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At the beginning of the 19th century and earlier, the subcutaneous painful nodules, tumours, fibrous indurations or effusions (the back mice) were a finding related to what they called chronic rheumatism or muscular rheumatism. 

These are books and thesis related to what they called rheumatism.

    1. 1777 MacBride: BOOKA Methodical Introduction to the Theory and Practice of the Art of Medicine. Rheumatism
    2. 1816 William Balfour: BOOK . Observations with cases with a new, simple and expeditious mode of curing RHEUMATISM and sprains
    3. 1821 James Morss Churchill: BOOK. A treatise on acupuncturation. 
    4. 1822 Baron D.J. Larrey: BOOK. On the use of the MOXA as a therapeutical agent.
    5. 1827 Charles Scudamore: BOOK. A Treatise on the nature and cure of rheumatism, with observations on rheumatic neuralgia and on spasmodic neuralgia or tic douloureux.
    6. 1827 William Wallace: BOOK. Physiological enquiry respecting the action of MOXA, and its utility in inveterate cases of sciatica, lumbago, and spasmodic diseases of the nerves and muscles.
    7. 1828 Churchill: BOOK. Cases illustrative of the immediate effects of acupuncturation, in rheumatism, lumbago, sciatica, anomalous muscular diseases, and in dropsy of the cellular tissue; selected from various sources, and intended as an appendix to the author’s treatise on the subject. Churchill, James Morss. London : Callow & Wilson, 1828. NLM ID: 101170024.
    8. 1845 Alexander Gottschalk: BOOK Darstellung der rheumatischen krankheiten auf anatomischer Grundlage [Representation of rheumatic diseases on an anatomical basis]
    9. 1850 Robert Froriep: BOOK On the therapeutic application of electromagnetism in the treatement of rheumatic and paralytic affections. (based on the German original book from 1843)
    10. 1881 J.J. Forst (president M. Lasegue): THÈSE Contribution a l’etude clinique de la sciatique
    11. 1904 Ralph Stockman: BOOK The causes, pathology, and treatment of chronic rheumatism.
    12. 1918 Ernst Adolf Schmidt: BOOK Der Muskelrheumatismus (myalgie) auf Grund eigener beobachtungen und untersuchungen gremeinverständlich dargestellt

Muscular rheumatism
MacBride talks about “muscular rheumatism” in the chapter related to painful diseases. He relates rheumatism with the “suppression of natural discharges” that then fix in the fleshes. He mentions that the SUDORIFICS are the best to eliminate the “matter” which creates the rheumatism.
cellullar membrane
These are the notes of the famous English treatise published by the doctor William Balfour from Edinburgh in 1816. Despite he has been said to be the “first one” to describe the painful nodules as back mice, after reading the complete treatise, I could not find anywhere where he mentions “painful nodules”. He does mention “painful tumors” in the cellular membrane, but no nodules, -what we would call fascias- due to an effusion of certain substances. So, in a way, he does talk about back mice, but as “tumors of humor effusion in the cellular membrane” due to the “atony of the small vessels”. He theorizes that the “proximate cause of Rheumatism is impeded circulation in the capillary vessels”.
This is a TREATISE about the acupuncture technique by Dr. Churchill that was published in 1828 on rheumatic pains as lumbago and sciatica (they could be related to edema of the deep fatty tissue as back mice, he DID NOT MENTION ANY PALPATED NODULES). Unfortunately, despite it presents many medical cases to illustrate the results, it does not show any picture of the exact localization of the punctures.
Book from 1850.Froriep’s main theory is that the acute and chronic rheumatic pains are related to an EFFUSION IN THE CELLULAR TISSUE (of the cutis, of the subcutaneous tissue, of the muscle, and the periostium). This effusion could be felt as an INDURATION localized or generalized in an area (with nerve supply), limb or complete half or whole body. Sometimes the effusion could be palpated with borders, as a rounded nodule or like a tense band, or just like a generalized induration or crackling.
In this treatise, Stockman just calls the nodules fibrous indurations or thickenings that have the property by certain “irritants” to swell. He describes the back mice as SEROUS EXUDATION IN FIBROUS INDURATIONS. The exudation can be partly reabsorbed and then the fibrous thickenings become less painful. According to him -and many other authors- the “mice” can be present at ANY LOCATION of the body, not just at the lumbar zone.