West Nile Virus and Back Pain

Dissipating Pharaoh's Curse

The West Nile virus infects mosquitoes, and every year causes a number of infections in people whom the mosquitoes bite. This article describes the disease and gives both prevention and treatment information - both "allopathic" or standard medical, and "alternative" or complementary & alternative methods.

Original article published in Explore! for the Professional Volume 16, Number 1, 2006 with the title "Dissipating Pharaoh's Curse: Thwarting the West Nile Virus".

So far in 2008, 44 cases of human infection from West Nile virus have been reported in Maricopa County alone, with a total of 49 cases in the state of Arizona.

Epidemiology of West Nile Virus

The West Nile virus (WNV) is indigenous to Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia. It was first isolated from the blood of a woman in Uganda in 1937, and reported in 1940 in the medical literature.[2] It was found in the United States for the first time in 1999 in New York City.[3]  It migrated rapidly west, and was found in Arizona by 2003. Since that time, it has become the most frequent cause of epidemic meningoencephalitis in North America. In the State of Arizona through the year 2006 there have been 106 cases of West Nile encephalitis, with 4 deaths. In the country as a whole, 19,710 cases of West Nile virus have been reported, 8,388 of them neuroinvasive, with 785 fatalities, making a 9.3% fatality rate for neuroinvasive West Nile. Statistics for the year can be reviewed at the Centers for Disease Control website. [4] Birds are the natural reservoir for the virus, and mosquitoes are the transmitting vectors.

West Nile virus is a member of the flavivirus, a small RNA virus whose family is a member of the Japanese encephalitis serogroup, which also includes the St. Louis encephalitis virus, as well as hemorrhagic fever (mosquito-borne) and tick-borne viruses.[5]

West Nile Virus and Back Pain

Eighty percent of infected patients are asymptomatic. Of those who do develop serious infection, most are over the age of 50, with only 4% of cases reported in children under the age of 18.[6] Meningoencephalitis is associated with significant muscle weakness, sometimes with an acute flaccid paralysis, sometimes with brachial plexus symptoms. It is estimated that 1 in 150 infections results in serious neurologic illness, encephalitis being reported more commonly than meningitis.[7]

If one in 150 people with infection develop serious neurologic illness, this means that 149 in 150 people develop lesser symptoms, either a flu-like illness, or minimal symptoms. Although less than 1% of people who are infected develop serious neurologic illness, to the person who develops encephalitis, the incidence of serious illness is 100%. Vulnerable populations include the elderly, the very young, those with chronic illness and diminished immune function (e.g. diabetics, patients who have been treated with chemotherapy or who are on immunosuppressive drugs ( eg. for rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, organ transplants, or cancer). In the outbreak reported from Israel in 2000, patients older than 70 years were more likely to have encephalitis. Other associated symptoms were headache, myalgia (muscle aches), chills, and rash, also abdominal pain and diarrhea.[8] The Israeli study reported a 14% mortality rate for hospitalized patients during that outbreak, very similar to that reported from the initial outbreak in New York City, raising the possibility that a more virulent form of the virus had evolved since the outbreak in Romania in 1996.

Sequellae of serious neurologic illness are considerable, and persistent weakness is common.[9] Outcome is significantly worse in experimental dogs (and presumably, by extension, in humans) treated with corticosteroids.[10]


In Arizona, 300 samples of mosquitoes are collected every month between March and October, and tested at the Arizona State Health Laboratory for virus infection, including Western Equine Encephalitis virus, St. Louis encephalitis virus, and West Nile virus. Horses and flocks of chickens are also monitored twice a month, and tested to determine whether they have been bitten and infected.

Mosquito-based surveillance seems to provide the earliest evidence of transmission of the West Nile virus, but requires that the collectors wear mosquito repellant, lest they themselves become bitten and infected.[11]

Diagnosis and Treatment of West Nile Virus

Diagnosis is through measurement of WNV-specific IgM, with at least a 4-fold rise in titer over a 2-week period.[12] Serum may be positive or negative for WNV-specific antibody at initial presentation, therefore acute and convalescent sera should be drawn. The IgM may persist in serum for as long as 12 months, so the presence of IgM in the serum may not be diagnostic of acute infection. However, IgM does not readily cross the blood-brain barrier, so its presence in the cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) is strongly suggestive of acute WNV infection. IgM levels are commonly positive in the CSF at initial presentation. CSF commonly is positive for WNV culture. Immunocompromised patients may never muster an antibody response. Ideally testing should be by MAC-ELISA of both WNV and St. Louis encephalitis virus, as these may have very similar clinical presentations.

Clinical laboratory characteristics

Laboratory findings are similar to any viral meningoencephalitis – pleocytosis with a predominance of lymphocytes, high CSF protein and normal CSF glucose, normal to slightly elevated peripheral white count, sometimes hyponatremia (particularly in those with encephalitis).[13]

Allopathic Treatments[14]

Supportive care and pharmaceuticals are the mainstay of allopathic treatment,  for fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, hydration, seizures and monitoring for increased intracranial pressure with subsequent development of acute respiratory failure

No specific pharmaceutical therapy is available as of 2005.[15] No studies have been reported as yet, although a few therapeutic trials are in progress. 

         Antiviral medications – Ribavirin, a synthetic nucleoside analogue and RNA mutagen with in vitroactivity against WNV. This drug has low lipid solubility and does not cross the blood-brain barrier well. Thirty-seven Israeli patients, of whom 14% eventually died, received Ribavirin in 2000.

         Interferons[17] – associated with risk of anaphylaxis, depression, pancytopenia, seizures, liver failure, kidney failure. Cornell University has an interferon alpha-3n study

Efficacy of interferon is markedly diminished when treatments are delayed beyond 4-6 hours before viral challenge, making this a somewhat less than useful therapeutic tool, although it might have some effect prophylactically.

         Vaccines are currently in the initial stages of clinical trials.

         Monoclonal antibodies – One group has developed a humanized monoclonal antibody against WNV, which has been tested in mice with excellent results.[18] It has not yet been tested in humans.

Orthomolecular and Homeopathic Treatments

Many other forms of supportive and helpful treatments are available. Herbal remedies include Humic acid extract (e.g. Ultimate Viral Defense, Perfect Solutions)[19],[20] Yin Qiao (Chinese herbal formulation) to relieve heat symptoms[21], formulae containing Coptis chinensis and Scutellaria baicalensis to relieve heat and toxicity.[22]

Orthomolecular treatments can be extremely helpful, both in the acute phase, and in the chronic recovery phase – these substances can all be given intravenously, bypassing the intestinal tract. Their function is to restore cellular health and to enable the body to deal with the viral infestation.

Supportive nutrients may include IV minerals – (magnesium & zinc especially are required for multiple enzymes, and are rapidly depleted with any physical stress), IV vitamins – especially Vitamin C in high dose, since Vitamin C is markedly depleted in severe infection and/or stress.[23],[24],[25],[26] Vitamin C is known to be viricidal in sufficiently high concentrations (serum levels over 400 mg%).[27] Phospholipids given intravenously can to help heal the cell membranes whose damage leads to unnecessary cell death.[28]Glycerophosphocholine is used for neuroprotection[29], and lipoic acid for liver protection.

Homeopathic treatments are often used in conjunction with standard allopathic treatments as necessary. These may include things like Oscillococcinum – for flu-like symptoms without encephalitis, available in most health food stores.

The HEEL homotoxicology approach is two pronged.[30] One arm treats the acute symptoms. The other is aimed at supporting the immune system, so that it can fight off the viral infection.

Among the remedies used acutely are encephalitis remedies like Belladonna Homaccord or Apis Homaccord[31], combination remedies which work well in conjunction with standard allopathic treatments. Practitioners may also choose to use more specific viral remedies like Gripp Heel and Engystol. They may also choose to use auto-sanguis therapy – blood (or other body fluid) is diluted with the appropriate Heel remedy and given by injection or ingestion. This serves to boost the body’s immune system and helps to relieve the toxicity of infections.

Another homeopathic company approaches a patient with acute infections somewhat differently. The GUNA homeopathic approach uses remedies like GUNA-flu to mitigate the acute symptoms, drainage remedies to support detoxification mechanisms at the lymphatic, extra-cellular matrix and cell level, and specific organ remedies to support the major organs of detoxification – kidney and liver.

Single homeopathic remedies can also be used in treatment, for mild to moderate cases. Most of these are available at health food stores.

         Sulphur – for patients who are thirsty for cold drinks, with offensive body odor and sensations of great heat

         Calcaria carbonica – for patients who are cold and clammy, despairing of recovery

         Hyoscyamus – for patients who are manic, with significant muscle weakness, restlessness and delusions

         Nux vomica – for patients with seizures and vomiting

         Phosphorus – for patients who are cold, with salt cravings and anxiety

         Aconite – for patients with sensation of impending death, restlessness, facial weakness

Any of the orthomolecular and homeopathic treatments may be used as post-infection treatments as well, to help restore the individual to full metabolic and brain function and excellent health. Their aim is not necessarily specifically to kill the virus. Anti-viral pharmaceuticals, as we have already seen, are ineffective against the West Nile virus. The aim of the orthomolecular and homeopathic remedies is to restore the body’s function to health, by strengthening the immune system, neutralizing the effects of acute infection, and normalizing the hormonal-endocrine-neurotransmitter balance.

Preventive Treatment for the Individual of West Nile Virus

Preventive treatment can be either active or passive. With active treatment, we look to get rid of the pests. With passive treatment, our goal is to keep ourselves from being bitten by the pests.

Official governmental websites recommend DEET-containing insecticides, and also include some information on Lemon Eucalyptus.

The biggest problem with chemical insecticides is that they not only kill mosquitoes, but also the mosquito hawks that eat mosquitoes, the bees that pollinate fruit trees and flowers, and ladybugs that eat many insects, as well as the frogs and other reptiles which eat the bugs. Doris Rapp, MD, a well-known pediatric allergist, wrote about this issue in 2004.[32] The venerable journal Science, and even the popular press, are now commenting on the impending extinction of the entire reptile family, due to environmental toxicity. [33]

Toxicity of insecticides is rated by measuring acute toxicity, the lethal dose being given in a single bolus. This author was unable to locate any studies which measure the toxicity of low doses of insecticide poisons absorbed over a period of time.

Topical conventional insect repellants for the most part contain DEET(N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide). This compound was invented in 1953. According to Science, “it smells evil, melts plastic, and is perceived by many people to be poisonous.” [34] Toluene is a well known carcinogen which should probably be applied very sparingly, if at all, and not to small children, especially those with already-compromised immune and detoxification systems (like our autistic population).

Many products are available. Those containing 7% DEET will repel mosquitoes for about 5 hours. Those containing 12% DEET will repel them for a little over 7 hours.[35]  A much quoted article in the New England Journal of Medicine states: “Until a better repellant becomes available, DEET-based repellants remain the gold standard of protection…”[36]  In the same article, we find the following statement about repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus:  “The repellent had a mean … complete-protection time of 120 … minutes.” If the goal is to repel mosquitoes for up to 8 hours without reapplication of product, then clearly the DEET based products are the most effective. If the need is only for one or two hours of protection, then the oil of lemon eucalyptus products would be equally effective and significantly less toxic. The issue may not be so much the DEET itself, as the DEET as it affects the Cytochrome P450 system. Concern has been voiced about the role of DEET in the Gulf War Syndrome. “DEET in combinations with pyridostigmine bromide or permethrin can lead to significant neurobehavioral deficits associated with significant inhibition of brainstem acetylcholinesteraseactivities” [37]

Some other less toxic repellants appear to be less potent than DEET.[38], [39] Nevertheless, several remedies, some of which have been in use for hundreds of years with little or no known toxicity, are also effective.[40][41]

Non-toxic Treatments

NoBite XF contains Neem Oil, Karanja Oil, Catnip Oil and Lemon Eucalyptus Oil. This compound requires more frequent application than DEET but has no known toxicity and is effective in repelling mosquitoes.[42]

Lemon Eucalyptus Oil is recommended by the CDC and discussed in the New England Journal of Medicine.[43] This product seems to be effective for about two hours, before it must be reapplied.

Soybean Oil repellant is as effective as lemon eucalyptus oil, also providing about 2 hours of repellant activity, similar to the lower concentrations of DEET.[43] One example of such a product is Bite Blocker which contains soybean oil, geranium oil, and vanillin.[44]

Catnip Oil has significant mosquito repelling properties, being initially as active as DEET. The effect diminishes after 30 minutes, and wears off within 3 hours[45], thus it requires frequent reapplication. Your cats will certainly love you.

Neem Oil is known for its larvicidal properties[46],[47],[48] as well as its anti-viral properties.[49]  In a 1993 study[50] Neem Oil provided complete protection from mosquito bites for 12 hours.

Treatment of the Environment

The least toxic way to treat the environment is to destroy mosquito breeding grounds – all standing water, puddles, containers, old tires, ponds which have no active circulation, bird baths… It is possible to do this without toxic chemicals, simply by emptying containers and cleaning up ponds, but most municipalities choose the chemical route.

In the final analysis, the best preventive treatment is a healthy body, fueled with nutritious foods, with an adequate supply of vitamins and nutrients so that there is significant functional reserve. When an infection threatens, this body can martial its defenses and throw off the infection with very little disruption to its normal every day function.

Back Pain and How to Get Rid of It

Back pain is associated with body posture, but is also influenced by diet, digestion and stress. Almost all people experience them from time to time. Many natural methods successfully deal with the problem.

Back pain may be a slight problem if you disappear for a day or two, but are able to create serious discomfort. They arise as a result of trauma or carry heavy objects, reckless load sciatica exercises incorrectly lifting, twisting or bending. Unnatural posture, lack of exercise, sitting together in a posture for a long time, pregnancy and obesity also causing and worsening back pain. Another factor is stress. Rarely, the cause may be a disease that persons directly related to the back, such as urinary tract infections. 

Causes of Back Pain
Structure of the spine 
The backbone consists of 33 closely related vertebrae. Between the first 24 are natural shock absorbers, consisting of cartilage disks filled with a substance similar to gel. The integrity of the spine is supported by ligaments (thick rings of fibrous tissue), muscles and joints of each vertebra. 

Back pain may be associated with dysfunction in any part of the complex structure of the spine (see illustration) and is often triggered by the accumulation of such factors as: 
• stretched muscle or tendon. 
• Muscle spasm obtained as a defensive reaction to the restraint back after injury, or stress overload. Then the muscles around the area vulnerable to strain and stiffness painful, thus preventing any movement. 
• Hernia of inter vertebral disc. The pain is due to pop because of the soft core of the disc, which depresses the nerve or irritate adjacent tissues. Over the years, the discs "dry" and become more susceptible to injury. Immobilization is also a factor that leads to problems. 
• Sciatica - sharp, stabbing pain around the waist and down the leg, most often caused by osteoarthritis or herniated disc putting pressure on the nerves. 
• Osteoarthritis, which proved the most common cause of back pain in people aged over 50 years. 
• Osteoporosis, which reduces the calcium content of the vertebrae, so they are easily broken or hurt. 
• Spinal stenos, representing a narrowing of the spinal canal that puts pressure on both the spinal cord and the nerve endings. 

The surest way to prevent back pain is keeping its strength and flexibility through exercise. Avoid overloading and unmeasured movements that can lead to injury. Follow these tips: 
• Do not carry heavy bags in only one arm or one leg. If necessary, divide the contents into two bags. An even better option is to use a backpack. 
• To lift a heavy object, came as close as possible, bend your knees and lift the burden and tighten your knees and keep your back straight. 
• While carrying some weight and want to ask, do not twist from the waist. Instead, turn your whole body. 
• If you sit down, look back to face and cross be with support. In the driving seat pull back to increase the angle between the thighs and upper body. 
• Wear comfortable shoes that do not prevent you from walking normally. Prescribed by orthopedic insoles often relieve back pain. If you work long and a computer, watch for the right to stand (see photo). If you cannot step firmly on the floor, use a footrest. 
• Do not lean and squat, if you need to perform tasks such as weeding. 
• Sleep on a firm mattress for better support on the back without too much with firmness. If you use soft, so strong, with a board placed me do it and bedsteads. 

TREATMENT of Back Pain

If stress affects back pain, Use techniques for dealing with it 
Heat and cold 
This form of hydrotherapy blood circulation and stimulate healing. 
To relieve pain due to muscle strain or sciatica, place the affected area immersed in hot water and well wrung towel. If you looking for easy treatment, they not exist.Leave it for 2 minutes and then replace it with a towel dipped in cold water, which must be stayed 1 minute. Rotate them for 15 minutes. This is particularly effective in pain due to muscle strain and inflammation, use only cold compress. 

Twisting in the supine position / Back Pain
Smooth exercise relieves stiffness in the back, but not recommended if you hurt. 
Lie on your back. Place left foot over right knee and lower the left knee to right, while twisting at the waist. The right hand is on the left thigh. Reach your left hand side y palm you follow up with a look. Relax for 1 minute and povtoreg1 with the other leg in the opposite direction; 

• Herbs help relieve pain and stiffness and stimulate circulation. 
• Rub the painful place a mixture of equal quantities of glycerin and tincture of paprika. 
• Use frequent hot compresses on the back with red viburnum bark, Valerian, chamomile or ginger. 
• In sciatica massage into your skin. 
• Arni ca: for back pain due to trauma take by mouth 2 times daily. 
• Hypericum: to relieve back pain due to inflammation of the nerve. Take orally 2 times daily. 
Other methods: chiropractic and osteopathy help with chronic back problems. 

Massage for back pain 
Gentle massage of the muscles on both sides of the spine often relieve pain. Sciatica is influenced by the seat massage and stretching of the spine. The latter technique granted rigid muscles along the spine. 

Body seat of Back Pain
Lie on your stomach on a mat or blanket. Massaging his knees to you and massage opposite buttock with slow circular movements of the whole hand, then massaged the other side. 

Stretching the spine of Back Pain

Kneeling on the floor and your forehead against the ground, arms are stretched back, hands and feet are up. For convenience, you can put lead between the legs and buttocks. Your partner stands on his knees to you and puts his hands on top of the spine at the base. He pressure with both hands and helps you stretch your spine