Some Comments upon the Probable Direction of Future Progress in Treatment of Chronic Joint Diseases

H. W. MARSHALL
1911 Boston Medical and Surgical Journal  
Progress in treatment began long ago, originating possibly at the time of the Ptolemies and Rameses of Egypt, for old Egyptian mummies show evidence of deforming arthritis and pathological changes in their bones; but the history of progress and fluctuations in knowledge through the centuries must be summarized in the present paper in the abbreviated statement that there have been handed down from the past an incredible number of cures embracing drugs, mineral waters, baths, lotions, various
more » ... otions, various physical therapeutic methods, quaint superstitions and mystical talismans and charms that are worn to ward off " rheumatisms," for by no means have these latter disappeared from use. Notwithstanding the abundant supply of remedies that may be drawn from, chronic joint diseases still prevail and not infrequently run their course in spite of diversified, persistent treatments; and while it seems true that many of these remedies possess virtues under certain conditions, yet there are none that can be confidently expected to benefit all cases; moreover, because of difficulties in telling whether given procedures will prove helpful or not in individual instances, there has been, and continues to be, constant search for new cures of wider applicability and more pronounced usefulness. At the present time new drugs, vaccines, therapeutic sera, organ extracts, surgery, new modifications of physical therapy and preventive measures are being added to the long list of remedial agents and methods by which arthritis is combatted, and it does not seem likely that this multiplication of remedies will cease in the future ; furthermore, it must be expected that treatment of chronic joint diseases will continue in an unsatisfactory state as long as physicians are contented to search for new or more simple cures only, and fail to comprehend clearly the essential principles that always are necessary for success in all cases.
doi:10.1056/nejm191109071651002 fatcat:w3v3mubwu5aqhd2sp7hkwtuaee