The information provided here is not a replacement for a doctor. You shouldn't use it for the purpose of self-diagnosing or self-medicating but rather so you can have a more informed discussion with a professional TCM practitioner.
Opisthotonos can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.
Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like opisthotonos here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.
A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here opisthotonos is often associated with convulsions, high fever and fainting in the pattern “Heat victorious stirring Wind”. As you will see below, we have in record two patterns that can cause opisthotonos.
Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of opisthotonos we’ve identified two herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.
We’ve also selected below the four medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat opisthotonos.
In Chinese Medicine opisthotonos is a symptom for 2 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.
Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian)
Heat victorious stirring Wind is often treated with Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang, a herbal formula made of 10 herbs (including Saiga Antelope's Horns - Ling Yang Jiao - as a key herb). Ling Jiao Gou Teng Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that pacify and extinguish internal wind", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Cools the Liver".
The Liver is a so-called "Zang" Organ. Learn more about the Liver in Chinese Medicine
Pulse type(s): Rapid (Shu), Wiry (Xian), Full (Shi)
Tongue coating: Thick coating, Yellow coating
Tongue color: Red
Tongue shape: Stiff
The invasion of Exterior Wind-Heat leads to this pattern and it then transforms to Interior Wind and Heat.
In addition to opisthotonos, other symptoms associated with Liver Wind agitating Internally due to extreme Heat include convulsions, dizziness and paralysis.
Liver Wind agitating Internally due to extreme Heat is often treated with Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin, a herbal formula made of 11 herbs (including Gastrodia Rhizomes - Tian Ma - as a key herb). Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin belongs to the category of "formulas that pacify and extinguish internal wind", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Calms the Liver".
Source date: Qing dynasty
Number of ingredients: 10 herbs
Key actions: Cools the Liver. Extinguishes Wind. Increases Fluids. Relaxes the sinews.
Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Heat victorious stirring Wind' of which opisthotonos is a symptom.
Source date: 1958 AD
Number of ingredients: 11 herbs
Key actions: Calms the Liver. Extinguishes wind. Invigorates the blood. Clears heat. Tonifies the Liver and Kidneys.
Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern 'Liver Wind agitating Internally due to extreme Heat' of which opisthotonos is a symptom.
Its main actions are: Calms the Mind (Shen) and promote urination.
Its main actions are: Calms Liver Wind and relieves spasms. Clears Liver Heat and sedates Liver Yang.
Because it is a key herb in Tian Ma Gou Teng Yin, a herbal formula indicated to treat the pattern 'Liver Wind agitating Internally due to extreme Heat' (a pattern with opisthotonos as a symptom)
Gastrodia Rhizomes is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Liver.
Its main actions are: Calms Liver Wind. Sedates Liver Yang and relieves convulsions. Relieves Wind and stops pain.
Its main actions are: Clears Internal Liver Wind, subdues Yang. Clears Liver Fire and brightens the eyes. Eliminates toxins and reduces fever.