OVERCOMING PAIN: AN EXPLORATION OF ANALGESIA IN IBN SINA’S AL-QANOON FIL TIBB
Ibn Sina (980-1037 AD), latinized as Avicenna was a Persian scholar, physician, scientist and medical writer whose works had a lasting influence on medical education for more than seven centuries. He is known to have authored more than 400 books, of which many could not be preserved. His most famous treatise is Al-Qanoon Fil Tibb (The Law in Medicine) which is a medical encyclopedia in five volumes. Pain is described in the first volume, alongwith its clinical features, causes and management. Pain is mentioned by the name of waja‘ (hurt) and described as a feeling contrary to the body. He described fifteen types of pain based on their causative factors and differentiated them on their clinical presentation, for instance, waja‘-i-Mukassir (breaking pain), waja‘-i-I‘iyāiī (fatigue pain), waja‘-i-Ḍarabānī (throbbing pain) etc. For their management, he has prescribed different classes of drugs which act through diverse routes. Mukhaddir (narcotic or anaesthetic) are used for symptom relief, murkhī (relaxant) are advised when there is pent-up matter to help in its resolution, muḥallil-i-waram (anti-inflammatory) drugs are prescribed for inflammatory pains and mus’hil (purgative) drugs are prescribed if the morbid matter has to be excreted through intestines. In addition, an account of other effective regiems such as cupping, massage, music therapy and use of exhilarants is also described in Al-Qanoon.
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