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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Some folk cures defy logic but work

Peter Gott United Media

Dear Dr. Gott: In a recent column, you carried a letter from a reader who’d offered his experience in controlling leg cramps with a bar of soap placed in his bed. Both my wife and I have had some problems with leg cramps, so we did as he described. It worked for both of us. It seems to be another of those folk cures that make up in performance for what they lack in logic.

Since then, we’ve also tried another of your readers’ suggestions: castor oil applied topically to a joint to increase its mobility. After a little less than one month of twice-a-day applications, I find enough improvement of a really bad ankle that has been almost immobilized since I was 28 (I am now 80). The knee on this same leg is not showing as much gain as the ankle; nonetheless, I’ll continue to rub the oil onto that joint also. There is some improvement.

We both extend our thanks for putting these ideas where we could read them and try them.

Dear Reader: Thanks for your comments and compliment. Have you tried Certo and grape juice for arthritis or Vicks VapoRub for nail fungus?

Dear Dr. Gott: My mother is 85 years old and had three different GI doctors check her for very excessive belching or burping. None of the three has helped her with this problem. However, one did mention the word aerophagia. Can you explain what this is? Also, what are the symptoms of this condition? If one has this, what test, medication, procedures, etc., would be helpful in relieving or curing this condition?

She has no heartburn or acid reflux. Her gallbladder was removed many years ago, and she is on a very strict diet. All doctors claim her general health is very good. Maybe you have some idea.

Dear Reader: Aerophagia is a medical term for the swallowing of air during eating, a common cause of intestinal gas and belching, especially in the elderly.

Patients with this condition should avoid carbonated beverages, eat more slowly, chew more thoroughly and use anti-gas supplements such as Beano or Gas-X. In addition, foods that (by experience) cause gas should be eaten sparingly.

To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report “Digestive Gas.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

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