“Ortho” signifies Bones and Joints while “-itis” means inflammation, hence Arthritis is defined as the inflammation of one or more joints. It leads to symptoms such as pain, redness, tenderness, difficulty in movement, limitation of mobility, stiffness and swelling.
Causes of Arthritis vary such as wear and tear, injuries, infections, underlying diseases, etc.
There are mainly two main types of arthritis along with many other types which we will be discussing in this article. We will also mention the diagnosis, management and helpful homeopathic medicines for arthritis and related conditions.
Types of Arthritis
The Two Main Types of Arthritis include:
It is the most common type of Arthritis and occurs due to wear and tear of the joint capsule or the cartilage around the joint. The cartilage at the ends of the bones dries up and leads to pain once the bones start to get in touch or grind against each other. It leads to a limitation in mobility as well. It can occur due to age, obesity, lack of exercise and can even be triggered due to injury that leads to sudden deterioration.
Most commonly affected joints are the hands, knees, hips and the spine.
Along with stiffness, lack of mobility, pain, grinding sensation, swelling and loss of flexibility, it can also lead to the formation of bone spurs due to the bone edges that can be felt like hard lumps.
Risk Factors for Osteoarthritis include: Old age, female gender, overweight, injuries, stress on the joint, genetic tendency, congenital deformity and some metabolic disorders such as hemochormatocis and diabetes or increased uric acid levels.
Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis is by a Physical Examination, X Ray, MRI Examination or Analysis of the Joint fluid.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA is an autoimmune disorder that usually affects many joints at once. It results from the body’s immune system attacking its own healthy cells that leads to inflammation and swelling.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis include morning stiffness, inflammation, pain in the early stages while there can be deformities of the joints and other organ system involvements in the later and more severe stages.
Risk Factors for Rheumatoid Arthritis include higher age, female gender, genetics, smoking, obesity and a slightly higher prevalence is seen in women who have never given birth indicating that there may be a hormonal involvement. Similarly, breast feeding is said to decrease the risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis in women.
Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis is also done through tools such as X ray, MRI scan, Clinical observations along with blood tests such as Rheumatoid Factor, C reactive protein levels, ESR, CBC and antibody levels such as Anti-nuclear antibodies.
There are other Types of Arthritis as well, such as:
- Ankylosing spondylitis:
It is an inflammatory disease that leads to the swelling and degeneration of the joints between the vertebrae leading to their fusion. This causes pain, stiffness, change in posture and alignment of the bones. It is usually seen in early adulthood and has been linked to a gene by the name of HLA B 27.
It can also be accompanied by other symptoms such as Uveitis or eye inflammation, aortic involvement causing an increase in chances of heart disease and an increase in tendency to compression fractures.
Diagnosis includes physical examination by your doctor as well as blood tests such as inflammatory and genetic markers along with tools such as x ray and MRI scans. X ray can show specific radiological markers such as Bamboo spine and Dagger sign which can confirm.
It is a commonly occurring but complex form of Arthritis that occurs due to the excessive accumulation of uric acid crystals in the joint causing sudden intense pain and inflammation. These are known as urate crystals formed from uric acid due to breakdown of purines which are found in different types of foods as well as in the body.
Risk factors for gout include: Diet rich in meat, sea foods and fructose; alcohol consumption, overweight, chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, family history of gout or kidney stones, male gender, certain medications such as diuretics and aspirin and recent surgery or trauma.
- Psoriatic Arthritis:
It is seen in patients suffering from Psoriasis which is a skin disease due to immunological reaction of the body.
It can occur along with or after many years of the development of psoriasis.
Symptoms include sausage like swelling of the fingers and toes, Achilles Tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, pain in lower back, crumbling of nails, blurred vision and uveitis.
- Septic Arthritis:
It is a painful condition due to infection traveling and residing in a joint from an injury or sepsis at another part. It can also occur due to penetrating trauma like an animal bite or from a sharp object directly in to the joint leading to sepsis. Bacterial infection with Staphylococcus aureus (staph) is the most common cause of this.
Risk Factors for Septic Arthritis include preexisting joint problems, prosthetic joints, fragile skin and weak immune system.
- Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis:
It is the most common type of arthritis seen in children below 16years of age. It presents as persistent joint pains, swelling, stiffness and can even cause serious problems such as developmental troubles, severe joint damages and inflammation of the eyes. Although the causation is not clear there seems to be a genetic or environmental link.
Also known as Fibrositis, it is the widespread occurrence of pain, fatigue, sleep and issues with memory and sleep in the body. Causes include genetic factors, infections or triggers after emotionally or physically traumatic events. Risk factors for Fibromyalgia include genetics, female gender and other disorders such as osteoarthritis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. It can also coexist with other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, migraine, TMJ disorders, anxiety and depression.
Management of Arthritis
Management of Arthritis Includes the following:
- Regular exercise and stretches to keep the joints moving.
- Maintaining good posture
- Weight management
- Avoiding smoking and alcohol
- Avoiding high impact and repetitive exercises
- Massage from a qualified therapist with knowledge of the disease
- Physiotherapy and meditation or yoga
- Hot or cold fomentation as per comfort
- Avoiding excessive painkillers
- Avoiding Negative thoughts
Homoeopathic Aids for Arthritis
Homoeopathic Treatment has proven to be an assistive aid in the management of Arthritis and its related symptoms.
Some of the best remedies for Arthritis include:
One of the best and most frequently used remedy for joint pains, Rhus Toxicodendron acts extremely well in rheumatic complaints involving fibrous tissues. The characteristic feature is the amelioration in pain after movement and worsening after rest. It is very useful for patients who keep changing their position frequently to get relief from the pain and in ailments that were brought on by strains, over lifting or from getting wet when overheated. Hot, painful and swollen joints, especially the large joints such as the hip, knees and shoulder are greatly helped by this remedy. Omeo Rhus Tox Ointment is a useful external application that can be used along with internal usage of this remedy.
Another very useful remedy, it helps in cases of tearing, stitching and aching pains that get worse by any form of motion. There is great dryness of membranes making it an excellent remedy for Osteoarthritis. Patients needing Bryonia can have an excessive thirst and are generally irritable. There is also pain that gets worse on pressure.
This is a pal of a remedy for complaints that begin in the lower limbs and move upwards. There is a lack of vital heat in the body and the patient feels very cold yet feels better from putting the feet in cold water. It has a special affinity for small joints and hence is an excellent remedy for arthritis of the small joints such as the fingers and toes and is also very useful in case of Gout. Since it is a wonderful remedy for puncture wounds, it makes a very useful remedy in case of septic or reactive arthritis as well. Omeo Spondyheal Drops are a helpful aid that contain Ledum pal along with 6 other wonderful remedies to help with this condition.
Made from the Honey Bee, this remedy helps in Synovitis and edema, making it a wonderful remedy for Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is very useful in complaints of the knee joint and the feet where they appear red, shiny and swollen. There is a tired and bruised feeling with numbness of affected joints.
It is a well suited remedy for women. Helpful in complaints such as severe drawing and erratic pains with stiffness in small joints such as fingers, toes, ankles and wrists. Pain changes location frequently.
It helps in cases of rheumatism affecting the large joints. There is jerking of limbs with unsteady feeling with restlessness. Spine feels very sensitive with stiffness and contracture of the neck and back. It is also of use in intercostal rheumatism. It is also of use for stiffness of the tendo-Achilles.
It is a rheumatic remedy of the small joints with tearing and tingling pains. It is an excellent remedy for wrist rheumatism. There is tearing pain in the loins. Swelling of the joints from least fatigue that gets worse by motion. Weakness after talking or eating.
It acts well on the periosteum and cartilages with the spine and limbs feeling bruised. Lower part of the body feels very weak. There is pain in the neck, back and loins that gets better from pressure and from lying on the back. Pain is worse in the morning before getting up. Pain in thighs on stretching them. Great restlessness of joints.
It is especially suited to rheumatic complaints due to cold, damp weather, aggravated by every cold change and slightly relieved by movement. There is pain in the shin bones, rheumatism that alternates with diarrhea and rheumatic complaints after acute skin eruptions. B Jain’s Omeo Arthritis Syrup is a perfect blend of the best of Homeopathic remedies for arthritis. It is also available in Sugar free version.
It is a very useful remedy for stiffness in joints along with fever. Limbs feel lame and weak along with tingling. Shifting pains that get worse at night. Helps in cases of inflammation of the great toe and gout of the heel. Cannot bear to have the foot touched or moved. Difficulty in walking with swelling and colds of legs and feet.
These are some of the most wonderful homoeopathic medicines, however, it is to be remembered that they should always be taken under the guidance of a Homeopathic Physician.
Dr. Priyanka Motwani
Dr. Priyanka Motwani has completed her BHMS from the prestigious Nehru Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital, Delhi and holds a Post Graduate Program in Lean Six Sigma from Isenberg School of Management, The University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is currently the R&D Head at BJain Pharmaceuticals and has a zeal to learn more and more each day.