Rheumatoid arthritis and arthritis are among the most typical chronic ailments and, with an aging population, have become even more common. Strictly speaking, arthritis means disease of the joints, while rheumatoid arthritis is the disease of the soft connective tissues that support the movement of joints. The difference is often artificial since most disorders affect joints and connective tissues.
Osteoarthritis, the commonest of those illnesses, is the ultimate “wear and tear” of the cartilage of joints. The condition’s origin is the wearing out of the cartilage layer of a joint, the hard, smooth “gristle,” which allows the tips of a bone to glide smoothly over each other and absorb shocks. A joint becomes rigid, hurts, and may squeak as it is moved.
While cartilage is wearing down, the tips of bones on either side of a joint may respond by growing small bony outgrowths known as osteophytes. One of the sites at which these bony nodes can be easily diagnosed without an X-ray is the last joint of the toes and fingers. Spondylosis is a similar condition that affects the spine, but the main problem with spinal spondylosis is the degeneration of the discs between every two vertebras.
As one would expect with a degenerative condition, the prevalence of osteoarthritis increases with age; it affects nine percent of the total population but around 70 percent of the over-70s. It is the most common of all rheumatological illnesses, and indeed the commonest of all chronic ailments, because countless sufferers live with it for an extended period of time. Not surprisingly, it tends to affect weight-bearing joints (e.g., lower back, hips, and knees). Joint injuries or overuse (for instance, heavy physical work or professional sports) increase the development of osteoarthritis well into life. Obesity and being overweight are other critical factors.
The other two main groups of arthritis and rheumatism are inflammatory arthritis, the most ordinary form of rheumatoid arthritis, and soft tissue rheumatism. Rheumatoid arthritis affects approximately 1 percent of the population; for unknown reasons, it is almost three times more common in females than males. Its etiology, as well, remains disappointingly obscure. It tends to start at a younger age than osteoarthritis (typically between 30 and 55) and is more destructive; about 30-35 percent of victims of this medical condition become seriously incapacitated within ten years of illness. Rheumatoid arthritis primarily affects small joints of the hands and feet, leading to a typical hand deformity, but it can distress virtually any joint. Numerous other forms of inflammatory arthritis are related to different forms of bacterial infections.
The last group is real rheumatism, disturbing the soft connective tissues rather than the cartilage and bones of joints. There are numerous forms, some with picturesque names. This group includes arthropathy, which affects the points at which tendons are linked to bones (the most well-known conditions are tennis elbow, which affects the outer part of the elbow, and golfer’s elbow, which upsets the inner part).
Capsulitis is the inflammation of the capsule’s tissues surrounding the joint (usually, capsulitis affects shoulder joints and is well-known as a stiff “frozen” shoulder). Some other diagnoses are reserved for bursitis (inflammation of a bursa, a softening pad that partly covers a majority of joints). Bursitis diagnoses include Housemaid’s Knee, Clergyman’s Knee, which starts due to extensive kneeling, and Weaver’s Bottom. Weaver’s Bottom came to medicine. This form of arthritis commonly affected weavers who shuffled up and down long benches to tend their looms!
Another prevalent form of soft tissue joint destruction, however, is fibromyalgia, formerly known as fibrosis. Fibromyalgia is found in about 2 percent of the population, and this medical condition victimizes women much more often than men. Fibromyalgia is a controversial disorder; some scientists are confident that fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME) are variations of the same illness. The typical complaints of fibromyalgia are severe, extensive musculoskeletal pain and aches at several locations. Other symptoms of fibromyalgia, such as migraines, vertigo, and irritable bowel syndrome, are frequently present, along with insomnia and extreme fatigue.
There are many conventional issues with the current pharmaceutical treatment of arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. For example, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia on the odd occasion, if ever, destroyed anyone’s life, but a group of medications over and over again used for the treatment of these medical conditions, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs) containing aspirin, Ibuprofen, or Voltaren, among many others, undoubtedly has. More than 11,000 clinic admissions and 1,000 deaths are due to the use of these medications every year in England. Even though the new generation of NSAIDs is less toxic, they have only overvalued pain relievers that don’t affect the disease.
The homeopathic approach to the treatment of different forms of arthritis
While healing somebody who suffers from arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis using the philosophy and methodology of homeopathy, just as for any other medical condition, I always try to see the patient as an extensive system in which all parts are connected and can’t function independently. In homeopathic practice, a holistic approach to the patient means discovering, first of all:
- What exactly is the problem?
- Discomfort, stiffness, pain, sleep disturbance, limitation of particular activities,
- Where are the symptoms?
- How long has it been a problem, and what has evolved? By using the term “evolution” in this case, I mean the development process of the ailment. At which part of the body does it start, and what has happened after that—has the pain changed location? If so, is there any specific pattern? Does it come and go? What is triggering the symptoms?
- The modalities: By the term “modalities” in homeopathy, we mean any event or a factor that makes the symptoms worse or better; for example, a hot or cold shower, tying up the painful area or supporting it, the weather, time, humidity, different food ingredients, etc.
- The homeopathic history of the present illness. Patients often don’t see any link between the events in their life and disease, especially if the event was severe chronic stress and the disease was arthritis. For example, this 42-year-old lady came to my office with extra-articular manifestations of chronic arthritis. To my question about whether something triggered this deterioration of her condition, she replied that she believes not. But after I asked about her social experience, it turned out that this woman had been through a messy divorce with her husband, including a court hearing for custody of the kids, which she won in the long run. Her sickness begins on the day of the end of the trial. I was astonished that she did not find any links.
- “Mentals” and “Generals.” The “mentals” comprise how the patient responds to and handles (or fails to handle) the problems. The “generals” describe a person’s preferences:
- How he or she reacts to a cold… Does it feel like it is excessive?
- What does he or she prefer? Morning or evening?
- What is the patient’s favorite food or ingredient (salt, honey, sweets, milk, eggs, etc.), and which food will he or she never eat?
- Patients evaluation… Full-body evaluation is not just a form of decent medicinal practice in homeopathy. The evaluation gives essential hints about potential homeopathic management. For example, hot, swollen joints would make me think about Apis or Bryonia. However, stiff and constricted joints speak in favor of Rhus, Causticum, or Formica.
The following homeopathic remedies commonly used for rheumatoid arthritis are:
- Calcarea carbonica is used for arthritis that leads to the development of bulges and knots in the affected joints, along with symptoms that exacerbate during humid weather.
- Arnica: This homeopathic medicine is used to heal symptoms of chronic rheumatoid arthritis when a patient is experiencing soreness regularly. These symptoms tend to aggravate with a touch of the affected joints.
- Bryonia: for those patients who suffer from throbbing pain in joints, Bryonia is the remedy of choice—patients whose condition requires Bryonia report that the pain tends to worsen during cold weather.
- Calcarea Fluorica: If applying hot packs reduces joint pain, Calcarea Fluorica is the best choice. Patients’ complaints usually include inflammation and edema of joints and the development of bulges. Calcarea fluorica is especially effective if arthritis advances after a trauma.
- Kali carbonicum: For enormously rigid joints and exasperating pains early in the morning, Kali carbonicum is the best remedy, especially if the pain and stiffness worsen in wet and cold weather (rainy fall days).
- Pulsatilla: Pulsatilla joints’ pain changes location from one joint to another. There are increases in warm and hot conditions but improvements in cold and cold applications.
- Rhododendron: Rhododendron is recommended if arthritis symptoms aggravate in cold conditions. Generally, the pain increases during the early morning hours or if you stay stationary for a long time.
The Philadelphia Homeopathic Clinic can help you cope with the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
If you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or any other form of arthritis, visit our “book appointment” page or contact us at (267) 403-3085 to schedule your first visit to the Philadelphia Homeopathic Clinic. Dr. Tsan will examine you and propose the best treatment approach for your medical condition.