Arthritis is the most common disorder affecting the joints of the body . there are many different kinds , but the three main varieties are rheumatoid , osteo-and gouty arthritis . the first two are by fat the most common , even now after many years of research , the actual causes of arthritis are not fully understood and cures are no more likely now than they were 50 years ago , each joint in the body is lined , with synovial membrane which produces a lubricating fluid which allows the joints to function property with little or no pain , arthritis of all kinds destroys . this process and damages the joint space , leading to bone rubbing against bone which produces the pain swelling and discomfort characteristics of the condition where as osteo arthritis is usually considered a function of” wear and tear “ and occurs as a result of increasing use and old age ,rheumatoid arthritis is a disease of the whole body and can affect other organs as well as the joints , arthritis can occur in other conditions including Reiter’s syndrome , a sexually transmitted disease ankylosing , spondylities and ulcerative colitis .
OSTEOARTHRITIS : this is a degenerative condition of the joints resulting from destruction of cartilage and synovial fluid leading to loss of space between the bones . It is a condition of old age although it can be brought about by previous injury or polio , so that the young can also suffer , it generally involves the large weight –bearing joints –the hips and knees primarily –although any joint in the body can be affected , in the spine it is the major cause of low back pain and neck ache as a result of the loss of vertebral discs that act as shock absorbers in the spinal column . it can affect the hands , particularly the joints of the thumbs . it tends not to spread from one joint to another and is more common in women than men . it is more prevalent in the obese (because weight increases pressure on the joints )and is also common in athletes who exercise regularly . joggers are more prone to arthritis of the feet . no other organs of the body are affected , although the muscles around the joints may become wasted and weak .
RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS : This is a generalized inflammatory condition affecting young adults and the middle aged . it occurs commonly in Europe and North America and in temperate climates . A special variety (stills disease ) occurs in young children . it is generally progressive and affects other parts of the body including the muscles , skin, eyes, heart and sometimes lungs , it is associated with low grade anemia and is characterized by acute episodes when the joints are swollen ,hot and painful . there is also a temperature , 20 % of sufferers only experience one episode but the majority will have relapses and remissions , the most common joints affected are those of the hands and wrists but like osteo arthritis , any joint can be involved , the actual cause is unknown but certain factors are thought to play a part , including post-viral infection and stress . An “arthritis personality “ has been identified ,this is some one who has not expressed grief in the loss of husband/wife /child or is bottling up anger . Dietary factors are also felt to be important and many alternative practitioners will pay great attention to diet .
Allergies are also common . Gouty arthritis , this form of arthritis occurs when excess uric acid is circulating in the blood which then crystallizes out into the joints . producing acutely painful and swollen hot joints , typically in the big toe , but also knees and hands , it is generally treatable and does not spread like other forms .
1.pain, stiffness and redness especially early in the morning .
2.wekness and wasting of muscles .
3.tenderness and fever .
4.coldness of hands and feet .
5.trapped nerves in osteo-arthritis can lead to tingling in hands and the condition called carpet tunnel syndrome . which causes numbness and pain in the thumb , index and middle fingers ,diagnoses is very important to help guide you in your own program , so a visit to your doctor is essential . alternative therapies have a large part to play and can help reduce the acute disease as well as prevent recurrences .
1.lose weight .
2.begin a relaxation and stress reduction program .
3.yoga and gentle exercise , including swimming will help
4.if having difficulty with emotional responses to major life events (death/divorce etc) consider seeking a counselor . diet can be of vital help .
1,reduce dairy products 2.cut out red meat and all meat if possible . 3.avoid very hot and very cold foods 4.cut out coffee and tea 5. take up herbal tea 6.reduce white flour products 7.flid fast for one day a week :avoid all solid food and drink clear liquids , such as herbal tea , water , apple juice 8/get advise on minerals and vitamin supplements 9.avoid acid fruits , including citrus fruits and tomatoes 10.take lots of vegetable juice celery ,carrot or beetroot 11.experiment with excluding wheat products from your diet.
A naturopathic therapist would explore your life style and prescribe the diet routine outlined above , a controlled fast can be of great help both in acute phase and to prevent recurrence , as can a long term balanced vegan diet , you will be advised to take up gentle stretching exercises and if your practitioner is trained in cranial osteopathy . this may well be effective.
RHEUMATISM AND ARTHRITIS
Although there are over 250 different joint disorders , homoeopathy groups them into the general classification of rheumatism because the picture of these illnesses is very similar , this section there fore contains those medicines most suited to an illness which has joints , muscle or tendon pain , usually stiffness and some times deformity of one or more joints . the most common form of rheumatism is osteoarthritis which is produced by the wear and tear that joints suffer during their use , it is over twice as common as rheumatoid arthritis where the joints become inflamed and painful , if any doubt exists over the diagnosis or treatment , a doctor should be continued , medical help may be needed to treat these conditions .
SYMPTOMS AND MEDICINES
The smaller joints , such as the hands and feet are those mainly affected . joints ache and swell and the feet are worse for walking —ACTAEA SPICATA.
affected part feels very stiff and sore to the touch . joints swell ,making the over flying skin feel stretched and tight ,swelling is pale , joints become swollen –APIS MELLIFICA
Rheumatism that comes about from exposure to damp and cold with simultaneous muscle strain affected parts feels sore and bruised –ARNICA
Cutting lightning – like pains run along joints . joints are red , shiny and swollen and pain radiates through them . For rheumatism that is often brought on by getting head and neck wet or sitting with them exposed to a draught —–BELLADONNA
Rheumatism in the smaller joints , which develop nodular swellings—BENZOIC ACID .
Acute rheumatism with hot ,shiny dark or pale red joints . For pain that is greatly aggravated by movement but that is relieved by external heat –BRYONIA ALBA
Rheumatism that comes on from working in water or damp surroundings , upper back and shoulders are the most affected areas —CALCAREA CARBONICA
Affected joints feel stiff and tight and lying on them makes them feel sore ,pain is worse from cold and is relieved by warmth ,restlessness at night ,with drawing pains in muscles ,ankles are also weak –CAUSTICUM
Severe almost intolerable pain with compulsion to get up and walk about –CHAMOMILLA
Symptoms mainly in muscles –CIMICIFUGA
Pain is worse in the evenings affected parts are swollen and dark red . disease moves from joint to joint and typically occurs in debilitated and weak persons —COLCHICUM
Rheumatism is worse in changeable weather , especially in damp cold conditions –DULCAMARA
For chronic cases with distorted and knobby joints. Joints are worse from movement and the tendons around them feel tight –GUAICUM
Pain travels upwards is worse in a warm bed ,and affects the smaller joints
Any swelling is slight for conditions where nodules form—LEDUM PAL
Relief from slow ,gentle movement –LYCOPODIUM
Rheumatism is in the right shoulder ,rheumatism is worse in bed or after walking and better from warmth—MAGNESIA CARBONICA
Pain constantly moves from joint to joint ,worse in the evening and from warmth but relieved by cold , severe pain that leads to compulsion to move about to try to relieve it indigestion is also present –PULSATILLA
Rheumatism is worse when there is a weather or temperature change rheumatism in the chest wall ,which feels bruised ,although the pain is sharp –RANUNCULUS BULBOSUS
Susceptibility to weather change , particularly cold wintry weather , chronic rheumatism affects the smaller joints , which are worse during rest , the parts involved feel weak –RHODODENDRON .
Muscle stiffness and soreness –prominent body projections are tender –pain is worse on first starting to move ,worse from sitting and rising from a sitting position .Relief from continued movement and warmth . damp weather and damp swellings aggravate the condition –RHUSTOXICONDENDRON
Soreness and lameness that is similar to a tendon sprain –rheumatism of wrists and ankles is present –RUTA GRAVEOLENS
Acute muscular rheumatism with shifting sharp, stitching pains and soreness and stiffness in muscles , especially back and neck and right shoulder –SANGUINAREA
Chronic ,often familial rheumatism ,pain is worse at night and from uncovering and is better from warmth ,ankle are also weak –SILICA
Acute and chronic rheumatism ,inflammation starts in feet ,then extends up the body . pain is worse in bed and at night ,jerking of the limbs while falling asleep –SULPHUR