Arthritis is a general term used to describe joint disease. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a type of arthritis in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the joints, causing chronic inflammation.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the joint linings (synovium) that produce fluid that lubricates the joints. This results in signs and symptoms of inflammation, swelling, and pain in and around the joints, and in some cases, a rash. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune cells attack the synovial lining of the synovial membranes surrounding the joints and cause its inflammation and thickening. It may further lead to destruction of cartilage and bone.
Homeopathy shows amazing results in mild to moderate cases of rheumatoid arthritis and different types of Arthritis. However, in severe cases of rheumatoid arthritis where advanced deformities are noticeable, homeopathy cannot reverse the pathology, but it can still help to manage the symptoms. In these cases, Homeopathic remedies for rheumatoid arthritis will help to manage pain and stiffness in the joints, but the deformities cannot be reversed.
Characteristics to help Differentiate Rheumatoid Arthritis from Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis, as explained above, is a chronic inflammatory disorder causing joint inflammation with pain, swelling and stiffness of joints. These symptoms usually begin in the small joints and can later move into the other large joints too. It tends to involve multiple joints at a time and in a symmetrical way. It is an autoimmune disorder which means that the body’s own defence cells start to destroy own healthy tissues. In rheumatoid arthritis the immune cells cause inflammation leading to destruction of the joints. It primarily affects joints but can also affect other organs like eyes, skin, lungs, heart etc. If not treated well in time, then it progresses and can cause joint deformity and lead to disability. This disease has a strong genetic basis and tends to run in families.
What are its symptoms?
Joint symptoms – The main symptoms are pain in joints, swelling in joints, stiffness of joints which mostly appear in morning and after periods of inactivity. In these, multiple joints are involved in a symmetrical manner i.e. involving the same joints on both sides of the body.
The symptoms initially start from small joints of hands or feet and may progress to other joints like wrist, elbow, shoulder, knee, hip and ankle.
The affected joint is also red, warm and tender to touch in flare up phase. Loss of joint function, mobility and deformity appear in later stages if not treated well in time. Few general signs and symptoms that may attend joint involvement include weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss, fever, muscle aches, depression and anaemia.
The diagnostic criteria for rheumatoid arthritis are as follows:
Any four among the following must be present to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis:
1.Arthritis of multiple joint (3 – 4 different joints or more than that) for a period of more than 6 weeks
2.Morning stiffness that last longer than 30 minutes
3.Symmetrical involvement of the same joints on both sides of the body
4.Arthritis of fetlock, knee, elbow or shoulder joints
5.Development of rheumatoid nodules under the skin
6.Positive serum rheumatoid factor
7.Radiographic changes suggesting joint erosion
Manifestations in body parts other than joints.
– Eyes: Here it can lead to cataract (clouding of clear lens), dry eyes and scleritis (inflammation / redness in the white part of eye)
– Lungs: Inflammation, scar tissue, fibrosis can arise in lungs
– Skin: Rheumatoid nodules can form here. These refer to hard bumps under the skin. They are not painful and move easily on being touched. They mostly form especially on the elbows. They can also form in lungs and heart in later stages.
– Kidneys: Here it may lead to amyloidosis (disease arising from build-up of an abnormal protein called amyloid in any tissue or organ).
– Heart: it can lead to inflammation of lining of heart (pericarditis), inflammation of heart muscle (myocarditis) and increase risk of cardiovascular disease (narrowing or blockage of blood vessels supplying heart that can lead to a chest
– Nerve tissue: here it can cause peripheral neuropathy (damage to the nerves outside of the brain and spinal cord that causes weakness, numbness and pain, mainly in hands and feet) and carpal tunnel syndrome (pain, numbness, tingling in fingers from compression of the median nerve).
– Blood vessels: these may get inflamed and there may be formation of atheromatous plaques (accumulation of hard material in inner layer of artery wall) which includes lipids and calcium. It tends to narrow artery and hinders in blood flow
– Blood: It may lead to anaemia here
– liver: is very rarely affected
– it can weaken the immune system and make a horse prone to infections
– on muscles it can lead to muscle weakness
– it can affect mucous membrane and lead to Sjogren’s Syndrome (syndrome mainly characterised by dry eyes and dry mouth).
What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis and what are the risk factors
The exact cause behind rheumatoid arthritis is not clearly understood. However, it is thought to be an autoimmune disease.
What triggers the autoimmune process for RA is not exactly known. But there are certain factors that increase the risk of the disease. First among them is genetic factor. Certain genes make a person or creature more prone to develop this disease. Mares and in people females are more at risk as compared to males. The middle age group are also more affected. Other factors that increase the risk include family history of this disease, stress, obesity, environmental exposures of extreme weather, history of viral infections and overexertion.
Investigations for Rheumatoid Arthritis
The blood test done in cases suspected of rheumatoid arthritis are rheumatoid factor, Anti – cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti – CCP), ESR and c – reactive protein (CRP). Other tests include X-Ray and MRI of affected joints which are done to rule out the severity of the disease.
Homeopathic treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Simple Arthritis
Arthritis as well as Rheumatoid arthritis can be addressed naturally with homeopathic medicines. These medicines help to reduce inflammation of the joints by moderating the immune system. They also help to slow down further progression of the disease. The pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints are also relieved wonderfully with them. The joint damage and joint deformity though can’t be cured but can be symptomatically managed with the use of the indicated homeopathic medicines. These medicines are of natural origin thus are safe to use among horses and people of all age groups.
There are many homeopathic remedies that are proven clinically to heal these conditions, as long as the symptoms apply, but the top most commonly used are Rhus tox, Apis mellifica, Bryonia and Colchicum.
A brief insight in these Remedies
Rhus Tox – To help relieve stiffness and pain in joints, when continued motion ameliorates. Rhus Tox helps to relieve joint pains and stiffness by reducing the joint inflammation. Horses needing it mainly have joint stiffness worse in the morning and also after a period of inactivity. Warm applications and motion of affected joint helps to relieve their symptoms. Massaging the joint may also offer some relief.
Apis Mellifica – This remedy is a well indicated for cases where the joint or joints are highly swollen. Along with this the joint might be red, and inflamed. Joint pains which are mainly burning, stinging type (in the case of humans) are also well supported with Apis. The joint because is inflamed, may also be sensitive to touch.
Bryonia is helpful for cases where joints are red, hot and swollen. With this there is pain in joints. The pains are sharp, stitching type. The pains get worse by motion and better with rest, so you will notice that the horse may be reluctant to move. Warmth may relieve the pains and normally they aggravate in the Winter.
Colchicum – Horse that have joint pain that worsens from touch can be highly benefited by this remedy. Along with this the joints feel hot and there is marked stiffness present. The joints mainly involved are the small joints. Many times, the pain is worse at night time.
Homeopathy is a complete system of medicine and the second most practiced worldwide. It reinforces the body’s own healing powers and does not suppress them in a way antibiotics and cortisone do. If correctly applied, it sets off natural healing regulatory processes in the organism that can overcome disease. Its action is therefore gentle, safe and sure. Nevertheless, to find the right homeopathic treatment you need to provide a constellation of symptoms of the present situation (e.g. fever, thirst, appetite, behavior (does he shy away, does he come to you?, what else do you notice different in his behavior?, does he look for cool shady places or does he stands in the sun, etc.) Natural treatments are holistic, so they are always tailored according to the whole picture of the patient and not so much on the name of the condition.
About the Author
PRACTICING CLASSICAL HOMEOPATH AND DOCTOR OF MICROBIOLOGY
ALEXANDRA CARNEIRO DE MELO, PhD MSc, PhD (London), DIHom (Pract), FBIH, RSHom
Education Personal Accreditations:
• BSc – Food Engineering, 1989 – Porto University, Portugal (High Class Honors)
• MSc – Food Microbiology, 1991 – University of Reading in the UK
• PhD – Applied Microbiology, 1997 – King’s College, London
• DIHom(Pract) – Diploma in Homeopathic Medicine, Practitioner Level British Institute of Homeopathy
• FBIH – Fellowship for life, British Institute of Homeopathy
• RSHom – Member of The Society of Homeopaths
As a homeopath, my ultimate goal is to help you live to your fullest capacity, where the entire spiritual, mental, emotional, social and physical being is restored to the natural state it was created in. Do get in touch when ready to begin your healing journey.