What is Rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder affecting many joints, including those in the hands and feet. This is a condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints.
The hands, feet and wrists are commonly affected, but it can also affect other parts of the body usually eyes, heart, and lungs.
Mostly it affects the ages of 40 and 50 years and more common in women than men (for unknown reasons).
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis –
- Most commonly, the wrist and hands are involved, with the same joints typically involved on both sides of the body.
- Warm, swollen, and painful joints
- Pain and stiffness often worsen following rest.
- The symptoms can develop suddenly or gradually.
- It may affect any joint even the small joints of the hands and feet also get affected.
- Fever & low energy levels
- Pain & Stiffness – A throbbing pain accompanied by stiffness which often worse in the morning and after some inactivity.
- In the case of Osteoarthritis, the pain usually goes away in 30 minutes after waking up. But the pain in Rheumatoid Arthritis lasts for a longer time.
- Swelling, warmth, and redness of the joint affected.
- Rheumatoid nodules also may develop under the skin of the affected joints.
- Apart from these symptoms there are other general symptoms such as tiredness and lack of energy, fever, low appetite, decreased weight, etc.
- Dry eyes & chest pain if the eyes and heart are affected.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This means a disease in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells. In this case, the immune system attacks the cells lining the joint making them painful, swollen, and stiff.
As time passes, this can damage the joints, bones nearby, and the cartilages.
The triggering factors for this condition may be genetic, systemic, emotional, physical and environmental. If you are a woman, you have a family history or if you smoke, you are at an increased risk.
Normally, the immune system makes antibodies to fight against bacteria and viruses, to lower down the infection.
But in the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints by sending antibodies.
This causes thinning in the layer of cells i.e. synovium which covers the joints. Due to this the joints to become sore and inflamed.
Afterwards, this synovium gets thickened and damages the nearby bones, cartilages, tendons, and ligaments.
If not treated early, the joint loses its shape and integration which can destroy the joint completely.
Risk factors –
- Hereditary – rheumatoid arthritis can run in families.
- Sex – it is more common in women than in men. This may be due to the hormone ‘estrogen’ that is found at higher levels in women.
- Addictions – it is found that smokers and drinkers are at an increased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Complications of rheumatoid arthritis –
Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to many other conditions that may sometimes be life-threatening.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Inflammation of the lungs may cause pleurisy or pulmonary fibrosis, resulting in chest pain, a persistent cough and shortness of breath.
- Inflammation of the tissue around the heart can cause pericarditis, which causes chest pain.
- Dry eyes, due to Sjogren’s syndrome or eye redness and pain due to scleritis.
- Vasculitis i.e. inflammation of the blood vessels.
- Along with RA other diseases such as SLE, Psoriatic arthritis, and fibromyalgia may also present similarly.
Diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis –
Diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis in early stages is of immense importance. It helps to stop the condition from getting worse and avoid further complications.
Rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose because many conditions cause joint stiffness and inflammation and there is no definitive test for the condition.
Diagnosis depends upon following factors –
Physical examination & the symptoms
Blood tests – there are no definite tests for rheumatoid arthritis, but some tests can help in diagnosis, such as ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate), CRP (C-reactive protein), Hemoglobin level, RA factor, etc.
Joint imaging – X-rays, MRI, USG of the affected joints.
Management and life-style changes –
- Exercise regularly to maintain muscles strength and overall physical function of the body
- Take lots of whole grains, green vegetables, fruits, and fish oil in your diet
- Consume fewer dairy products
- Cut down your sugar intake
- Avoid alcohol & smoking
- Cook food with Olive oil as it is better for your heart and may block inflammation
- Get enough Calcium and Vitamin D supplements to avoid rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis
- Vitamin supplements including Vitamin B6, B12, C, D, E, Magnesium, Selenium, Zinc, etc
- Supportive treatments – such as Physiotherapy, Occupational therapy, Acupuncture, Massage, Surgery (arthroscopy, joint replacement, tendon release, etc.)
Homeopathic Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis –
There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. But Homeopathy can treat this condition as it treats the ‘cause’ of the disease, rather than the disease.
Homeopathy thinks rheumatoid arthritis not just as a disease but an underlying disturbance. Homeopathy understands the person suffering from the disease, and helps to deal with the disease in a better way.
Homeopathic medicines are safe, natural and free from any harmful side effects.
Homeopathic medicines treat the root cause of the disease and control the condition getting worse to avoid further complications.
I always suggest starting homeopathy as the first line of treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. Don’t wait for your symptoms to become chronic, consult an expert homeopath to avoid complications.
Homeopathic medicines reduce the inflammation, moderating the immune system.
Here are some homeopathic medicines for rheumatoid arthritis –
The patient cannot walk erect on account of pain. There is sprained and dislocated feeling in the affected joints with great fear of being touched. Arnica is useful in rheumatoid arthritis with bruised and soreness of the joints. It is aggravated by touch and movement of the joints.
The pain is of stitching, tearing type which gets worse by motion, better by rest. Every pain is greatly aggravated by motion.
It is used in stiff and painful joints, especially knees. Joints are red, swollen, hot, worse by motion.
The condition develops gradually and is worse in dry winter days. Rest and pressure give relief in the pain.
Calcarea carb –
It is indicated in persons who are of scrofulous type, fair, fat, and flabby. There is aggravation from cold and working in water. Inflammation and soreness of the joints due to cold and dampness, especially the knees and hands.
There may be arthritic nodules in the affected joint. Weakness in the muscles, fatigue, sluggishness in motion and chilliness are some common symptoms of calcarea carb.
It is mainly indicated in chronic cases of arthritis. There are tearing, drawing pains in muscles and fibrous tissues. Deformities in joints also present with loss of muscular power and contracture of tendons.
The pain and stiffness are worse from cold and relieved by warmth. There is aggravation in clear and dry weather, which gets better on rainy days.
Calcarea fluor –
There is ganglia or encysted tumour formation at the back of the wrist. It is also indicated in bursitis, chronic synovitis especially of the knee joint. Also useful in hip joint diseases.
Gouty enlargements of the joints of the fingers. The arthritic pains are better with heat and motion and worse by cold. Joints become enlarged and hard, and nodes or deformities develop.
This medicine is suited to persons who are prone to rheumatic affections after exposure to cold and damp weather. There is stiffness, numbness, soreness and aching pain in joints.
Rheumatic complaints alternate with diarrhoea or skin eruptions. Complaints worse after sitting on cold, damp ground and better by motion, warmth and dry weather.
They are often stout, with a tendency toward back pain, chronic stiffness in the muscles, and allergies.
Ledum palustre –
It is known as rheumatic remedy as it affects the fibrous tissues of the joints especially the small joints. The complaints usually start in the lower part of the body which ascends upwards.
Pain and swelling in legs with sore heels. Soles are so painful that the patient can hardly walk on them. Symptoms aggravated by warmth, motion and better by cold.
Drawing, tensive pain in limbs with restlessness, numbness, and sleeplessness. Pain is of shifting nature. Pain in hip joints with swollen knee joints.
Symptoms worse by heat, warm room, evening and better by motion, cold application, open air.
Rhus tox –
Rhus tox mainly affects fibrous tissue, joints, tendons, sheaths-aponeurosis, producing pain and stiffness. Pain and stiffness in the joints that worsen in the morning after waking up, and gets better by continued motion. Warm application and hot baths often improve the pain and stiffness.
Well known remedy for rheumatic complaints in the cold season. The symptoms get worse in cold, wet weather.
Ruta graveolens –
Acts upon the periosteum and cartilages, and eyes. There is pain and stiffness in wrists and hands. Great restlessness with pain in legs, ankles.
Arthritis with a feeling of great stiffness and lameness, worse from cold and damp and worse from exertion. Tendons and capsules of the joints can be deeply affected or damaged. Arthritis may have developed after overuse, from repeated wear and tear of the joints.
Other medicines used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis are –
Aconite, Apis mel, Belladonna, Calc phos, Caulophyllum, Kali bich, Kali carb, Rhododendron, Klamia latifolia, Lycopodium, Nux vomica, Nitric acid, and many more.
“I believe that human health is a precious thing which may not be compromised at any cost. That’s why I strongly believe in Homeopathy, because it is so natural and NO harming side effects at all”.