Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints. This condition can also affect the tissues surrounding the joints (muscles, tendons, ligaments) as well as other organs of the body (skin, blood vessels, heart, lungs and muscles).
RA is a chronic condition and it tends to last for many years though there are periods in between when the patient is without any symptom. RA is a progressive condition and over a period of time, it causes joint destruction and functional disability.
Scientists largely believe that the tendency to develop rheumatoid arthritis may be genetically inherited. It is also suspected that certain infections or factors in the environment might trigger the immune system to attack the body’s own tissues (Autoimmune response), resulting in inflammation.
In any case, the autoimmune response causes chronic inflammation of the joints, that later progresses to joint destruction. Stress can act a predisposing factor as well as a trigger to induce acute episodes of the condition.
The disease is three times more common in women as compared to men. It afflicts people of all races equally. The disease can begin at any age, but peak incidence is seen between 40 to 60 years of age.
The course of RA varies from patient to patient. There are stages when the disease is active and this is called a Flare-up. In between the flare-ups are episodes when the patient is absolutely free from symptoms, such periods are called Remissions.
- Common symptoms during the active stage of RA are as follows:
- Joint swelling, redness and tenderness
- Joint stiffness
- Limited range of motion of joints
- Deformities of hands and feet (at later stages)
- Muscular pains
- Loss of appetite
- Usually multiple joints are affected at one time (polyarthritis)
- Symmetrical affection of joints is common
- Small joints of hands and feet; elbows, ankles are commonly involved
- Skin redness or inflammation
- Round, painless nodules under the skin
- Inflammation of the lung (pleurisy)
- Swollen glands
Diagnosis of RA:
Following are the common tests done to diagnose RA:
- RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis) factor
- X-ray of the joint
- ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate)
- C-Reactive proteins (CRP)
- CBC (Complete blood count)
RA being a constitutional disease that is auto immune in nature, calls for constitutional medication. Homeopathy offers excellent treatment for the cases of RA, especially for those who have not developed joint deformities. The pain control is very effective with homeopathy and this is without any side effects whatsoever. The treatment can also have a role to play in controlling the progress of the condition to some extent and in delaying the onset of complications. Homeopathy is very strongly suggested for all cases of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Homeopathic Remedies for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis being an auto-immune, constitutional disease, where inner, immunological system which is governed by multiple factors such as genetic, environmental, stress, etc. is at fault. That means, that the medicine selected for such a disease needs to be deep acting, and based on individual patient’s broader understanding. Homeopathic medicines are not selected on the basis of just the name of the disease or some symptoms, but on the basis of internal, disease state.
Some of over 30 medicines often indicated for the cases of RA can be described as under, for the sake of giving an idea of the medicine selection.
Natrum Muriaticum: This medicine is suitable to those patients who may have developed Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) after prolonged stress in the form of grief, which could be in the form of death of some dear one; or after breaking a relationship. It is the emotional trauma that leads to disturbance of immune system, in turn, leading to the disease like RA.
The person requiring Natrum Muriaticum may be reserved, less expressive, emotionally governed, with the tendency to get hurt, habit of brooding over past unpleasant events as if they just happened. Such patients may have associated headache with sensitive to sunlight.
Calcaria fluoride: This medicine works for those patients of arthritis who tend to have large or medium joint affections such as knee joint, spine or shoulders. These patients will have more pain on waking up in the morning or while getting up from a sitting position and they feel better after walking for some time. The joint pains are better by hot application. At the level of emotions, these patients are likely to tough, strong willed, who might look stiff and at times rude. They do not give up easily.
Actea spicata: This plant remedy is useful especially for those cases of RA who has small joints affected, especially fingers and toes.
Rhus toxicodendron: This is over-the-counter medicine useful for all forms of arthritis, where pain in any joint is worse with initial movements such as getting up from bed or chair, and better by continuous movements.
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