There are a variety of conditions of the joints that fall into the category ‘arthritis’. Actually there are over 100 types identified today. The label as such therefore refers to inflammatory processes of one or more joints, however the causes of these can be manifold. These can be an infection, a metabolic disorder, a disease, a hereditary defect or an auto-immune response of the immune system.
The inflammation of an arthritic condition is typically characterized by pain, tenderness, stiffness, heat, weakness, and swelling at the affected joint or joints. The symptoms may fluctuate in intensity, may come and go, but are progressive with the condition becoming worse over time. The damage of arthritis may be permanent resulting in limited mobility, hence restricting everyday life.
Arthritis may affect children and adults alike, and may occur in men and women without restriction.
The most common forms of arthritis are:
Degenerative Arthritis – Osteoarthritis: This is an inflammation caused by overuse of the affected joint. It is the natural wear and tear of the cartilage, the protective layer covering the bones of the joint. It diminishes with age, leaving the bones unprotected. This happens when stress has been exerted on a joint such as from an injury or from bearing a weight, as in long standing obesity for example. This form of arthritis commonly occurs in the spine, hips, knees, but also in the finger joints.
Inflammatory Arthritis – Rheumatoid Arthritis: This is an autoimmune disorder. The normally protective immune system of the body hereby mistakenly attacks the own system. The joints are hereby greatly affected with erosion and deformity occurring in the joints. This form of arthritis may also affect the skin and diverse internal organs of the body, such as the heart, lungs, kidneys, nerves and eyes.
Metabolic Arthritis – Gouty Arthritis (Gout) : An excess of uric acid is to blame for this form of arthritis. Here inflammation is caused by crystalline deposits of uric acid in the affected joint. Commonly only one joint is affected.
Infectious Arthritis: A fungus, virus or bacteria triggers this joint inflammation. It is known to be caused by a contamination, or an infection elsewhere in the body that spreads to the site of the joint, causing the characteristic inflammation there. Even food poisoning and sexually transmitted diseases can be the origin of an infectious arthritis.
The treatment of arthritis depends on the form of arthritis the sufferer is complaining of. And while there may be physical therapies to retain mobility of an affected joint, the conventional treatment principally focuses on alleviating pain and reducing inflammation. However some forms of arthritis, and the degree of progression, may require surgery to alleviate the suffering.
Homeopathy has diverse remedies at its disposal to alleviate the symptomatology of arthritic conditions. This requires the appraisal of a thorough case-history of the sufferer to identify the most specific prescription for the individual patient.
Remedies with indications for arthritic symptomatology include:
Apis, Benzoicum acidum, Belladonna, Bryonia, Calcarea carbonica, Cardiospermum, Caulophyllum, Colchicum, Dulcamara, Guaiacum, Harpagophytom, Hypericum, Kalmia, Kalium bichromicum, Ledum, Pulsatilla, Rhododendron, Rhus toxicodendron, Ruta, Sticta.