A BSc dissertation – 2010
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.
Following gallbladder removal surgery (cholecystectomy) for many people a radical change in diet may become necessary, at least for some time.
Simply put, the gallbladder is a storage container for bile that is produced in the liver. Bile is a sap of digestive juices. These juices are needed to break up fats contained in foods that are ingested with meals, such that they can be absorbed in the digestive tract.
When the gallbladder is removed, most frequently due to complaints associated with the production of gall-stones that accumulated in the gallbladder, hearty and fatty meals may cause gastric/digestive complaints.
The gallbladder is a storage container for the bile juices, and depending on how fatty the ingested food is, the gallbladder will excrete more or less bile to aid the digestion of such foods.
With the gallbladder removed this ‘container’ for collecting bile is missing, and the bile juices cannot be excreted anymore on demand, but dripple through the bile duct continuously, into the small intestine. It does this permanently with more or less the same amount and there is no possibility to excrete more at a given moment, when for example a fatty meal is being ingested. Hence the digestion will be more difficult, will take longer and may cause digestive discomforts such as diarrhea, constipation, nausea, bloating, heartburn, dyspepsia, Roemheld syndrome, and even IBS .
For some people these symptoms post-cholecystectomy are severe. The time for the body to adapt to a digestion without the availability of bile juices on demand as needed, can vary. For some people associated complaints can last up to one year after their gallbladder as been removed and some people have to permanently change their eating/dietary habits.
Changes to how and what is ingested can ease symptoms and even can avoid them entirely.
As the bile juices are needed particularly for the break down of fats in food, the reduction of fat intake is one of the first steps to consider right from the gallbladder removal surgery.
- Avoid or drastically reduce fat intake, particularly in the time right after the cholecystectomy. Fatty foods are generally all foods containing high amounts of fats as in butter, oils, grease, lard, gravy. Foods that are fried or processed. The latter are often high in fats and hence without necessarily being fried in fats/oils, may have high amounts of fatty ingredients. Such foods, high in fat, include fatty meat (bacon, chicken skin etc.), dairy products high in fat (cream, ice cream etc.) and processed foods such as pizza, pastries, cookies, fast food etc.
- Avoid foods that bloat and are spicy. These foods can irritate the digestive tract and can symptoms of nausea, pain etc. Focus on eating foods that are easily digested such as lean meat (turkey, chicken, lean beef or pork), fish, steamed vegetables (leafy green vegetable), rather than fried, and take it slow with re-introducing foods that are hard to digest such as nuts, whole grains, cabbage, cereals, beans, lentils etc.
- Increase fibre intake by adding flax seed, chia or psyllium husk to your diet. Avoid high fibre vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower, these promote bloating and hence may promote gastric discomfort.
- The time for adaptation of the digestive system may be lengthy, as mentioned above, therefore keeping a journal with information on what is well digested and what not, may help navigate through this time and will assist at managing the dietary changes. A journal may also be helpful when foods are gradually re-introduced back into the diet.
- Of great impact on the digestion post gall bladder removal is changing the quantity of food that is ingested at meal times. It is very helpful eating smaller portions more frequently throughout the day, rather than sticking to two or three major meal times. Splitting meal times into 5 to 6 smaller ones allows the smaller quantities of food be broken down by the reduced amount of bile juice that is available.
If symptoms are severe and persistent, if abdominal swelling, a high frequency of vomiting or even fever appears, or if there is jaundice, a noticeable yellowing of the eyes or skin, then immediate clarification should be sought by a healthcare provider.
One major remedy for the effects of sports-injuries or such afflictions caused by physical activity, external, or mechanical impact is Arnica. Trauma, bruises, or strains caused by heavy lifting, falling, or shock; concussion, contusion, sprains, or dislocation belong to this group. Hematoma, haemorrhage and wound healing, over-exertion and delayed-onset-muscle-soreness are also indicated symptoms, and Arnica has marked characteristics that match such affections.
One principal aspect pertaining to Arnica is the sensation of pain that feels as if beaten and bruised. The aggravation of Arnica symptoms occurs due to talking, blowing the nose, touch, jolting, movement and slightest noise. The Patient generally feels worse in the evening or at night. Humid cold disagrees with this patient. There may be fainting following a mechanical impact or injuries and there is a generalized decline of strength and fatigue, a battered feeling throughout the body. The entire body may feel painfully oversensitive. There is a general restlessness. The patient may be fearful and irritable.
There may be the sensation of heat and burning in the head with coldness of the body. The Arnica face may have pronounced redness, burning, heat, shining swelling and hardness of just one cheek. While the head and face are heated or hot, the body is cold. Arnica easily suffers of nose-bleed.
Where there is inflammation Arnica is indicated for over-sensitiveness experienced in the entire body, a feeling of being battered, pain, general restlessness, irritability and fear.
The sore excoriation of skin, swelling that is hot, hard and red, as well as frostbites react to Arnica. Joints feel as though they are sprained. Strains and Sprains show redness, pain and restricted mobility, and there may be swelling and heat of the affected part (also Rhus toxicodendron). Hematoma of the skin may be of discoloration red, bluish, yellow, green or black. For wound healing Calendula may be indicated besides Arnica. Topical applications of Arnica are indicated for localised injuries, scalds and burns, incisions, lacerations fractures and bruises and muscle soreness.
In concussion of the brain, the pain in the head is concentrated over one eye, and there may be vomiting that is greenish in colour. If in such cases Arnica fails, Cicuta virosa may benefit the patient.
Back pain or straining of the back, or of the chest and loins may feel bruised or as of a dislocation. In injuries to the chest Arnica in alternation with Aconitum may be serviceable. There may be a sensation of rawness, and weakness of the muscles in the neck that cannot support the head sufficiently causing it to fall backwards.
The extremities may have symptoms of pain that feel as of a dislocation or as from great fatigue. Stiffness of the limbs, weariness and muscular jerking may be present after physical exertion. There is great soreness that may be paired with the acute sensation of tension and stretching in the lower limbs. The affected area, legs and feet, or joints may have a crawling or tingling sensation, or a prickling feeling from without inward. In the upper limbs, the joints, wrists, hands and arms may feel sore, as if sprained or dislocated, with a tingling sensation, pins and needles.
In the knee there may be tension pain, as of a contraction of the tendons, and failing strength in the knee-joint when walking, almost paralytic (also in the hip). The knee may be pale and swollen. Movement aggravates the pain. If the big toe is affected, it may be painful, hot, hard and swollen, leaving the skin shining.
In contusions there is a battered feeling, which may be paired with restlessness in contortion and sprain. Besides Arnica, Helianthus anuus may be of use in contusion. In dislocation and luxation there may be violent pains, swelling, and impaired mobility where the extremity is deformed or has an altered direction, here Aconitum may follow Arnica for relief pain. In tennis elbow Arnica is indicated, as well as Ruta. In fractures, Arnica may be followed by Symphytum and Ruta to promote healing of the broken bone.
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Injuries to the skin, where the damage is only superficial, can come from cuts, abrasions or chafing. While cuts are usually a direct impact to the skin, abrasions and chafing are a form of dermal inflammation.
Where skins injuries occur, abrasions, excoriations and chafing do not damage the skin deeper than the upper layer, the epidermis of the skin. Cuts may be deeper, penetrating into the deeper layers of the skin.
Superficial cuts and excoriations, depending on their severity, can cause redness, pain, itching or burning. In severer cases these wounds can bleed and may cause scarring when healing.
In avoidance of infection, the acute conventional treatment of such superficial skin injuries is to clean the wound, dry it and bandage it after the application of a topical anti-inflammatory product.
In order to clean the wound, a non-alcoholic calendula tincture can be used. Calendula is known to inhibit the bacterial growth in the affected area and has wound healing properties.
Topically- in the form of a cream, Calendula aids the recovery of wounds.
Internal administration of homeopathic remedies can be used to assist the healing process.
Calendula acts as a general wound healing remedy.
Hypericum can be used where the injury is a laceration wound and the nerve is affected.
Ledum is a remedy for punctured wounds.
Where inflammation has progressed, symptoms as heat in the affected area, redness, swelling and pain may occur. In such cases Hepar sulphuricum any Pyrogenicum may be remedies to consider.