What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is termed as inflammation of the joint which is often associated with pain, stiffness and limitation of movement of affected joint. There are various forms of arthritis like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis; gout etc. pain is the most common feature of osteoarthritis. Joints, muscles, ligament, cartilage and tendons are mainly affected in this kind of disorder.
Osteoarthritis is a disease of both articular cartilage and subchondral bone. The disease is characterized by progressive degradation of the components of extracellular matrix of the articular cartilage associated with secondary inflammation factors and increased bone turnover and repair.
Causes of arthritis
- Injury – can damage to bone, ligament and cartilage that ultimately leads to severe pain.
- Infection – Any kind of infection to the joint may result osteoarthritis.
- Obesity and advanced age – Both are very common cause of osteoarthritis.
- Overuse – Overuse of knee joint can cause bursitis which ultimately leads to intense pain.
- Sprain- Due to sudden unnatural movements causes pain as well as restriction of movement of the joint.
- Malignancy – Myeloma, metastatic carcinoma.
- Dislocation – Also causes severe arthritis.
- Other causes – Include Sarcoidosis, Sickle cell disease, Lupus, Kawasaki disease, Crohn’s disease, bone tumors, bleeding disorders etc.
Osteoarthritis is characterized by gradual development of joint pain, stiffness, limitation of movement and swelling, which may be caused by synovitis with effusion or from osteophyte formation. The bony enlargement that accompanies osteophyte formation may lead to joint deformity.
Generalized osteoarthritis refers to involvement of at least three joints or group of joints (e.g. interphalangeal joints). There are two types nodal and non-nodal – the nodal type, features heberden’s nodes of the interphalangeal joints, predominates in women and exhibits a strong tendency to familial transmission.
Hands – limitation of activity that requires dexterity (e.g. dressing, feeding) are affected.
Hip disease – first sign is usually pain or restriction of internal rotation followed by pain on flexion.
Knee – tibiofemoral arthritis is usually bilateral and associated with early morning stiffness and pain on weight bearing particularly on stairs. Night pain is a sign of severe disease. In elderly patients, knee effusions and crepitus are common.
- Complete physical examination – Include inspection of affected joint, movement, stiffness, tenderness, swelling and other important findings.
- Microscopic examination – Of joint fluid.
- X-ray knee – To diagnose fracture.
- MRI – to detect ligament rupture and other conditions
- MANTOUX TEST – To diagnose tuberculosis
- Blood tests – Include complete blood count, coagulation test, and blood culture.
- Urine test – Mainly for blood, sugar and protein etc.
Treatment of osteoarthritis
Homeopathic treatment of osteoarthritis – Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat osteoarthritis but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several well-proved remedies are available for osteoarthritis which can be selected on the basis of cause, location, sensation, modalities and extension of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. Some important arthritis remedies are given below which are much helpful in treatment of osteoarthritis:
- Bryonia Alba. – Excellent remedy which is useful in treatment of osteoarthritis, pain with inflammation which is aggravated by movement and relieved by moderate pressure and rest. There is inflammation of joints which are hot and swollen. The patient feels chilly.
- Ledum pal. – Remarkable remedy helpful in treatment of osteoarthritis, gout and rheumatism which is of ascending nature, better by cold application, there is deposition of chalk stones in finger joints, wrists and toes. Irritable patient with desire to be alone. Pain may be caused by alcoholism, insect stings, and punctured wound. Pain worse by warm applications.
- Rhus Tox. – Recurring attacks due to getting chilled when hot. Rheumatism caused by damp weather and worse in damp climate; there is restlessness and the pains are worse on first motion, better by continued motion and again worse after moving for sometime when it becomes necessary for him to repose.
- Colchicum – A general remedy for gout. There may be aversion to food which smells as soon as served. Swelling of joints which may be red or pale. Abdomen bloated with wind. Albumin in urine which becomes black like ink, scanty urine with dropsical swelling, marked irritability from pains or odors. Worse by motion, touch or mental effort. Better by warmth, rest or sitting. Gout and rheumatism in smokers.
- Kalmia lot. – One can not forget this remedy for osteoarthritis, rheumatism when affection travels down wards with numbness. Pain with palpitation of heart and slow pulse. Pains shift rapidly pain in ulner nerve.
- Guaiacum. – Rheumatic and gout engrafted on syphilitic or tubercular constitutions. Sore swollen joints more painful from warmth and motion. Gouty abscesses of joints. The leg and ankle bones are especially affected shooting pain in legs from feet to knees. Pains in tibia. Better by cold bath and cold application.
- Formic Acid and Formica – gouty and rheumatic pains due to urates and albumin in urine. Inflammation of joints which are very painful. They are worse on motion, by cold or before storm; better on pressure.
- Lithium Carb – chronic rheumatism due to uric acid. Palpitation and shocks about the heart the heart. Painfulness of the soles of feet and small joints with a sense of burning therein.
- Kali Carb – pains stitching, stabbing and burning character relieved temporarily by cold application and not by rest or motion. The patient shrieks on account of pain. Backache accompanied by great weakness and profuse sweating. If he covers the painful part, the pain goes to the un-covered part. Aggravation after eating and uncovering.
- Sticta Pulmonaria – rheumatism of right shoulder blade or joint, wrist joint, ankle joint and knee joint. It also reduces fluid in the joints.
- Berberis Vulg. – pain in heels relieved by putting most of the weight on them. Arthritic and rheumatic affection if attended by renal sticking pain and backache.
- Chelidonium – rheumatism with edema, heat, tenderness and stiffness. Constipation and whitish stools. Pain is aggravated by slightest movement or touch. The only relief is constant bathing with hot water.
- Ferrum Pic – rheumatism increased or brought on by walking.
- Lactic Acid – osteoarthritis with diabetes.
- Lycopodium – especially used for the cases of osteoarthritis which are presents with liver disturbances and flatulence.
- Asclepius Tub – Acts well in cases of osteoarthritis when pains run diagonally.
- Calcaria Carb. – Arthritic swelling, knee pain especially in fleshy people which is worse by cold.
- Hypericum. – Remarkable arthritis remedy for rheumatoid arthritis has outstanding action over nerve pain.
- Phytolacca – chronic bruised state of body, bone pain, body aches, pain in joints, worse at night, from warm application. He wants cold things, rheumatism of joints with enlargement of parotid and sub-maxillary glands. Pain in the cardiac region shooting in to right arm.
- Natrum sulph – when rheumatism is due to uric acid in urine accompanied with gastric troubles.
- Benzoic acid - pains in uraemic and lithaemic constitutions. When the urine is scanty the patient suffer more whereas it is heavily laden with deposits and is copious, the pains are relieved. The urine in such a state of a hoarse. Checking of these deposits aggravates the pain. The urine contains uric acid forming the red deposits. The pain cease on catching cold and the inflammation of tongue and stomach starts. In the latter case the patient vomits everything he eats. The suppressed pains go to the stomach.
- Oxalic acid – left sided rheumatism with sharp pains through the lower lobe of the left lung which is noteworthy of this remedy. Rheumatic gout of joints, especially worse from sweats. It may have disordered stomach, salivation, tasteless eructations, burning in stomach etc. pain under point of scapula, between shoulders, extending downwards to small of back. Violent aching pain back down the thigh relieved by change of position.
- Camphor – pains are felt during a half conscious condition and disappear when thinking of them.
Allopathic treatment – Include analgesics, NSAIDs, muscular relaxants. Surgery is applicable in some specific cases.
Other natural and alternative modes of treatment – Include Physiotherapy, Ayurveda, Acupuncture, massage, yoga, acupressure