A chronic systemic disease characterised by inflammatory changes in joints & related structures that results in crippling deformities. Diseases primarily affecting the synovium & adjacent tissues.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic systemic inflammatory disorder that may affect many tissues and organs, but principally attacks the joints producing a inflammatory synovitis that often progresses to destruction of the articular cartilage and ankylosis of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can also produce diffuse inflammation in the lungs, pericardium, pleura, and sclera, and also nodular lesions, most common in subcutaneous tissue under the skin. Although the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is unknown, autoimmunity plays a pivotal role in its chronicity and progression.
Cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis:
– Exact cause is not known.
– Evidence points to autoimmune etiology.
– Genetic predisposition common.
– Precipitating factors:
â€¢ Physical or emotional stress.
â€¢ After childbirth (remission during pregnancy)
– Hormonal disturbance:
– Age: 20 – 45 years
– Sex: common in females.
Pathogenesis: Joint deformity occurs in RA because the cartilage & then the bone is eroded by the proliferative synovial tissue. This process leads to increased laxity of ligaments around the joints, subluxation of tendons & subsequently of joints & inflammation of many other tissues in the body.
Clinical features of Rheumatoid Arthritis
– Joint stiffness more marked in morning.
– Pain in joints
– Limitation of movement of joints.
– Night sweats.
– Loss of grip strength.
– Weight loss.
– Joint deformities.
– Joints involved:
â€¢ Small joints.
â€¢ Bilaterally symmetrical.
â€¢ Joints swollen, hot & tender.
â€¢ Limitation of movements.
– Subcutaneous rheumatoid nodules present on extensor surfaces.
– Muscle wasting above & below affected joints.
– Ulnar deviation of wrist.
– Swan neck deformity of fingers.
– Boutonniere deformity of fingers.
– Z-thumb deformity.
– Tender prominent metatarsal heads with secondary corns.
– Lateral deviation & over-riding of toes with pressure sores.
– Baker’s cyst: – Herniation of synovial cavity into back of knee causing pain & tenderness of calf.
Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis
1) X-Ray joint.
2) Synovial biopsy.
4) Synovial fluid analysis.
5) Rheumatoid factor.
Complications of Rheumatoid Arthritis
– Subluxation of atlanto-axial joint.
– Carpal tunnel syndrome.
– Fibrosing alveolitis.
– Sjogren’s syndrome.
– Septic arthritis.
Management of Rheumatoid Arthritis
– Bed rest.
– Well balanced, high protein, easily digestible diet.
– Local rest to joints with splints (to prevent deformity)
– Physiotherapy to avoid contractures.
– Local infra-red radiation or short wave diathermy for relaxation of muscles & relief of pain.
Homeopathic Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Homeopathy treats the person as a whole. It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The homeopathic medicines are selected after a full individualizing examination and case-analysis, which includes the medical history of the patient, physical and mental constitution etc. A miasmatic tendency (predisposition/susceptibility) is also often taken into account for the treatment of chronic conditions. The medicines given below indicate the therapeutic affinity but this is not a complete and definite guide to the treatment of this condition. The symptoms listed against each medicine may not be directly related to this disease because in homeopathy general symptoms and constitutional indications are also taken into account for selecting a remedy. To study any of the following remedies in more detail, please visit our Materia Medica section. None of these medicines should be taken without professional advice.
Repertory – Synthesis
Rubrics – â€¢ Extremities-pain-joints-rheumatism
â€¢ Generals-inflammation-joints of
Sudden onset after exposure to cold dry air. Pains, with formication and numbness.
Rheumatic inflammation of joints; pains intolerable. Intense bright-red swelling of parts. Sensitive to contact. High fever. Worse at night. With the rheumatism anxiety, fear, restlessness is well marked in aconite. Arthritic and rheumatic drawing and tearing pains, especially in the limbs. Acute and violent pulling in the joints and the bones, mitigated by the heat of a bed. Contraction of the tendons, and stiffness in the flexor muscles of the limbs. Cramp-like contraction of several limbs.
Aconite is generally indicated in acute or recent cases occurring in young persons, especially girls of a full, plethoric habit who lead a sedentary life; persons easily affected by atmospheric changes; dark hair and eyes, rigid muscular fibre.
Acute drawing pains in the arms and in the hands. Swelling of the arms, with blackish pustules of a putrid smell. Acute drawing pains in the night, beginning from the elbow and extending to the armpits acute pulling and shooting in the wrists. Cramps in the fingers. At night, sensation of fullness and swelling in the palms of the hands. Excoriation between fingers. Hard swelling of the fingers, with pain in the finger-bones. Cramp in the legs. Acute drawing pains in the hips, extending to the groins, the thighs, and sometimes even to the ankle-bones, with uneasiness, which obliges one to move the limb constantly. Tearing and stinging in the hips, legs, and loins. Tearing in the tibia. Rheumatic pain in the legs, and especially in the tibia. Paralytic weakness of the thigh. Pain, as from a bruise in the joint of the knee. Affections of the shin-bones. Fatigue in the legs and in the feet. Pains in the fleshy part of the toes, as if they were galled by walking.
Great Prostration, with rapid sinking of the vital forces; fainting. The disposition is:
a. Depression, melancholy, despairing, indifferent.
b. Anxious, fearful, restless, full of anguish.
c. Irritable, sensitive, peevish, easily vexed.
The greater the suffering the greater the anguish, restlessness and fear of death. Mentally restless, but physically too weak to move. Indicated by its periodicity and time aggravation: after mid-night, and from 1-2 a.m. And by its intense restlessness, mental and physical: its anxiety and prostration.
Joints swollen, red, hot, shining. Exquisitely sensitive to touch or jar. Red streaks radiate from inflamed joint. Recurrent fever with pains attacking nape of neck.
Pains in the joints and bones. Rheumatic pains (in the joints) flying from one place to another. The pains are aggravated, chiefly at night, and in the afternoon towards three or four o’clock. The least touch, and sometimes also the slightest movement, aggravates the sufferings. Some of the symptoms are aggravated, or make their appearance after sleep. Jerking in the limbs, muscular palpitations and shocks of the tendons. St.Vitus dance. Sensation in the muscles, as if a mouse were running over
them. Cramp, spasms, and convulsive movements, with violent contortion of the limbs, convulsive fits, with cries, and loss of consciousness, epileptic convulsions, drawing back of the thumbs. Renewal of the spasms by the least contact, or from the glare of light. Burning in the inner parts. Attacks of immobility and of spasmodic stiffness of the body, or of some of the limbs, sometimes with insensibility, swelling of the veins, bloatedness and redness of the face, pulse full and quick, with copious sweat. Spasms in single limbs, or of the whole body, in children, during dentition.
Adapted to bilious, lymphatic, plethoric constitutions; persons who are lively and entertaining when well, but violent and often delirious when sick.
Over-sensitiveness of the senses to external impressions. Rheumatic and gouty pains in the limbs, with tension, worse from motion and contact. Tension, drawing pains, acute pullings and shootings, especially in the limbs, and chiefly during movement, with insupportable pains on being touched, sweat of the part affected, and trembling of that part when the pains diminish. Stiffness and shootings in the joints, on being touched and when moved. In the evening, pain, as from fatigue, in the limbs, with paralytic weakness. Torpor and numbness of the limbs, with stiffness and pain of fatigue. Pale, tense, hot, swelling. Red, shining swelling of some parts of the body, with shooting during movement. Pain, as from a bruise, or of subcutaneous ulceration, or as if the flesh were detached from the bones. Dragging, with pressure, on the periosteum.
It is best adapted to persons of a gouty or rheumatic diathesis; prone to so-called bilious attacks. Bryonia patients are irritable, inclined to be vehement and angry; dark or black hair, dark complexions, firm muscular fibre; dry nervous, slender people.
A “worse cold, dry weather” remedy. Acute articular rheumatism; swelling; tension.
Worse slightest movement. Wants to lie still. White tongue; dry, dark, hard stools.
Thirsty for large drinks. Perspiration relieves. The characteristic pains of Bryonia are stitching. Affects especially synovial membranes (joints, pleura, pericardium, meninges). Local inflammation violent, parts very hot.
Arthritic and rheumatic drawing and tearing pains, especially in the limbs. Acute and violent pulling in the joints and the bones, mitigated by the heat of a bed. Contraction of the tendons, and stiffness in the flexor muscles of the limbs. Cramp-like Contraction of several limbs. Torpor and paleness of some parts, or of the entire left side of the body. From cold dry weather. Better wet weather: warm wet. Burning pain in joints. Rheumatism of articulation of jaws. Stiffness, hips, back; rises with difficulty.
Adapted to persons with dark hair and rigid fibre; weakly, psoric, with excessively yellow, sallow complexion; subject to affections of respiratory and urinary tracts.