Monday, July 08, 2013

Osteoarthritis and Homoeopathy

Managing osteoarthritis homeopathically
Winter has approached. It brings along all the joint pains aggravated. It will not be a surprise for physicians to see the chronic arthritic patients making frequent visits these days. Researchers indicate that the decrease in the barometric or atmospheric air pressure during winter is the culprit for this worsened pain. Due to this reduction in pressure, tissues around the joints swell. This ultimately increases the arthritic pain. Osteoarthritis (OA), the most frequent joint disease in India, is not an exception.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease, which is sometimes also called degenerative arthrosis or osteoarthrosis. It is the most common form of arthritis mostly in obese and middle age. Menopausal women suffer more than others due to hormonal changes, especially the oestrogen deficiency, followed by the rapid reduction in bone mineral density. But it occurs more or less frequently in both sexes. The degenerative form due to age is present in almost everyone by the age 70. Modification in diet, reduction of weight in the overweight patients and a few tone-up exercises help considerably along with the medication. Weak vital force due to ageing leads to degeneration of cartilage and hypertrophy of bone at articular margins.  Hereditary, metabolic, genetic, chemical, and mechanical factors also play a role in its development. Other causes are injury and infection. There are some cases suspected due to hypersensitivity (allergies), fungal infections, etc., which need to be considered in management of the disease. This article gives an over on the disease and its general and homoeopathic management.

Signs and symptoms
The onset is insidious. Initially there is articular stiffness, later develops pain on motion of affected joint and palpable crepitus. Other symptoms like limitation of joint, mild joint effusion and mild signs of inflammation may also be noticed.

Tests and their findings in osteoarthritis
X-ray will show some indications of the condition. Loss of cartilage, subchondral sclerosis, sharpened articular margin, narrow joint space, presence of osteophytes are the impressions usually found in the radiological reports suggesting OA. RA factor will usually be negative and ESR and other blood tests will also be normal.
General management during winters
People with OA has to wear warm clothes always. Some additional items like thermal underclothes, turtleneck, hat, scarf and gloves will be helpful during peak winters. Exercises like walking and swimming, maintenance of optimum body weight, proper rest, required physiotherapy are recommended. Running on hard surfaces is to be avoided. Active people who are into heavy weights and contact sports can develop arthritis early due to the large forces that their joints are subjected to. Once it sets in, activities like squatting, kneeling and sitting cross-legged on the floor should be avoided. Experts suggest avoiding junk food and maintaining a healthy eating helps osteoarthritis patients. Diet rich in calcium, protein, vitamin D and vitamin C are always recommended by nutritionists. Though calcium may not prevent osteoarthritis, it allows the bone beneath the degenerated surface to resist deforming forces. Engaging in some sort of physical activity at least three to four times a week is helpful. This will keep the weight in check and also strengthen the muscles, which in turn helps slowing down the progression of the condition.

The joints should not be subjected to sudden jerks and physical overload. Incorrect exercises can even be worse. Care must be taken in subjecting the bones to stress. People with low bone density and those suffering from osteoporosis must be extra cautious as they have higher risks of a joint damage. They have to be advised to take necessary supplements. Sportspersons are usually suggested to wear proper joint guards such as knee pads and other joint protections even during the practice. People with OA history in their family must take extra care of their joints. Yoga can be of help for the people who cannot do hardcore gymnasium- based exercises.

Integrative approach
The concept of integrative approach is increasing. Integrative approach is managing the patient with multi-system therapies. Homoeopathy, Yoga and naturopathy, Ayurveda/Siddha, Acupuncture, physiotherapy can be combined along with occasional intervention of conventional system as and when the need arises.

Homoeopathic remedies often used for osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis with excessive pain before the swelling commences; joints stiff, swollen, with pricking sensation; wrists and ankle-joints painful, inflamed, very lame and sore.
Arnica montanna
Osteoarthritis due to injury; arthritic pain with fear of being touched; Feels bed on which he lies too hard; extreme coldness of forearm. 
Apis mellifica
Arthritis with oedema of the hands and feet without thirst with sensitiveness to touch; character of pain: burning, stringing, sore and suddenly migrating from one part to another.
Shiny, swollen joints of first stage inflammation; shooting pain shifting rapidly; affected joint is with heat, redness, throbbing and burning pain; arthritic affection with subcutaneous red streak
Benzoicum acidum
Pain with cracking sound on motion; tearing and stitching pain with redness and swelling of joints, worse at night.
Berberis vulgaris
Pain with extreme tiredness of affected joints after walking a short distance; osteoarthritis with uric acid diathesis
Bryonia alba
Stitching and tearing pain worse at night; osteoarthritic symptoms worse by motion, and better by absolute rest and lying on painful side.
Calcarea carbonica
Osteoarthritis of knee due to obesity; coldness of inflamed joint; pain after exposure to wet
Dull tearing pain in the affected joint.
Cobaltum metallicum
Pain with fatigue worse in the morning.
Colchicum autumnale
Drawing, tearing and pressing pain during beginning of winter with cold air; pain shifts from right to left; patient screams when touching the affected joint
Arthritis pain from exposure to cold, damp and rainy weather or changes in hot weather; arthritic affection alternates with diarrhoea; arthritis follows acute skin eruptions.
Affection of multiple joint and intense pain shifts from one joint or another; joints hot, red and swollen, worse form least motion.
Arthritis with drawing and tearing pains; sometimes with gastric and hepatic disorder.
Arthritic pain with sore feeling of whole body; arthritic patient with past history of suppressed venereal disease; pain especially when walking; arthritis with intense restless of legs and feet.
Pain shifts rapidly like electric shock; nature of pain is shooting, lancinating and flying to other part; pain better by stretching the limbs.
Pain with tearing and drawing pain in back muscles; pain shift rapidly with restlessness and sleeplessness; type of pain: drawing, tearing and tensive.
Osteoarthritis of acute stage; drawing and tearing pain worse at rest and in wet cold, windy weather.
Rhus toxicodendron
Arthritis after over lifting; pain on first motion and better by continued motion; complaints worse in rainy weather and affected parts sore to touch; joint pain better by motion, therefore cannot keep the extremities in one position.

No comments: