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How Homeopathy can help with Arthritis, Rheumatism and Fibromyalgia

by June Sayer(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 227 - January 2016

So many times in conversation I have heard people complaining about how the damp or cold winter months can have an affect on their arthritic, rheumatic or muscular pains; it is quite staggering to learn that over 350 million people worldwide men aged over 40, postmenopausal woman and even children are known sufferers of these somewhat debilitating conditions.

I would like to begin by taking a look at what these conditions are and then offering some suggestions of ways in which the pain can be alleviated using homeopathy and touching on some dietary recommendations.

Arthritis is derived from the word arthro meaning joint and itis meaning inflammation.

Arthritis and rheumatism are words frequently used by the general public to describe a range of their symptoms that collectively mean pain and inflammation. The medical profession on the other hand prefer to use the words osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and I will outline the differences between these two conditions.

Throughout your everyday life your joints will be exposed to low levels of wear and tear that usually your body can repair by itself so that you will not be aware of any symptoms.  The ends of your bones are lined with cartilage that acts as a cushion so that the bones within the joint are able to glide smoothly across each other. A membrane that covers the joint capsule produces synovial fluid to nourish and lubricate it, ensuring that under normal circumstances moving your joints is painless. When the membrane becomes thickened, synovial fluid builds up and this in turn causes pain and swelling.

 

June-Sayer227-Arthritis

If your body is unable to repair the damage to your joints caused by wear and tear, you may find yourself beginning to experience signs of joint tenderness, stiffness and pain; when you begin to move after resting for a while, you may hear a cracking sound in your joints or notice that the joint appears to be larger than normal and looking slightly ‘knobbly’. Once you become aware of these symptoms that may also include some malaise or feeling of being a bit off-colour, you are likely to arrange to visit your GP and upon describing your symptoms he may diagnose you with the condition known as osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis that is a chronic, progressive, degenerative disease affecting the weight-bearing joints such as hips, knees and the lumber region of the spine. It may also be brought on by an infection and tends to affect elderly people.

Your immune system functions in such a way that it protects your body from disease and infection; when things go wrong it can mistakenly attack and destroy your healthy cells and when it does, the result is described as an autoimmune disorder. Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating form of chronic arthritis, the most susceptible parts of the body being joint cartilage, fingers, wrists and knees. The synovial membrane covering the joints becomes inflamed and painful as the cartilage is destroyed, thereby producing crippling deformities. Rheumatoid arthritis is more likely to occur between the ages or 35 and 45 and affects three times as many women as men, but it can affect children and when it does it is usually severe. Early signs of this condition are fatigue, low-grade fever and anaemia and muscle aches, the joints being affected latterly.

One other distressing condition that affects up to 5% of the population is fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia means pain in the fibrous tissues of the body. This cause of this widespread musculoskeletal pain and fatigue disorder is still unknown. Previously known as muscular rheumatism or fibrositis a doctor will perform a simple examination of 18 specific points covering all four quadrants of the body to confirm the diagnosis

Discomfort is centred at the neck, shoulders and back, often accompanied by mild or severe headaches, nausea and dizziness with twitching or muscle spasm. Sufferers describe their pains as burning, stabbing or aching, joint stiffness and pain on movement. While the pain does fluctuate in its intensity, it is generally present all the time and there is a heightened sensitivity to pain where the pain lingers much longer than would be expected.

Other symptoms are foggy heads, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, digestive upsets, mood swings, clumsiness and sleep disturbances, tingling, numbness or prickling sensation in the hands and feet and females may experience menstrual discomfort.  Some of the symptoms can be likened to feeling ‘flu like’ with fatigue, loss of appetite and anaemia. Stress and changes in weather conditions can exacerbate the symptoms and due to the continued pain may make the sufferer become depressed. Regular physical exercise has been beneficial to some, while others find it aggravates their condition so it is down to you as an individual to discover just how much exercise is right for you.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms listed above then it is worth a visit to your GP to confirm a medical diagnosis or otherwise; the most likely course of action that he/she will take is to prescribe you with anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants and possibly anti-depressants or a combination of these. As with the majority of prescription medications there are certain side effects or contraindications if you are suffering with any other medical conditions.

Should you wish to take a more natural approach, then looking at your lifestyle and finding ways to reduce your stress levels through gentle exercise and/or eliminating certain foods that you may have in your diet on a regular basis can be one of the first steps to helping you reduce the severity of the pain and inflammation you are experiencing.

 

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I would begin by keeping a diary of the foods that you eat and noting down when the symptoms are better or worse, as this could be one way to identify certain foods that trigger inflammation. Eliminating or certainly reducing the amount of processed foods and those high in saturated fat that you ingest on a regular basis and replacing them with fresh home-cooked foods that include plenty of fruit and vegetables, oily fish, nuts and beans may also help. Oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, sardines and herring are high in inflammation-fighting Omega 3 fatty acids. Walnuts, pistachios, almonds and pine nuts are also beneficial; beans are loaded with fibre and are excellent source of protein.  You would be wise to avoid foods from the nightshade family such as tomatoes, red bell peppers, potatoes and eggplants as these tend to upset many people with inflammatory conditions, so it is worth experimenting to see if you do notice a difference by eliminating them.

In respect of homeopathic remedies, I have used the following remedies with a wide range of clients over the years; however I would like to stress that the conditions mentioned above are chronic and therefore would require specialist advice to ensure the correct remedy is chosen to suit your individual symptoms.

Aconitum Napellus

Where the pain comes on suddenly, particularly after sitting in an air-conditioned room or being exposed to cold, dry winds. Anxiety and restlessness accompany the pain.

Apis Mellifica

The limbs feel heavy, stiff and numb and the pains are described as throbbing, stinging and burning.  The joints appear to be swollen and the skin can look shiny. When finger joints are involved the person needing this remedy may drop things easily and they can appear hard to please and not able to concentrate.

Bryonia Alba

Sharp, tearing pains in the joints that are red, hot and swollen. Warmth makes the pains feel better. The person can be very irritable and hard to please.

Kali Carbonicum

Backache and muscular weakness and joints tend to give way and there is the need to want to lean on something for support. There are sharp aching pains in the joints and tendons and the pains are worse at night and from the cold weather.

Ledum Palustre

This is a particularly useful remedy when the rheumatic pains begin in the feet and travel upward with shifting tearing pains and the joint feels cold to the touch.

Rhus Toxicodendron

The person requiring this remedy will say that their rheumatism feels worse in the cold and the damp. The muscles and joints are stiff, but limbering up helps to relieve so long as they don’t overdo exercise.  They may appear restless but this is because stretching and gentle movement makes them feel better.

When selecting a remedy try not to handle the tablet and take two tablets for adults and one for a child. The remedy can be repeated three times a day; I would reiterate that for the chronic conditions mentioned it is wise to seek the advice from a qualified homeopath.  Homeopathic remedies are not known to interfere with any prescribed medication and please do not stop taking any prescribed medication as this should only be done with the support of a medically qualified doctor. If you are in any doubt it is always wise to consult your GP

References and Further Reading

Murphy, Robin ND. Nature’s Materia Medica 3rd Edition

Murphy, Robin ND. Homeopathic Clinical Repertory, 3rd Edition

Van Wynsberghe, Donna, Noback, Charles R, Carola, R Human Anatomy & Physiology 3rd Edition.

http://bit.ly/1NBdf2a

http://bit.ly/1Wi3wWd

http://bit.ly/1HbO3L7

http://bit.ly/1OZiNa8

http://bit.ly/1MiQLQ0

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About June Sayer

June Sayer DHom (Med) MARH MRHom DNTh DIridol Homeopath Nutritionist Reiki Master/Teacher became fascinated by homeopathy after seeking treatment for her children and herself some 23 years ago; this dramatic change in their overall health led her to train as a homoeopathic practitioner. She qualified from the Hahnemann College in 1992 and has been in practice since that date. She is one of the founding directors of the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths and has a practice in Southend on Sea, Essex where she enjoys training individuals in the art and practice of homoeopathy. She may be contacted on Tel: 01268 928223;  june@betterhealthnow.co.uk  www.betterhealthnow.co.uk   www.homeopathinessex.co.uk   

 

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