Arthritis is caused by a variety of factors. The individual’s immune system will try to fight it, in order to heal itself. However, when arthritis becomes a chronic condition, it will have reached the stage when it is no longer able to do so.
Conventional medicine (ConMed) has little to offer arthritis sufferers other than temporary pain relief that does not get to the cause of the pain. The NHS admit this when it says:
"There is no cure for arthritis but there are a number of treatments that can help slow down the condition’s progress".
As a result, patients will too often find that in time they are taking ever-stronger pain killers, for limited and temporary relief. And most likely suffering from all the attendant adverse reactions, and Disease-Inducing-Effects (DIEs) of long-term drug taking.
Indeed, ConMed drugs may well be a major contributing cause of the epidemic levels of arthritis we are now suffering (see the 'Creation of Illness').
Homeopathy, in contrast, seeks to aid and support the body’s own defences, and to stimulate a person's own healing abilities. This more natural approach can be very effective. It can be helpful in relieving the pain and stiffness associated with the condition, and has more to offer in terms of long-term treatment. Nor are we so concerned with the many types of arthritis and rheumatism that are diagnosed now, like osteo-arthritis, rheumatoid –arthritis, bursitis, fibromyalgia, polymyalgia and so on. In homeopathy we focus on individual symptoms, which vary greatly, rather than a named or diagnosed condition
There are several homeopathic remedies that can treat arthritis effectively, and some of these are listed below. Self-treatment is possible, and there are some ‘broad formula’ products for arthritis (available at stores like Boots, and Holland and Barratts). But these are generally effective only for treating acute bouts of pain rather than the underlying cause of the disease.
But with such a difficult, and varied disease, professional homeopathic treatment is usually required, especially if the condition is becoming long-term, and if you are looking for deeper, longer-lasting relief from the pain (see this website for a list of professional homeopaths in Britain).
Arnica: Chronic arthritis with a feeling of bruising and soreness. The painful parts feel worse from being moved or touched. (Herbal Arnica gels and ointments may also help to soothe arthritic pain when applied externally to areas of inflammation and soreness)
Aurum met: Wandering pains in the muscles and joints that are better from motion and warmth, and worse at night. Deep pain may be felt in the limbs when the person tries to sleep, or discomfort may wake the person up. People who need this remedy are often serious and focused on work or career, with a tendency to feel depressed.
Bryonia: This remedy can be helpful for stiffness and inflammation with tearing or throbbing pain, made worse by even the smallest motion. The condition may have developed gradually, and is worse in cold dry weather. Discomfort is aggravated by being touched or bumped, or from any movement. Pressure brings relief (if it stabilises the area) and improvement also comes from rest. The person may want to move, but has to stay completely still and not be interfered with.
Calcarea carbonica: This remedy may be useful for deeply aching arthritis involving node formation around the joints. Inflammation and soreness are worse from cold and dampness, and problems may be focused on the knees and hands. Weakness in the muscles, easy fatigue from exertion, and a feeling of chilliness or sluggishness are common. A person who needs Calcarea is often solid and responsible, but tends to become extremely anxious and overwhelmed when ill or overworked.
Causticum: This remedy may be indicated when deformities develop in the joints, in a person with a tendency toward tendon problems, muscle weakness, and contractures. The hands and fingers may be most affected, although other joints can also be involved. Stiffness and pain are worse from being cold, and relief may come with warmth. A person who needs this remedy often feels best in rainy weather and worse when the days are clear and dry.
Calcarea fluorica: This remedy is often indicated when arthritic pains improve with heat and motion. Joints become enlarged and hard, and nodes or deformities develop. Arthritis after chronic injury to joints also responds to Calcarea fluorica.
Dulcamara: If arthritis flares up during cold damp weather, or after the person gets chilled and wet, this remedy may be indicated. People needing Dulcamara are often stout, with a tendency toward back pain, chronic stiffness in the muscles, and allergies.
Kali birch: When this remedy is indicated, arthritic pains may alternate with asthma or stomach symptoms. Pains may suddenly come and go, or shift around. Discomfort and inflammation are aggravated by heat, and worse when the weather is warm.
Kali carb: Arthritis with great stiffness and stitching pains, worse in the early morning hours and worse from cold and dampness, may respond to this remedy—especially if joints are becoming thickened or deformed. People who need this remedy often have a rigid moral code, and tend to feel anxiety in the stomach.
Kalmia: Intense arthritic pain that flares up suddenly may responds to this remedy—especially when problems start in higher joints and extend to lower ones. Pain and inflammation may begin in the elbows, spreading downward to the wrists and hands. Discomfort is worse from motion and often worse at night.
Ledum: Arthritis that starts in lower joints and extends to higher ones may respond to this remedy. Pain and inflammation often begin in the toes and spread upward to the ankles and knees. The joints may also make cracking sounds. Ledum is strongly indicated when swelling is significant and relieved by cold applications.
Pulsatilla: If the arthritis pain is changeable in quality, or flare-ups move from place to place, and gentle motions relieves the pain, this remedy may be useful. The symptoms (and the person) feel worse from warmth, and better from fresh air and cold applications. People who need this remedy usually are emotional and affectionate, sometimes having tearful moods.
Rhododendron: This remedy is strongly indicated if swelling and soreness flare up before a storm, and continues until the weather clears. Cold and dampness aggravate the symptoms. Discomfort is often worse toward early morning, or after staying still too long. The person feels better from warmth and gentle motion, and also after eating.
Rhus tox: arthritis, with pain and stiffness that is worse in the morning and worse on first motion, but better from continued movement, may be helped with this remedy. Hot baths or showers, and warm applications improve the stiffness and relieve the pain. The condition is worse in cold, wet weather. The person may feel extremely restless, unable to find a comfortable position, and need to keep moving constantly. Continued motion also helps to relieve anxiety.
Ruta grav: arthritis with a feeling of great stiffness and lameness, worse from cold and damp and worse from exertion, may be helped with this remedy. Tendons and capsules of the joints can be deeply affected or damaged. The arthritis may have developed after overuse, or from repeated wear and tear.
There are many other remedies, and as always with homeopathy, it is important to match the right remedy with the right person.