Arthritis and Homoeopathy

Arthritis and Homoeopathy
by

Dr. Sujit Chatterjee
Senior Consultant and Faculty, the other song

A 37-year- old man was first brought to me in the year 1997 having being diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis and his HLA B 27 was positive (Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) B 27- it is strongly associated with Ankylosing Spondylitis and other associated inflammatory diseases referred to “spondyloarthropathies”) and he was on allopathic medicine, Salizopyrizine, twice a day . Four people had to carry him lifted to my clinic on the second floor, as he could not climb stairs at all. He complained of swelling and immobility of the right knee and left ankle joint. He had pain which would increase by least change of position and which was more especially during monsoon season. On exploring  different areas of his life, what came up was that he had suffered a great financial crisis in his business some years ago. He would continuously receive phone calls for repayment of the loan he had taken from the bank and  was scared of being beaten up by the recovery agent. He would wake up in the middle of the night with a strong fear, that the bank people may take away everything from him including his house.  He was very sensitive to criticism made by others and had a great  fear of disasters and earthquakes along with fear of disease. He craved for meat, fish, and eggs and disliked milk. He had repeated dreams of dead bodies and dead people. He also had a strong fear of losing family members like father and elder brother. The patient  was very anxious about his health.  The major stress in his life was the financial crisis that he was going through and the main feeling was want of money and security. He did not like playing sports as a child. Considering all the above history he was given a homoeopathic remedy Calcarea carbonicum 200, which exactly characterized the exact state of complaints physically and mentally. The result was that, there was a rapid improvement in his condition and after a month of starting the treatment, he came walking to my clinic. The allopathic medications including steroids were gradually tapered down and stopped completely in about 4 months of starting the treatment.. He stopped taking treatment after six years as he had no complaints. However, he came back to me in 2012 with severe pain in the hip and the knee joints and amazingly he again gave the same symptoms and characteristics though which I realized that he again needed the same medicine, only in a different scale of dispensing. He complained of getting dreams of dogs which he had fear of,  and got dreams of taking loans which  frightened him a lot. He was given Calcarea carb again and the pains reduced quite significantly in a short while. This is just one of the cases, where Homoeopathy, brings about excellent results. It not only gives a quick relief in signs and symptoms of the person, but also helps restore mobility, making patient independent once again.

Here, another of my cases comes to my mind.  A 21-year- old girl, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, first consulted me in 2011. Her ANA and Anti-dsDNA tests (they are a group of anti-nuclear antibodies, which help in the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis) were negative. Her MRI reports showed- 1) Multiple small nodules in the brain with disc enhancing lesion in the bilateral cerebral hemispheres and corpus callosum. A small ring enhancing lesion is seen in the right corona radiata, along with possibility of demyelination and left optic neuritis. 2) Cervico-dorsal spine with contact showing multiple small hypo intense nodular enhancing lesions in spinal cord, in cervico-dorsal region, with possibility of demyelination. This young girl complained of sparkling before the eyes on the affected side. She complained of difficulty in distinguishing colors and weakness of vision. She had  numbness in the fingers and feet along

with severe stiffness of legs and difficulty in walking. When asked about her life, she said that she had a hectic schedule at her work place. One of her main concerns was the need to improve at work. She had lots of stress at work. She complained of feeling suffocation in closed spaces and was very particular about her surrounding very clean and tidy. She said that it was very important that she have a goo image among others. She had dreams of falling and that she was naked and someone was trying to catch her and that she was running very fast to escape. She even spoke about her past birth experience. During the second interview she spoke about being very sensitive towards the children on the street begging for money and shefelt like adopting them since their mothers left them and went away. Such issues of mother-child issue affected her very strongly. She was very sensitive to child labour also. She felt they were being exploited. Since the mother left them, they have to work. She had a strong feeling of loneliness. She saw a
dream where she was running very fast, so that nobody would be able to see her. In her past birth experience, she spoke about freedom, no restrictions, no obstacles, no rules or regulations and no domination. She loved animals especially monkeys. What she liked about them was the mother- child love and that, how from a huge crowd the mother recognizes her child. She appeared to be very sensitive towards the separation of a mother and child. She had strong aversion towards milk.  Considering her condition of multiple sclerosis and her sensitivity towards separation of mother and child, she was given a homoeopathic remedy whose energy and symptoms matched with the patient.. There was a significant improvement in her condition within two months of treatment. Her vision improved considerably. The numbness and stiffness of fingers and legs improved gradually. On her follow up visit she said that  about dreams of travelling..

Here,  we saw an example of a pathological case, being efficiently treated by Homoeopathy without any side – effects. Long – standing pathological conditions, which otherwise have a very limited scope in other treatment sciences, find an easy cure in Homoeopathy. For this a Homoeopath, has to skillfully elicit from the patient, what is the exact nature of his complaint, what increases or decreases it and other minutest and most specific details regarding it. These help to select a probable medicine for a person, but the precise medicine can be selected only when the Homoeopath, explores different areas of a person’s life and sees what is affecting him the most, the pattern that runs through his life, his sensitivity to various things and his outlook towards life and disease. This helps us to ‘individualize’ a person, as in find out that medicine, whose symptom presentation will exactly match the patient’s signs and symptoms. The medicine thus selected, will benefit the person the most, acting rapidly and gently, not only taking care of signs and symptoms but bringing about an overall improvement to a person’s life.

I consulted a 42-year- old man in September 2011. He was diagnosed as having Myositis (for a condition where there is  inflammation of the muscles).  His investigation reports were as follows- Electroneurograph- shown right 5 th  lumbar and 1 st  sacral radiculopathy. MRI reports shown-diffuse hyperintensity in the right calf predominantly in soleus muscles, suggestive of Myositis. MRI- LS spine shown posterior bulge at L3-L4, minimally indenting the thecal sac. His fasting blood glucose level was 176mm/dl. He had complaints of swelling and stiffness in the calf muscles with difficulty in walking and climbing. He was unable to even stand properly. He also complained of pain in the right knee which was worse on climbing stairs. His complaints were better by massaging and by applying pressure on the affected part. On looking at the other aspects of the case, I understood that this man was going through a lot of stress as regards to the  relations in his family. He had even taken loan from the bank which he had to pay back soon. He had lost his father at a tender age of sixteen years, due to which the entire family suffered financially. Along with this he had even lost the comfort and support that was provided to him by his father. He occasionally gets dreams in which he sees his father and grandmother who are dead. His major fear was that he should always be available for his children since they are also dependent on him like he was on is father. He loved being appreciated and this went back right to his childhood, where he always felt that his elder brother was more appreciated and preferred than he was.  Taking all these factors in to consideration, he was given a remedy from
the mineral kingdom,  Calcarea sulph, which matches his whole state and his complaints. . In the next follow up visit, his knee pains had got aggravated. He had lots of anticipation due to bomb blasts that occurred during that time. He would sleep on his abdomen which would give him relief. This further added to my understanding of the history that he had narrated earlier and accordingly, I prescribed a remedy which then covered his state most accurately. The remedy worked wonders for him and the pain in calf muscles improved significantly. The patient was 80 percent better in the next few days. Gradually all the pain and stiffness settled down.

Thus within a Homoeopath, is a constant quest to understand the patient and his complaints better. Often with some patients, the understanding may not be perfect in the first interview itself and the Homoeopath is constantly striving to elicit from the patient, something about him, something very peculiar which will set him aside from all other people suffering from the same condition diagnostically. It really helps if the patient himself makes an astute observation about his complaints and narrates them to his doctor in his subsequent visits. It builds on to the doctor’s understanding and also brings about awareness in the patient about himself.

Homoeopathic science is very easy and simple to understand. The cure that takes place after administration of the appropriate homoeopathic medicine  is very gentle and without any adverse effects. The medical treatment offered by the allopathic science is limited to steroids and painkillers in large doses, which do help to temporarily check the pain and the progress of the condition, but in most cases, when taken for a long time,  cause acidity, skin rash and kidney failure.

Most of the patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis are not only affected at the physical level but also at the emotional level. There are many day to day activities which they cannot perform since the time they are affected by arthritis. As most of the conditions act on joints and surrounding muscles, restricting the mobility and in some cases producing deformities. Many of them have a crippled feeling within them.. Homoeopathy treats the person overall, it reduces his complaints, increasing his mobility and also helps alleviate the mood and the emotional changes caused by the complaint.  In the first meeting, after a discussion of patient’s symptoms by him and his family, the homoeopath plays a role of a reassure by gently reassuring the patient by making him understand about the changes that he expects to find after the start of the treatment. He makes the patient more aware to be observant about the changes that he would expect in himself and asks him to make a careful note of them. The homoeopath, thus inadvertently during the interviews also plays the role of a facilitator to deeper awareness and acts as a counselor in subtle ways, providing a much needed catharsis for these patients.

In complaints like osteoarthritis, which is often seen in people above age 45 years, the knee joints are most commonly affected. The wearing out of this joint, with the pain, causes a great distress in patients, as knee is most important weight bearing joints of the body. Many of these patient are advised to undergo a knee replacement if they are responding to modern medicine, but quite a few are often scared of surgery. This can be prevented in many patients, if a timely diagnosis is accompanied by the early start of Homoeopathic treatment for such cases.

I had a case of a 57-year- old lady, who was in a very bad state and was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis since a long time when she approached me. The severe pain caused inability to work efficiently and one of her main fears always was that she would be abandoned by her family, unless she would be capable of working.. She felt she would be treated as a recluse. After studying her case and the various facets to her nature, she was prescribed a homoeopathic remedy from the mineral kingdom, Gallium metallicum. Within days after prescribing the above remedy her pain completely went away. The confidence level improved markedly. Her fear of being treated as a recluse too improved. The depressive state through which the patient was suffering too improved simultaneously. This is an ideal example where we see, Homoeopathy treating not only the complaint, but the person as a whole.

Some years before, I had a case of a young lady who was suffering from frozen shoulder (inflammation of the joint capsule). She came to me in a weeping profusely due to the severe pain. Her shoulder joint had become very stiff. Along with this she even complained of left sided sciatica (pain that may be caused by general compression or irritation of one of the five spinal nerve roots that give rise to each sciatic nerve. This generally causes severe pain in back radiating down to the lower limb of the same side.). At the mental level she felt very crippled due to her these physical complaints. She was prescribed a suitable homoeopathic medicine- Colocynth for her above complaints. Remarkable changes were seen both at the mind as well as at the local level.

One more case that comes to my mind is that of a middle aged lady, who was diagnosed as having Osteopenia with osteoarthritis (it is a condition where the bone mineral density is below the normal level, it makes the bones very brittle and susceptible to minor injuries). This was a very short case where we could not gather much of information from the patient. She was in great agony due to severe joint pains, and at the same time very sensitive to allopathic medicines too. On the basis of these complaints, I prescribed her a homoeopathic remedy, which helped her to a certain extent. The joint pains were still bad. I asked her to get investigated for Vitamin D3 levels which turned out to be extremely low (as is seen in most osteopenic patients).  Keeping in mind, the lowered levels which were not improving despite vitamin supplementation, I started her on Homoeopathic medicines, which are known to increase the vitamin D3 levels in the body. There was a significant improvement in pain within days after starting with the above prescribed medicines. In modern medicine there are only capsules and injections available for the same. We
also advise auxiliary measures which will help increase these vitamin levels naturally like sitting in sunlight for 15-20 minutes.

Along with the medical treatment, exercises too play a very vital role in alleviating the complaints. Exercising regularly can help reduce overall pain and inflammation. It even helps in improving the muscle strength. Exercises like asanas, yoga and free hand exercises should be practiced. Often, we advise physiotherapy to patients who have severe pain or immobility as it helps in mechanical pain reduction and helps maintain flexibility of the joint. This is advised especially in cases of early deformities and forze joint complaints.

I once saw a lady having gout, where the serum uric acid* levels too were very high. . (Serum uric acid- it is a diagnostic test for gout, which is a kind of arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in the blood and causes joint inflammation). The patient was on Allopurinol (allopathic medicine for gout) which did little for her pain, but suffered from acidity (one of the commonest side effects of allopathic medication) after starting the medicine. The most peculiar symptom in her case was that, her joint complaints alternated with skin symptoms. On the basis of this she was prescribed Urtica urens. The medicine acted like magic. All her complaints vanished, as if they were never there. She gave lots of blessings

What would occur to anyone here is why does Homoeopathy act so well in these conditions? The answer to this is simple, Homoeopathy is a system of medicine which acts on fixed principles, the foremost being ‘Similia similbus curantar’ which means that any medicine which has a capacity to produce certain effects in a healthy person can cure similar signs and symptoms when administered to a diseased person. Also, the medicines are administered in so small a dose, that all effects that they render on our body, can be only beneficial, thus treating a person gently without any side effects. And above all, Homoeopathy takes not the disease into consideration but the diseased person as a whole. Thus a well selected Homoeopathic medicine, brings about changes at all levels – physical, emotional and social. The Homoeopathic medicine improves the quality of life that a person leads, helping to channelize his energies.

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