Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
RA is an autoimmune disease that results in a chronic,systemic inflammatory disorder. Many tissues and organs in the body can be affected. The disease principally attacks the synovial lining of jointsIt may develop into a disabling and painful condition, which can lead to substantial loss of functioning and mobility if not adequately treated. It is a chronic disease, characterized by periods of disease flares and remissions. It can affect people of all ages. The ‘ rheumatoid factor is an antibody that can be found in the blood of 80% of people with rheumatoid arthritis.
Signs & symptoms
RA typically manifests with signs of inflammation; the affected joints become swollen, warm, painful and stiff. Symptoms can also develop after prolonged inactivity. One of the prominent features of the disease is an increased stiffness in the body that is often experienced by the patient early in the morning or on waking. This stiffness can last for more than an hour. In rheumatoid arthritis, multiple joints are usually, but not always, affected in a symmetrical pattern.
Constitutional symptoms include fatigue, low grade fever,malaise, morning stiffness and loss of appetite. Weight loss can also be a problem for the patient. The above symptoms are common systemic manifestations seen in patients with active RA.
A 51-yr-old female received a consultation at the clinic at ‘The Other Song’ by Dr. Shekhar Algundi, a homoeopathic consultant in December 2012. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Her main complaints were pain with stiffness in the joints and muscles. She also complained of acidity & sinusitis.
The illness was having a major effect on her day to day activities such as combing her hair and brushing her teeth. She was unable to perform simple chores in the house. There was great restriction in her movement and she needed to depend on others to complete daily errands such as shopping and visits to her doctor. She lost the confidence in travelling by train. For her there was a fear about whether she would be able to get inside the train as her body had restricted movement. Ascending and descending a staircase also created difficulty for her.
She was also experiencing perimenopausal symptoms such as hot flushes followed by profuse perspiration. For the patient these two symptoms created a feeling of exhaustion. In homoeopathic practice it is important to enquire into all the aspects of a patient’s life. In this way the practitioner is able to come to an understanding of the commonality of symptoms. This commonality should of course include the patient’s chief complaint. On the completion of the case taking a homoeopathic remedy is then selected based on the common thread.
The main effect of the RA on our patient was that she was not able to do her work and lacked strength. She had little confidence when leaving the house and thought that she may fall. The patient was afraid that she would become handicapped and dependant on others. Her thoughts dwelt on the possibility that there will be no one to look after her, and that she will be all alone. The patient’s aunty who also has RA is totally bed ridden. The patient’s thoughts go to this situation and she is anxious that she will end up like this.
Her main anxiety in fact started when her parents became sick which was 8 yrs back. She was all alone in that situation and needed to look after them: at that time she felt that it was her duty and responsibility. There was another situation where she felt responsible for the care of a aunt. After her aunt’s death, she was falsely accused by her relatives concerning a financial issue. These were some of the triggering factor for her illness.
On the basis of the patient’s history, the contributing factors and the pathology of the disease itself a homoeopathic remedy was selected. The remedy covered the entire totality of the patient.
In 1 ½ years her progress was closely monitored both clinically and symptomatically. Investigations were carried out at regular intervals. There was progressive decrease in the RA factor.
Follow up after 6 months:
The patient was much improved in terms of her joint pains and range of movement. The tendency to stiffness was less noticeable to her. There was a marked improvement in the right hand and small joints of the body. However a slight pain in her elbow remained.
The sinus problem disappeared within 6 months of initiation of treatment.More specifically the swelling in the elbows had decreased and stiffness in her fingers was no longer present. Overall the progress in the lower limbs had shown improvement and there was a reduction of the pain levels.
The patient seemed to have recovered from her earlier symptoms such as acidity.. She started to experience sound sleep at night.
She continues to feel the heat in the body which is followed by profuse perspiration, but the degree of exhaustion post the episode is less according to the patient.
Psychologically she began feeling much more calm and relaxed: her anger and irritability decreased. Generally her stamina and strength have been restored and she performs tasks with much more ease and comfort.
She feels that her health and wellbeing have improved overall by 70%.
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