Arthritis means the inflammation of one or more joints. Both small and large joints can be affected. It is a painful and immobilizing disease and can occur in males and females of all ages, particularly adults, but rarely in the children. It is not true that arthritis can occur in elderly persons only.
Causes of Arthritis
Researchers have been searching for the cause of arthritis for decades but the exact cause of arthritis still remains unknown. There are many different views about it but three theories about the cause are frequently talked about. These are:
- Genetic or hereditary factors. It is likely that genetic variations can contribute but it not necessary that the cause will always have a link to genetics. Exactly how much these contribute to the cause of arthritis is not clearly known.
- Immune system abnormalities or autoimmune disease. This is understood to be more likely cause of arthritis but what exactly is it, is not known or specified.
- A persistent or triggering infection. Like the previous two, this cause is also a supposition. With so much advancement of medical science, this infection if it does exist, remains unknown.
- Association with a particular disease. In certain cases, arthritis may be associated with a particular disease. For example, arthritis associated with psoriasis is called psoriatic arthritis.
One opinion about the cause of arthritis is that it occurs due to localized dryness in the joints that reduces their natural flexibility. It happens due to persistent use of incorrect diet. Once the flexibility reduces or in other words, when rigidity occurs, friction inside the joints increases during movement. As a result, the movements of the joints become painful.
Symptoms of Arthritis
There are many signs and symptoms of arthritis, which may vary from person to person but rigidity of joints and painful movement is common in nearly all the cases.
- Pain in joints, which can be worse while at rest, worse on continued motion or beginning of motion.
- Reduced flexibility or in other words rigidity of joints. In certain cases, rigidity and/or pain may be felt only on beginning of the motion for short while.
- Stiffness, which is more pronounced on waking in the morning or after sitting in one posture for some time.
- Limitation of movement, which is partial rigidity of joints
- Swelling of joints
- Redness of some or all the joints
- Warmth in few or all the joints
- Deformation of some or all the joints
- Weakness of joints
- Cracking sounds felt on movement of the joints
- Increase of pain during weather changes. Cold and dry weather is generally more troublesome.
These are common signs and symptoms associated with arthritis but all of these are not present in all the cases even if the disease is highly advanced. Some sufferers may have even additional symptoms. Arthritis is slow in development and usually starts with mild discomfort in the movement of joints. If the disease remains untreated for longer time, it is likely to aggravate making the movement more painful and difficult.
Types of Arthritis
There are many types of arthritis (nearly 100 or so) but Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis and Gouty arthritis (referred to as Gout) are more common. Causes, symptoms and treatment of each type are different. Psoriatic arthritis (or psoriasis arthritis) occurs in patients of psoriasis of long standing.
Is Arthritis Curable?
According to Orthodox Medical System, “Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease and is said to have no known cure. It is to be managed medically, socially and emotionally. The patient and his family are to be educated about the nature and course of the disease. Main aim of the treatment (whatever that is) is to reduce the pain and discomfort, prevent deformities and loss of joint function and maintain a productive and active life.”
Nearly same is the situation for psoriatic arthritis and osteoarthritis. They are not considered curable.
Homeopathic Treatment for Arthritis
Homeopathy does not consider arthritis as incurable and does not treat by the name of the disease either. There are a number of homeopathic medicines to treat different conditions of arthritis but there is no magic medicine that would work for every type and in every condition. The medicines would differ according to individual symptoms. Homeopathic system needs to take the case in detail covering all types of symptoms for selection of medicines most suitable for the case, which automatically takes care of the underlying cause. In very advanced cases however, the treatment becomes slower.
Arthritis needs careful management. Along with medication, due attention must also be paid to the diet. This is very important. If this factor is ignored, the treatment would become exceedingly difficult even with accurately chosen medicines. Whichever treatment system you choose, you must ask your physician for details on what to take and what to avoid. This factor alone would gradually give some relief but still you must follow the advice of your physician.