As published in the September 2007 issue of Vitality Magazine
If you’re an arthritis sufferer, take a moment and think back to when you were pain free and able to move as desired. With the use of homeopathy, returning to this healthier state is a distinct possibility. If your organism is capable of producing arthritis (or any condition for that matter) given the right conditions, it is also capable of reversing it. The body has an immense capacity for healing.
Homeopathy is a system of medicine, which taps into this capacity so as to redirect the body’s energies towards the restoration of health. Arthritis (‘arth’ meaning joint, ‘itis’ meaning inflammation) actually consists of over 100 different conditions: anything from relatively mild forms of tendonitis (aka tennis elbow) and bursitis, to crippling systemic forms such as rheumatoid arthritis. There are pain syndromes like fibromyalgia and arthritis-related disorders, an example of which is systemic lupus erythematosus, a condition that involves every part of the body. And there are also forms of the disease, such as gout, which many people don’t associate with arthritis. There are also other conditions, like osteoarthritis, that many people think is the only form of the disease. The common denominator for all these conditions is joint and musculoskeletal pain, which is why they are grouped together as ‘arthritis.’ The pain is a result of inflammation of the joint lining.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury and is involved in many forms of arthritis. The warning signs that inflammation presents are redness, swelling, heat and pain. While arthritis is regarded as a disease of the old, many children, even infants, can be afflicted.
Modern medicine looks at illness as a separate entity that attaches itself to unsuspecting victims. In this model, symptoms are seen as belonging to the disease. One gets symptoms when one has that disease. In contrast, homeopathy considers symptoms of illness as biological and psychological responses or reactions to various causative factors. From this standpoint, symptoms belong to people, not the disease. Although people have similar or typical reaction patterns, this does not mean that their illnesses are external entities. Symptoms are a natural biological response to an irritating cause (virus, bacteria, injury, physical or emotional trauma).
Symptoms also indicate the body’s attempt to cure itself. It is the central goal of every organism to survive and flourish and all symptoms produced by the body must be considered as adaptive measures, attempts to deal successfully with the causes of illness. Suppressing symptoms such as pain and inflammation (the modern medical way of treating arthritis) is disempowering to the organism. This is called palliation: the pain and inflammation are temporarily soothed, but not cured. In addition, a life-long dependency on drugs is created.
A homeopathic remedy on the other hand is carefully selected to mimic the organism – its own healing attempts/symptoms – in order to help complete the organism’s self healing attempt. The organism then becomes free of disease without the continued dependence on external agents (drugs, etc.)
Each symptom is an extremely accurate language of the body, mind and spirit and has meaning and purpose. The type of symptom expressed by an individual determines their biological and psychological type – known as “constitution”. It is based on the careful consideration of each symptom (both physical and psychological) that a homeopath arrives at the indicated remedy for each person.
Homeopathy’s foremost principle is “like cures like”. In other words, any substance that can make you ill can also cure you when taken in an infinitesimal dose. “Proving” is the name given to the method of testing substances; healthy volunteers are given repeated doses of homeopathic remedies. The symptoms they manifest during this process become part of the “remedy picture”. Each homeopathic remedy is therefore associated with many symptoms and can be viewed as a complete person with its own unique set of physical symptoms and emotional characteristics.
Here are four homeopathic remedies/personalities that are predisposed to arthritis.
Calcarea Carbonicum: This remedy has many disorders associated with calcium metabolism and is helpful in many cases of osteoarthritis. The person needing this remedy will feel increased joint pains in damp, cold weather, during change of seasons, and between midnight and the early morning hours. They can easily get into an overwhelmed mental/emotional state with many fears of financial and security issues being at the top of the list. Nightmares and sleep-walking can be a part of their constitution. Part of the overall symptom picture includes cold sweats and clammy palms. They are duty bound and can get anxious over short deadlines. Fair skinned and chronically overweight, they enjoy their leisure and physical comforts in life.
Colchicum: This is a good rheumatoid arthritis and gout remedy for shifting pains in the small joints, especially the big toe, and minimal swelling. Pains are worse from movement and touch. Electric shock-like pains are felt on one side of the body. Arthritis symptoms are usually accompanied by great fatigue and internal coldness (especially in the stomach and abdomen). People needing this remedy can have digestive problems – specifically abdominal distention and gas. They are extremely sensitive to odours and can easily become nauseous, or even faint, from the slightest smell of food. Extremely sensitive, these subjects can become very offended from the perceived misdeeds of others.
Nux Vomica: For those suffering from joint pains, especially in the knees, this is a good remedy for shooting pains that start in the toes and go up to the thigh. The knee joints can feel dry and crack during motion. In the morning hours, there may be numbness and stiffness in the arms and sudden loss of power in the arms and legs. Symptoms are better in damp weather. The person needing this remedy has a delicate digestive system. They may feel bloated for hours after a meal and are prone to nausea and vomiting. They are oversensitive to noise, lights and odours, and are ambitious, competitive, easily angered and irritated; a typical type “A” personality who thrives on all sorts of stimulants (coffee, alcohol, drugs and spices).
These are only a few of the hundreds of homeopathic remedies that can be helpful in arthritic conditions. Finding the most suitable homeopathic prescription is an intricate task and is not limited to the discovery of your arthritis symptoms. Before prescribing, a homeopath will want to explore many aspects of your physical health, medical history and psychological make-up. Some examples of what your homeopath needs to know include your body temperature, sleep patterns, dreams, appetite, digestion, thirst, desires, fears, phobias and aspirations.
In mild cases, arthritis relief can be as simple as improving your diet and exercising the affected joints. Some patients have told me that eliminating dairy products and wheat gluten relieves their arthritis pain. Other inflammatory foods to avoid are caffeine, sugar, white flour, salt, meat, soft drinks, alcohol, processed vegetable oils and all refined and processed foods. More chronic cases of arthritis may need homeopathic care. Constitutional prescribing can not only eliminate symptoms of arthritis, but will simultaneously and gradually heal other ailments and restore optimum health. Being pain-free and able to move as desired can become a reality.
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