What is arthritis?

The word “arthritis” literally means joint inflammation (“arthr-” means joint; “-itis” means inflammation). It refers to more than 100 different diseases. These diseases usually affect the area in or around joints, such as muscles and tendons. Some of these diseases can also affect other parts of the body, including the skin and internal organs. It usually causes stiffness, pain and fatigue. The most common diseases among arthritis are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout and increasingly, fibromyalgia.

Many types of arthritis show signs of joint inflammation: swelling, stiffness, tenderness, redness or warmth. These joint symptoms may be accompanied by weight loss, fever or weakness.

When these symptoms last for more than two weeks, inflammatory arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis may be the cause. Joint inflammation may also be caused by infection, which can lead to septic arthritis. Degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) is the most common type of arthritis; joint inflammation is not a prominent feature of this condition.

Arthritis is a general term for numerous conditions that affect bone joints. The disease can be genetic, something that you inherit from your parents. In other cases, it may be caused by infection, obesity, bone damage, or another disease.

More than 46 million people in the United States – and about 300 million people worldwide – suffer from pain and swelling in joints. Many people think it is a disease that older people get as their joints wear down.

It is true that the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, mostly affects people aged sixty and older. But people of any age can develop it and even children are not immune from developing joint pains and swellings due to many causes. Together these forms are called juvenile arthritis. Some young people develop osteoarthritis, but the most common form of juvenile arthritis is JRA.

There are two main types of arthritis – osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. They are quite different from each other. Osteoarthritis is a condition that occurs when the cartilage that covers the ends of bones in the joints breaks down and wears away. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease caused by problems with the body’s immune system when the body forms antibodies that start destroying the joint capsules.

Types of arthritis


Type of arthritis in which cartilage loses its elasticity and becomes stiff. Due to stiffness, damage can occur easily and along with this ligaments and tendons become stretched and which causes painful conditions.

Rheumatoid arthritis

It is a chronic inflammatory disease that involves multiple joints in a symmetrical pattern, leading to permanent destruction or deformity of the joints. The presence of rheumatoid factor confirms the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.

Infectious arthritis

It is caused due to an infection in the synovial fluid or tissues of a joint often caused by bacteria, but sometimes viruses and fungi.

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is the most common rheumatic disease in children, the etiology of JRA is unknown.

Causes of arthritis

  • Injury -can damage bone, ligament and cartilage that ultimately leads to severe pain.
  • Infection – Any kind of infection of the joint may result in inflammation, pain and swelling.
  • Obesity and advanced age
  • Overuse – Overuse of the knee joint can cause bursitis which ultimately leads to intense pain.
  • Sprain- Due to sudden unnatural movements causes pain as well as restriction of movement of the joint.
  • Malignancy – Myeloma, metastatic carcinoma.
  • Dislocation – Also causes severe arthritis.
  • Other causes – Include Sarcoidosis, Sickle cell disease, Lupus, Kawasaki disease, Crohn’s disease, bone tumours, bleeding disorders etc.

Some specific disease conditions cause complaints of arthritis in children

• Rheumatic fever
• Sarcoidosis
• Sickle cell disease
• Leukemia
• Turner syndrome
• Vasculitis
• Kawasaki disease
• Reactive arthritis
• Behcet disease
• Infective endocarditis
• Systemic Lupus Arthritis (SLE)
• Reiter’s syndrome
• Psoriatic arthritis

Classification of Arthritis

There are several conditions that are primarily associated with joint pathology and present themselves in the form of arthritis as a chief symptom. These are as follows-

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gout and pseudo-gout
  • Septic arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis

There are other systemic diseases that affect the joints also. The majority of these kinds of diseases belong to autoimmune diseases in which the body’s immune system starts killing the body’s own cells by wrongly identifying them as antigens.  It includes-

  • Psoriasis
  • Hepatitis
  • Lyme disease
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Celiac disease
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis)
  • Sarcoidosis

Diagnosis of arthritis

  • Complete physical examination – Include inspection of affected joint, movement, stiffness, tenderness, swelling and other important findings.
  • Microscopic examination – Of joint fluid.
  • X-ray – To diagnose a fracture and assess arthritic changes in the joint surface.
  • MRI – to detect ligament rupture and extent of injury to the joint.
  • Montoux Test – To diagnose tuberculosis
  • Blood tests/Hematology – Include complete blood count and blood culture (infective arthritis), ESR, ASLO, CRP, RA Factor, ANA etc.
  • Urine test – Mainly for blood, sugar and protein etc.

Symptoms of arthritis

Mainly stiffness, redness, swelling, and limitation of movements; may also associate with fever, weight loss, and carditis in specific medical conditions of arthritis.

• Joints pain
• Inflamed joints
• Redness and heat in joints
• Stiff joints
• Crackling sound
• Restricted movements
• Joints deformity
• Patients often experiences fatigue, weakness, anorexia in cases of rheumatoid arthritis
• High temperature with or without chill may be a feature of septic arthritis

Homeopathic treatment of arthritis

Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of homeopathic medicine for arthritis is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using a holistic approach.

This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the signs and symptoms from which the patient is suffering.

The aim of homeopathic medicine for arthritis is not only to treat arthritis but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several well-proved medicines are available for homeopathic treatment of joint pains that can be selected on the basis of cause, location, sensation, modalities and extension of the complaints.

For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. Some important homeopathic medicine for arthritis is given below:

  • Bryonia alba. – pain with inflammation, which is aggravated by movement and relieved by moderate pressure and rest. Joints are red, hot, and swollen. Worse by least movement, rubbing, warmth, and in the morning.
  • Apis mel – excellent medicine for acute arthritis; affected part is red, shiny, and swollen; there is great tenderness of joints; pains are better by applying cold water.
  • Ledum pal. – Excellent remedy for gout and rheumatism which is of ascending nature, better by cold application. arthritic deposits; swelling and stiffness in the joints.
  • Kalmia latifolia – excellent remedy for rheumatic patients when pain travels downwards with numbness; complaints of arthritis with palpitation of the heart.
  • Rhus tox. – pain aggravated by first movement, damp weather and better by continuous motion. Complaints get worse in rainy, damp seasons and in winter; pain in joints with marked restlessness, stiffness along with tearing pain which is worse by rest and better by motion.
  • Kali carb – intense burning, stitching pain; backache along with great weakness and profuse sweating.
  • Acid flour – abnormal growth of bones; it softens the bones and absorbs the nodes; affected parts are red in colour.
  • Colchicum – pain worse by motion touch or mental effort, better by warmth and rest. Swelling and pain in the joints of the finger and knee. Excellent remedy for post-traumatic arthritis of small joints following fracture or surgery.
  • Kalmia latifolia – a descending type of pain, pain with palpitation of the heart and slow pulse.
  • Cactus G – edematous swelling of the extremities; cardiac rheumatism when the heart is affected, and joints are freed from pain.
  • Guaiacum. – complaints in syphilitic and tubercular patients; gouty abscesses of joints; intense swelling with pain in the joints which is worse by warmth; shooting type of pain from feet to knees; leg and ankle bones are especially affected; complaints ameliorated by cold bath and cold applications.
  • Thuja – arthritic complaints in those patients who have a history of gonorrhea.
  • Calcarea carb. – Arthritic swelling, knee pain especially in fleshy people which is worse by cold. Slow development of bony tissues, especially suited to fleshy people in which one part of the bone is nourished and the other is underdeveloped; swelling and gouty nodules in hands and finger joints; pain and swelling in the knee joint; complaints are worse by cold.
  • Dulcamara – arthritic complaints from exposure to damp, cold, and getting wet; complaints in those patients who live in damp basements; arthritis due to suppression of perspiration.
  • Calcarea flour – defective bony growth, bones ulcerated; fistula; complaints worse in cold and better in warmth.
  • Calcarea phos – arthritis with softness of bones with weakness of neck and shoulder; best suited to children; helps in the development of bones.
  • Symphytum – arthritis following an injury or fracture.
  • Benzoic acid – gouty concretions of joints, knee pain due to abnormal deposition of uric acid.Wandering pains, which change position suddenly.
  • Oxalic acid – Especially for left-sided affections; violent pains in the back down the thigh ameliorated by changing position.
  • Hypericum. – Rheumatoid arthritis with nerve pain or neuralgia.
  • Caulophyllum – cutting pain in joints, especially in finger joints, when closing the fist.
  • Pulsatilla – suited for gouty complaints of knee joints; boring pain in the heels towards evening.
  • Radium brom – remarkable remedy for chronic rheumatic arthritis; intense pain in all the limbs and joints, such as the knee, ankles, arms, shoulders, fingers, calves, and toes; better by continuous motion and cold air.
  • Ledum pulsatre –Gouty pains shoot all through the foot and limb, and in joints, but especially small joints. Joints Swollen, hot, pale. Cracking in joints; worse, warmth of bed. Rheumatism begins in the lower limbs and ascends. Soles painful can hardly step on them.
  • Lycopodium clavatum- Numbness, drawing and tearing in limbs, especially while at rest or at night. Tearing in shoulder and elbow joints. One foot hot, the other cold. Chronic gout, with chalky deposits in joints. Profuse sweat on the feet. Pain in the heel on treading as from a pebble. Sciatica, worse right side. Cannot lie on the painful side. Cramps in calves and toes at night in bed. Limbs go to sleep. Headstrong and haughty when sick. Loss of self-confidence. Hurried when eating.

Along with medication, rest in the acute stage, exercise in the chronic stage, weight management and nutrition are of much importance in the management of arthritis.

The above information about homeopathy treatment of arthritis is only for information purposes. Please consult a professional homeopath before taking any homeopathic medicine for arthritis.