If you are experiencing symptoms such as joint pain and stiffness, it is important to find out if you have RA. Several factors cause, or increase, your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Early diagnosis can limit the pain, joint damage, and disability that occur in some RA patients. RA primarily affects the small joints in the hands and feet. Also, RA affects already damaged joints or those that are used frequently, such as the feet, knees and shoulders. RA involving the hands tends to be more severe in the dominant hand.
Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
RA causes inflammation of the joint lining, which can lead to pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function. It also can cause inflammation of your tear glands, salivary glands, the lining of your heart and lungs, and the lungs themselves. There are several symptoms associated with RA:
- Joint pain
- Joint swelling
- Joint warmth
- Stiffness, especially in the morning or after sitting for long periods
As RA progresses, about 25% of people with the disease develop small lumps of tissue under the skin, called rheumatoid nodules. These rheumatoid nodules usually aren’t painful. The nodules may form under the skin of the elbow, hands, the back of the scalp, over the knee, or on the feet and heels. They can be as small as a pea to as large as a walnut.
Although RA is often a chronic disease, the severity and duration of the symptoms may unpredictably come and go. For people with a severe case of RA, the disease is generally active, lasts for many years, and leads to serious joint damage and disability. Periods of increased disease activity, or worsening of symptoms, are called flare-ups or flares. Periods of remission are when the symptoms of swelling, pain, difficulty in sleeping, and weakness fade or disappear
The exact cause of RA is not yet known. It is known that RA is an autoimmune disease. This means the body’s natural immune system does not operate as it should; it attacks healthy joint tissue, initiating a process of inflammation and joint damage.
Although the cause is not known, scientists do know that many factors contribute to the development of RA. Genetic, or hereditary, factors play a role. Scientists have shown certain genes that play a role in the immune system may be involved in determining whether or not you develop RA. However, some people with RA do not have these particular genes, and other people who do have the genes never develop the disease.
Environmental factors may also contribute to the cause of the disease. Researchers have found that RA can be triggered by an infection, possibly a virus or bacterium, in people who have an inherited tendency for the disease. However, RA is not contagious; you can’t “catch it” from anyone.
Certain physical, laboratory and radiographic tests confirm the diagnosis and exclude other diseases. These tests include:
- Clinical history
- Physical examination
- Laboratory investigations
- Imaging studies such as X-rays or the Electron Spin
- Resonance Test
Homeopathic remedies for Arthritis:
Arnica: Useful for chronic arthritis with a feeling of bruising and soreness. The painful parts feel worse from being moved or touched.
Bryonia: Helpful for stiffness and inflammation with tearing or throbbing pain, made worse by motion. The condition may have developed gradually, and is worse in cold dry weather. Discomfort is aggravated by being touched or bumped, or from any movement. Relief can be had from pressure and from rest. The person may want to stay completely still and not be interfered with.
Calcarea carbonica: Helpful for deeply aching arthritis involving node formation around the joints. Inflammation and soreness are worse from cold and dampness, and problems may be focused on the knees and hands. Common symptoms are: weakness in the muscles, easy fatigue from exertion, and a feeling of chilliness or sluggishness. The person who benefits from Calcarea is often solid and responsible, but tends to become extremely anxious and overwhelmed when ill or overworked.
Aurum metallicum: This remedy is often prescribed for wandering pains in the muscles and joints that are better from motion and warmth, and worse at night. The person may experience deep pain in the limbs when trying to sleep. Also may feel discomfort that may wake the person up. People who need this remedy have a tendency to feel depressed.
Causticum: Useful when deformities develop in the joints, in a person with a tendon problems, muscle weakness, and contractures. The hands and fingers may be most affected.. Stiffness and pain are worse from being cold, and relief may come with warmth. The person often feels best in rainy weather and worse when the days are clear and dry.
Calcarea fluorica: Helpful when arthritic pains improve with heat and motion. Joints become enlarged and hard, and nodes or deformities develop. Arthritis after chronic injury to joints also responds to Calcarea fluorica.
Dulcamara: Indicated if arthritis flares up during cold damp weather. The person gets chilled and wet. They are often stout, with a tendency toward back pain, chronic stiffness in the muscles, and allergies.
Kali bichromicum: This is useful when arthritic pains alternate with asthma or stomach symptoms. Pains may suddenly come and go, or shift around. Discomfort and inflammation are aggravated by heat, and worse when the weather is warm.
Kali carbonicum: Arthritis with great stiffness and stitching pains, worse in the early morning hours and worse from cold and dampness, may respond to Kali carbonicum. The joints may be becoming thickened or deformed.
Kalmia latiflora: Useful for intense arthritic pain that flares up suddenly. The problems start in higher joints and extend to lower ones. Pain and inflammation may begin in the elbows, spreading downward to the wrists and hands. Discomfort is worse from motion and often worse at night.
Ledum palustre: Arthritis that starts in lower joints and extends to higher ones are candidate for this remedy. Pain and inflammation often begin in the toes and spread upward to the ankles and knees. The joints may also make cracking sounds. Ledum is strongly indicated when swelling is significant and relieved by cold applications.
Pulsatilla: Applicable when rheumatoid arthritis pain is changeable in quality, or when the flare-ups move from place to place. The symptoms (and the person) feel worse from warmth, and better from fresh air and cold applications. Can benefit people who are emotional and affectionate, sometimes having teary moods.
Rhododendron: Strongly indicated if swelling and soreness flare up before a storm, continuing until the weather clears. Cold and dampness aggravate the symptoms. Discomfort is often worse toward early morning, or after staying still too long.
Rhus toxicodendron: Useful for rheumatoid arthritis, with pain and stiffness that is worse in the morning and worse on first motion, but better from continued movement. Hot baths or showers, and warm applications improve the stiffness and relieve the pain. The condition is worse in cold, wet weather. The person may feel extremely restless, unable to find a comfortable position, and need to keep moving constantly. Continued motion also helps to relieve anxiety.
Ruta graveolens: Arthritis with a feeling of great stiffness and lameness, worse from cold and damp and worse from exertion, may be helped by ruta graveolens. Tendons and capsules of the joints can be deeply affected or damaged. The arthritis may have developed after overuse, from repeated wear and tear.