Arthritis

ARTHRITIS

Arthritis is a general term for numerous conditions that affect bone joints; scientists do not know exactly what cause arthritis. Some think the disease is genetic-something that is inherited from your parents. Other think arthritis is caused by infection, obesity, bone damage, or another disease. Regardless of the cause or type of arthritis, people with arthritis experience chronic pain and swelling in their joint

Arthritis is frequently accompanied by joint pain. Joint pain is referred to as arthralgia. When four or more joints are involved, the arthritis is referred to as polyarthritis. When two or three joints are involved, it is referred to as oligoarthritis. 

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 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.

What causes arthritis?

Causes of arthritis

Injury -can damage to bone, ligament and cartilage that ultimately leads to severe pain.

Infection – Any kind of infection to the joint may result arthritis.

Obesity and advanced age – Both are very common cause of arthritis.

Overuse – Overuse of 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 tumors, bleeding disorders etc.

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 fracture.

MRI – to detect ligament rupture and other conditions
MANTOUX TEST – To diagnose tuberculosis

Blood tests – Include complete blood count, coagulation test, and blood culture.

Urine test – Mainly for blood, sugar and protein etc.

What are risk factors for arthritis?

The major risk factors for most forms of arthritis are genes that are inherited from ancestors. Trauma-related arthritis is related to the risk of injury from specific activities.

What are arthritis symptoms and signs?

Symptoms of arthritis include pain and limited function of joints. Joint inflammation from arthritis is characterized by joint stiffness, swelling, redness, pain, and warmth. Tenderness of the inflamed joint can be present with or without pain. When large joints are involved, such as the knee, there can be loss of cartilage with limitation of motion from the joint damage. When arthritis affects the small joints in fingers, there can be bone growth and loss of hand grip and grip strength of the hand.

What is the Conventional treatment for arthritis?

The treatment of arthritis is very dependent on the precise type of arthritis present. An accurate diagnosis increases the chances for successful treatment. Treatments available include physical therapy, home remedies, splinting, cold-pack application, paraffin wax dips, anti-inflammatory drugs, pain medications (ranging from acetaminophen [Tylenol] and ibuprofen [Motrin, Advil] to narcotics), immune-altering medications, biologic medications, and surgical operations. Pain from osteoarthritis of the knee can be relieved by hyaluronic acid injections. Rheumatoid arthritis can require medications that suppress the immune system. Low back arthritis that is irritating nerves of the spine can require surgical repair. For more on treatments of particular forms of arthritis, see the corresponding articles for the form of arthritis of interest.

Is it possible to prevent arthritis?

Since most forms of arthritis are inherited to some degree, there is no real way to prevent them. Arthritis that follows joint injury could be prevented by adhering to safety regulations and trying to avoid becoming injured. Arthritis related to infection (for examples, septic arthritis, reactive arthritis, Whipple’s disease) could be prevented by not becoming infected with the causative organism. The extent to which this is possible varies depending upon the individual condition.

Foods to Try to Ease Arthritis Pain

Remember, there’s no magic food,”   But growing evidence suggests that following a healthy diet and adding in specific foods and spices could help fight inflammation and joint pain.

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage. These veggies are part of the cruciferous family, and they are full of a compound called sulforaphane, which helps slow cartilage damage in joints due to osteoarthritis,  Try adding broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale or cauliflower to your salad or stir-fry.

Fatty fish. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, trout and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight inflammation. Try adding fish to your diet a couple of times a week. If you’re not a big fan of fish, ask your doctor about taking an omega-3 supplement.

Garlic. Garlic is a member of the allium family—which also includes onions and leeks. These items contain a compound called diallyl disulfide that may help with a number of diseases—including arthritis. “This compound may have some effect in limiting cartilage-damaging enzymes,” 

Tart cherries. Some people with arthritis have found relief from products made from tart cherries. The ingredient in cherries that helps with joint symptoms is the same one that gives this fruit its red color—anthocyanin. 

Turmeric. One of the best-researched inflammation fighters isn’t a food at all, but a spice. Tumeric contains a compound called curcumin. A 2012 review published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences said that “curcumin could be beneficial in the management of chronic inflammatory-related joint disease, The compound has been used for centuries in India to ward off inflammatory diseases. You’ll find this yellow spice in Indian cuisines—particularly curries.

Vitamin C. Antioxidants in vitamin C may slow the progression of OA, research finds. A 2011 study from the University of South Florida reported that people who took vitamin C supplements were 11 percent less likely to develop knee OA than those who didn’t take the supplements. You can get vitamin C from strawberries, kiwi, pineapple, or cantaloupe. 

 What is homoeopathic treatment for arthritis? 

The following short list is primarily to provide relief of the acute phase of the arthritic inflammation. It is best to obtain professional homeopathic care to obtain deeper and more significant relief and cure

Bryonia  Alba. – Pain with inflammation which, is aggravated by movement and relieved by moderate pressure and rest.

Ledum pal. – Excellent remedy for gout and rheumatism which is of ascending nature, better by cold application.

Rhus Tox. – Pain aggravated by first movement, damp weather and better by continuous motion.

Belladonna (deadly nightshade)– When rapid and violent onset of throbbing arthritic pain arises in red, hot, swollen joints,this is the remedy to consider. The arthritic symptoms are aggravated by touch,jarring, and especially by motion; warm wraps relieve them.

Ruta graveolens (rue) — This remedy is sometimes given when the condition develops at the site of an old injury. The symptoms are aggravated by motion or touch, in the morning, and from exposure to cold, wet weather, and they are relieved by rubbing and warmth. Ruta graveolens is also indicated when sensitive nodules develop on the tendons and periosteum (i.e., the covering of the bone where the tendons attach) after an injury. 

Rhododendron (yellow snow rose):  pains that are aggravated during cold and wet weather(especially storms), during the night, and during rest (from sitting too long),and that are relieved by continued motion or walking. It is also known for arthritic pain in the small joints, lower back, or shoulder, and for pains that wander from one place to another. 

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MIGRAINE

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A migraine is a severe and painful headache. They can be preceded or accompanied by sensory warning signs, such as flashes of light, blind spots, tingling in the arms and legs, nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light and sound.

The excruciating pain that migraines bring can last for hours or even days Migraines can be preceded by an aura of sensory disturbances followed by a severe, often one-sided headache The cause is still largely unknown and they tend to affect people aged 15-55. Not everyone will have a ‘typical’ migraine. There are different types of migraines with different symptoms The most common symptoms of a migraine attack include throbbing headache, sensitivity to light and noise, nausea (feeling sick), vomiting (being sick) and lethargy (lack of energy).

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Migraine attack stages or phases

It is often difficult to predict when a migraine attack is going to happen. However, you can often predict the pattern of each attack as there are well defined stages.  It is these stages and their symptoms which distinguish a migraine from a headache.

In adults, we can divide a migraine attack into four or five stages that lead on from each other:

  • Premonitory or warning phase
  • Aura (not always present)
  • The headache or main attack stage
  • Resolution
  • Recovery or postdrome stage

Learning to recognise the different phases of a migraine attack can be useful. You might suffer from one, all, or a combination of these stages, and the combination of stages may vary from attack to attack. Each phase can vary in length and severity.

Recognising different symptoms at different times during your headache attack can give a doctor information which may help diagnosis. Also, taking medication before the symptoms have fully developed may reduce the effect of an attack. A child’s migraine attack is often much shorter than an adult’s attack, and it may therefore not be possible to fully make out the different headache phases.

Premonitory stage

This describes certain physical and mental changes such as tiredness, craving sweet foods, mood changes, feeling thirsty and a stiff neck. These feelings can last from 1 to 24 hours.

Aura

The aura of migraine includes a wide range of neurological symptoms. This stage can last from 5 to 60 minutes, and usually happens before the headache. Migraine without aura does not include this stage.

In some people, changes in the cortex area of the brain cause changes in their sight, such as dark spots, coloured spots, sparkles or ‘stars’, and zigzag lines. Numbness or tingling, weakness, and dizziness or vertigo (the feeling of everything spinning) can also happen. Speech and hearing can also be disturbed, and sufferers have reported memory changes, feelings of fear and confusion, and more rarely, partial paralysis or fainting. These neurological symptoms are called the ‘aura’ of migraine. In adults, they usually happen before the headache itself, but in children, they may happen at the same time as the headache. It is possible to have the aura symptoms without the headache.

The headache or main attack stage

This stage involves head pain which can be severe, even unbearable. The headache is typically throbbing, and made worse by movement. Some sufferers describe a pressing or tightening pain. The headache is usually on one side of the head, especially at the start of an attack. Some sufferers get pain on both sides of the head, or over the forehead, but not usually at the back of the head. Nausea (sickness) and vomiting (being sick) can happen at this stage, and the sufferer may feel sensitive to light or sound, or both.

Resolution

Most attacks slowly fade away, but some stop suddenly after the sufferer is sick, or cries a lot. Sleep seems to help many sufferers, who find that even an hour or two can be enough to end an attack. Many children find that sleeping for just a few minutes can stop their attack.

Recovery or postdrome stage

This is the final stage of an attack, and it can take hours or days for a ‘hangover’ type feeling to disappear. Symptoms can be similar to those of the first stage, and often they are mirrored symptoms. For example, if you lost your appetite at the beginning of the attack, you might be very hungry now. If you were tired, now you might feel full of energy.

There are several categories of methods used to prevent migraine, ranging from diet changes and exercise to prescription drugs; these include:

  • prescription beta blockers
  • anticonvulsants
  • antidepressants
  • gabapentin
  • botulinum toxin A (Botox)
  • herbs and vitamins such as cannabis, coenzyme Q10, feverfew, magnesium citrate, riboflavin, B-12, melatonin
  • spinal cord stimulator implantation
  • hyperbaric oxygen therapy
  • vision correction
  • exercise, sleep, sexual activity
  • visualization and self-hypnosis
  • acupuncture

Some people find that special diets such as gluten-free can help. It is worth noting that some people can get a medication overuse headache (MOH) – or rebound headache – when taking too many medications in an attempt to prevent migraine.

Surgery

In the last decade, novel approaches to the treatment of migraines have been developed. Botulinum toxin (Botox) injection and surgical decompression of the extracranial sensory branches of the trigeminal and cervical spinal nerves have been shown to reduce or eliminate migraines in patients who don’t respond to traditional medical management. This was highlighted in a review published in the journal Plastic and reconstructive surgery in 2014.

Migraine triggers
Triggers include smoking and alcohol, avoiding triggers can help prevent migraines or reduce their severity.

Some people who suffer from migraines can clearly identify triggers or factors that cause the headaches, but many cannot. Potential migraine triggers include:

  • allergies and allergic reactions
  • bright lights, loud noises, flickering lights, smoky rooms, temperature changes, strong smells, and certain odors or perfumes
  • physical or emotional stress, tension, anxietydepression, and excitement
  • physical triggers such as tirednessjet lag, and exercise
  • changes in sleep patterns or irregular sleep
  • smoking or exposure to smoke
  • skipping meals or fasting causing low blood sugar
  • dehydration
  • alcohol
  • hormonal triggers such as menstrual cycle fluctuations, birth control pills, and menopause
  • tension headaches
  • foods containing tyramine (red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and some beans), monosodium glutamate (MSG), or nitrates (like bacon, hot dogs, and salami)
  • other foods such as chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, banana, citrus, onions, dairy products, and fermented or pickled foods
  • medication such as sleeping tablets, the contraceptive pill, and hormone replacement therapy

Triggers do not always cause migraines and avoiding triggers does not always prevent migraines.

Primary Remedies

Belladonna

This relieves headaches with the feeling of head fullness, and sensitivity to noise and light.

Bryonia

This remedy can be helpful if a person has a heavy or “splitting” headache,. Pain is worse from any motion, even from moving the eyes, and the person wants to lie completely still and not be talked to or disturbed..

Gelsemium

This remedy relieves congestive headaches at the base of the head, as well as headaches around the eye, caused or aggravated by stress.

Glonoinum

This remedy relieves sudden headaches, with fullness of head and feeling of heat, and aggravated by heat.

Other remedies used for migraines depending on symptoms are Ignatia, Iris versicolor, Natrum  muraticum etc