Much misunderstanding exists among the laity regarding diseases of the skeletal system and its supporting structure (ligaments and muscle).
One is apt to jump to the conclusion that arthritis exists if there is pain, swelling, stiffness attacking one’s extremities and back. This is a rightly dreaded disease, crippling but non- fatal, but one which takes most of the joy out of life and its chronic progressive nature has a bleak outlook.
Fortunately, less than half of the cases coming to clinics for arthritics actually have arthritis. Most cases are known to the medical profession to be “fibrositis” or “myofibrosis”, meaning inflammation of the soft tissues around the joints. Such cases can definitely be helped by medicine, especially homoeopathic medicine.
The points which favor a diagnosis of fibrositis rather than arthritis are : (1) Negative x-ray findings of the joints involved. The person who has fibrositis is miserable in the morning on first becoming active but soon “limbers up” on exercise. This disease attacks especially the fingers, wrists, shoulders, knees and small of the back. If the muscles of the neck are involved, very severe headaches occur which are incorrectly regarded as due to migraine, eye strain, autointoxication, etc.
True arthritis is a joint and bone disease. There are two main varieties: One attacks the small joints, fingers, wrists, shoulder, ankles and feet. The other attacks the weightbearing joints, the lumbar spine and back, hips and knees.
Painful knolls are characteristic of the first type, and enlarged and bony prominences about the knees and hips are seen in the second type.
There is little can be done for the second type (hypertrophic) arthritis) save relief of pain by heat treatment and the usual pain-killing drugs.
In the first type (atrophic or rheumatoid arthritis) we can of more but the treatment should be in professional hands for the drugs used may cause harm (like gold salts and cortisone). Even true arthritis, however, can be benefited at times by homoeopathic therapy, about to be mentioned. This form of treatment, even if it should help, has the advantage that it can do no harm and hence is safe for laymen to use.
The indications for the various homoeopathic remedies listed below are on a symptomatic basis. Select the drug which seems to picture your case most closely. Use it for a month or two and change medicines if your symptoms change. You may expect fairly prompt response in fibrositis, partial help in the small joints (atrophic type and rather less in the larger joint cases, which have been chronic for years.
Rhus tox. 6x: The chief symptoms of this drug is pain in the beginning motion with relief after a period of “warming up.” It is effective for back ailments where ligaments and muscles are involved. Rhus pain is worse from cold and damp. His chief complaints is stiffness as well as pain of a tearing nature. The cold fresh air aggravates the condition greatly.
Sulphur 6x: This drug works well with Rhus tox in muscle and joint pain. Stiffness as with Rhus tox. And much sweat with burning of the soles and hands, especially at night. The sulphur patient likes sweet, lots of water but is not a heavy eater. They are rather stoop-shouldered, slouchy, and most uncomfortable in a warm room and in summer. Usually a dry or chronically irritated skin. Can be used in alternation with rhus tox. for chronic types of fibrositis. Give sulphur in the morning and Rhus tox. at night. A good potency to start is the 6x. Two tablets at 8 and 10 a.m. of sulphur and 2 tablets of Rhus tox. at 4 and 8 p.m.
According to location:
Actea spicata: Wrist rheumatism and involvement of other small joints. Swelling of joints from slight fatigue. Use 2 tablets of 3x, three or four times a day.
Pulsatilla 6x : Shifting, drawing, pain in thighs and legs made worse by letting affected limb hang down. Hip joint and knees painful. Pulsatilla patient is restless, sleepless, worse at night and from eating rich, fatty food. Generally aggravated by heat and a warm room and is apt to be chilly. Poor circulation, swollen veins.
Calcarea carb. 6x: Rheumatoid pains as if sprained, brought on or aggravated by coldness and damp. Always cold and damp feet which feel cold and dead at night. Sour sweat.
For dosage and time of administration, see page 8.