Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the outstanding maladies which handicaps humanity in general with no respect to age, station in life, rich or poor or any degree of sanitation.
With all the effort as to research, prophylaxis or treatment in the past decade, we still have it with us. The dictionary states that arthritis is an inflammation of a joint, regardless of where the joint is located.
An acute arthritis is manifested or marked by acute pain, heat, redness and swelling, as of traumatism, gout, gonorrheal, or rheumatoid state.
Jousset in 1901, and Bartlett in 1908 declared that rheumatism was characterized by an inflammation of the serous membrane which was usually multiple, mobile, and occurring principally in joints and the heart. Four kinds they named: common, benign, fixed and anomalous.
Gaius J. Jones in his book Practice of Medicine in 1903 stated that rheumatism is a migratory, inflammatory disease, affecting the muscular and fibrous tissue, and connected with some general morbid state. Chief among predisposing causes is an hereditary tendency, and often occurs during the course of other diseases as scarlet fever, measles and gonorrhea, etc., and one attack predisposes to another. Acute articular rheumatism or rheumatic arthritis usually comes on suddenly, often after exposure to cold and wet weather, and so far as the medical profession is concerned this opinion still holds.
The regular school of medicine still maintains that rheumatoid etiology is unknown and specific therapy is lacking, the factor which precipitates the rheumatic process is unknown and no single factor can account for its development.
As to treatment, Saunders Current Therapy, 1954, states that it consists of aspirin or salicylates, which are enhanced with ACTH and Cortisone and supplemented by physio-therapy.
The diseased state is outlined as follows:
1. The common form which has a duration of 2 to 6 weeks, which develops a metastasis and stiff joints, and frequently relapses.
2. The benign form is less severe and less pronounced, with a 2 to 10 days duration and rarely has a metastasis. It has less fever and fewer joints are involved.
3. The fixed (mono-articular) form which involves only one joint but the fever is intense, violent, with a grave metastasis and is very difficult to treat, as a rule.
4. The anomalous form, which is less intense in joint involvement plus visceral affection, but the complications are severe as a rule, such as endocarditis and chorea.
Bartlett states that very little is known about the etiology of rheumatoid arthritis. Frequent attacks follow acute tonsillitis immediately. For prevention, he says, avoid exposure to wet, damp, and cold, and cure throat infections readily.
Homoeopathic treatment and success, of course, depend upon the selection of the proper remedy. The true homoeopath has a variety of remedies from which to make his definite selection. If he has a few strange, rare and peculiar symptoms it may be comparatively easy, but Kent in his repertory gives:
12 remedies in grade 1, or high grade,
44 remedies in 2nd grade,
38 remedies in 3rd grade.
This makes a total of 94 remedies which may be indicated in the treatment of this disease, and with such a great number of remedies to be considered, the symptomatology must be quite definite in order to be sure of the proper approach.
In the Aconite patient a great storm comes, sweeps over and passes away. There is a fear of death, darkness, bed and ghosts. She predicts the hour of death. There is a hard, full and frequent pulse. She is impatient. She is inappeasable and is tossing about with agony. She is aggravated by fright, shock, vexation, when chilled, by a cold dry wind, and at night. Ruddocklow and Bartlett recommend Aconite when there is a sudden, violent attack, restlessness with anxiety, and fear with high fever, and with the patient in a painful state.
The Belladonna rheumatoid patient also has a suddenness of onset, with violent pain, violent throbbing, a turmoil in brain with heat, hot skin, redness and swelling of joint or joints involved, sour sweat with no relief from it, under covered parts is profuse. She has a bright red face, dilated pupils, burning skin, throbbing pain, intolerance of pressure and jar. She is worse from cold, touch, light and motion, and better from heat.
Arnica has a bruised sensation and often a history of previous injury, is very sensitive to touch, fears to be touched or approached.
The Bryonia patient usually is angry. Suffering is increased by being disturbed mentally or physically. The patient is busy in his dreams, wants to go home, has a stitching and sticking pain which is worse with the slightest movement. Very thirsty for large drinks of cold water, and is always worse from movement.
The Cimicifuga patient is usually depressed, low spirited, and sensitive, with lumbago and pain extending around to front of the abdomen, nervous, and is better with warm wraps and continued motion.
The Dulcamara rheumatic patient usually has developed his difficulties from exposure to dampness while hot with change of temperature to cold. This usually affects the muscles of the back, causing them to be stiff, sore and achy. Better with rest.
The Ledum patient has a chilliness and yet had an aversion to external warmth. The small joints are affected, often beginning in feet and extending upwards. Worse from cover or heat; better from cold and cool bathing.
Mercury is weak, sweaty, nervous, and hurried. Much saliva flows during sleep; metallic taste, indented tongue, throat sore. Profuse sweat does not relieve. Neck is stiff. Sensitive to drafts. Patient is worse at night and also worse with warmth.
Phytolacca–Rheumatic state after tonsillitis. Stiff joints, the neck, shoulders, back, forearms and below the knees and heels being especially involved. Has spreading pain; clinches teeth. The periosteum is affected. Worse with motion, rising up and with hot drinks. Also worse on cold, damp nights and with change of weather. Better lying on abdomen, and with cold drinks.
Pulsatilla is mild, timid, emotional and weepy, and has changeful swollen joints, especially knees and ankles, usually one-sided with shifting pain from one part to another. Worse in a warm room, warm air or warm bed, and worse on beginning motion. Better in cold, fresh open air and erect position.
Rhododendron–Rheumatism worse during rest, in warmth of bed, with every unfavorable change of weather, and with east wind.
Rhus toxicodendron–Restless at night; shooting, stitching, tearing pain; cannot rest in any position. Aching pain in legs while lying still. Hip hurts while lying on side; back hurts while lying on back. Stiffness and tension. Unable to sleep, must move legs back and forth. Worse from exposure to wet and cold, washing, on beginning motion, with rest, from sprains, and after midnight. Better from continued motion, heat, wrapping up, baths and rubbing.
The Sulphur patient is a ragged philosopher, untidy, unkempt, warm, craves fats, indisposed, melancholy mood, dread of being washed, is sensitive to open air, soles of feet burn, sticks feet out of bed at night.
He has stiffness of ankle joints, and particularly of knees, shoulder and back in coccyx, cracking in knees. Is worse from suppressions, worse from bathing, worse when becoming heated, worse on exertion, worse when in bed, also worse from atmospheric changes, and periodically at 11 A.M. He feels better from motion, and in open air.
L. M., a farmer, aged 65, white, weight 220 lbs.; large, robust, plethoric, active. He has treated himself with laxatives and rheumatic tablets, liniments from the drug store, and anything else suggested to him by his friends. With every little cold, sore throat or chest cold, he had to use Vicks or some similar preparation locally or per orum, or both, also certain types of vapor or water baths to satisfy his mental state.
He was always theorizing as to what causes a soreness here and a soreness or pain there. He finally became so crippled that he could not be on his feet, could not walk, could not sleep, was restless all night long. He developed an auricular fibrillation. He thought he was going to die, but still insisted on self-help treatment in addition to what his physician was doing for him. He had ACTH and aspirin galore.
He was very talkative about himself. It was hard to get away from him. He was emotional. In an interval of a week or two he developed chills and fever, an increase of pain in fingers, hands and legs. He had sore throat, pain in arms and legs on both sides, but worse on right side. He had a tendency to extend feet out of covering to right side of bed.
In the repertory analysis, using Kent, I went from the generals to the particulars. These 14 rubrics were used in working out the case:
2. Anxiety about his health
7. Extremities sore
8. Bruised sensation
10. Worse wet weather
12. Pain in chest
13. Burning in soles of feet
14. Inflammation of throat
In case we have an alternation of symptoms rather than aggravation and ameliorations.
The general rubrics will include all remedies that are related to the symptoms; and if, after having done this, the particulars are gone into and the remedy which runs through the general rubrics is found to have the particular symptoms, this will aid in its choice as the one to be prescribed. In this case the remedy was Lachesis. The case is improved.
We can prescribe for morbid states and not for names of diseases. Hahnemanns theory, that it is the man that is sick and that all of his discomforts are a part of his condition, is now readily accepted.