Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. This happens when the cartilage that cushions the end of your bones wears down with time. The ends of bones in your joints are capped in a layer of smooth, tough cartilage. Cartilage plays the role of shock absorber and lubricant. It helps the bones in your joint move smoothly and safely.

In osteoarthritis, the cartilage of your affected joints degenerates. Eventually, your bones rub against each other when you move your joints. While the damage to soft tissues in the joint progresses, it can lead to pain, swelling, and loss of movement. They can lead to muscle weakness, and the joint may lose its normal shape over time. Bone bits or cartilage can also break off and float inside the joint space. This causes more damage. Osteoarthritis can damage any joint, the condition commonly affects the joints of your neck, hands, lower back, hips, and knees.

Primary osteoarthritis is the common form that develops in your joints over time. It is usually the result of normal wear and tear of the joints throughout your life. Secondary osteoarthritis occurs when an injury damages one of your joints resulting in osteoarthritis. Other types of arthritis can damage the cartilage in your joints to cause osteoarthritis. It is estimated that more than 80% of adults after the age of 50 have osteoarthritis. Women are more likely to have osteoarthritis than men.

Role of homeopathy in osteoarthritis

Homeopathy helps strengthen bones in osteoarthritis. It slows the speed of further degeneration, improves the mobility of the affected joints and reduces pain, swelling, and stiffness in osteoarthritis. THomeopathy vitalizes the body’s natural healing and ability to repair to create a better state of health and well-being.

Five homeopathic medicines for osteoarthritis

Causticum

Common name: Tinctura Acris

Causticum is indicated for a raw and sore feeling all over the body. Osteoarthritis that usually affects single parts, mainly the body’s right side, with a gradual decrease in muscular power is indicative of this remedy. The muscles twitch and jerk with great weakness. There is stiffness of the joints and contraction of flexor tendons, and the shortening of muscles is present. The complaints worsen in clear weather and are relieved in damp weather and hot fomentation. The individual suffers long grief, sorrow, fear, and sudden emotions. The person has intense sympathy for others. The mood is always sad, weeping with excessive anxiety.

Rhus toxicodendron

Common name: Poison oak

Rhus tox. is used when the ligaments, fibrous tissues, and tendons are affected in osteoarthritis. It helps in treating inflammation, effusion, or edema. The person is extremely restless and cannot stay in one place to obtain relief from the pain. There is great rigidity, stiffness, and lame pain when initially moving the joint. The complaints are relieved by movement and get worse with rest. There is a right side affinity of the complaints. There is a sensation as if the joints were torn from their attachment and bones were scrapped with a knife. The affected parts are very sore to the touch. The person cannot be in bed for a long time and is always moving.

Ledum palustre

Common name: Marsh tea

Ledum pal. is indicated for complaints of fibrous tissues and joints. There is stiffness of the joint with swelling and shooting pain. The osteoarthritis is mainly in the lower extremities, such as the knees which then ascend. The person suffers from injury caused by sharp instruments or blows. There is black and blue discoloration after the injury, and the affected parts are very cold to touch. Ledum is used in both acute and chronic osteoarthritis. There is a sensation of throbbing and tearing pain in the affected joint. It mainly affects small joints such as toes, fingers, ankles, or wrists. The joints are swollen and painful and get worse from heat, walking, and at night. Despite the coldness of the affected joints, the complaints are better from holding it in ice-cold water.

Arnica montana

Common name: Leopard’s bane

Arnica is indicated in osteoarthritis when the condition occurs due to any injury. The medicine prevents septic conditions and promotes recovery of the parts. There is a sore, lame, bruised pain all over the body. The person cannot stand pain and is very sensitive. The affected parts become blue and black, which bleeds. Osteoarthritis that starts from the lower limbs and ascends upwards is indicative of this remedy. The complaints get worse from touch and are relieved with rest.

Ruta graveolens

Common name: Rue

Ruta is indicated in osteoarthritis when the condition results from a sprain, bruised injuries, falls, or mechanical origin. The complaints are worse after fractures or dislocations. There is a sore, lame, bruised feeling worse in limbs and joints. The person is very restless due to the intolerable pain and therefore changes position quite frequently when lying. There is severe back pain relieved from lying on the back.

Causative factors of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis develops when the cartilage in the joints eventually deteriorates. A cartilage is a firm, slippery tissue that enables frictionless joint motion. Primary osteoarthritis usually develops slowly as you age. As you get older, normal wear and tear of your joints might contribute to the breaking of the cartilage. Certain factors damage the joint directly, and it is more likely for you to get osteoarthritis due to these triggers like aging, being overweight or obese, history of injuries, joint surgery, repetitive movement, overuse of the joint, rheumatism, bone deformities, and family history of osteoarthritis.

Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis

  • Pain in the affected joint
  • Stiffness, especially on waking up or after being inactive
  • Swelling near the joint
  • A decreased range of motion
  • Feeling like the joint is not strong enough as it usually used to be
  • Deformity of the joint

Treatment of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative process, and it cannot be reversed. However, your doctor may help relieve your osteoarthritis symptoms. A combination of conventional treatment and alternative medicine is effective. A few of the treatments for osteoarthritis include:

Medications

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce pain and inflammation.

Physical therapy

A physiotherapist can help you strengthen the muscles around the joints, reduce pain, and increase your flexibility. Regular gentle exercises can equally be effective.

Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)

A low-voltage electrical current is used to relieve pain temporarily in osteoarthritis.

Medical procedures

Your healthcare provider may suggest procedures such as realigning bones, joint replacement, cortisone injections, lubrication injections, or knee replacement surgery.

Diet and lifestyle modification for osteoarthritis

Exercise

Low-impact exercise can strengthen the muscles, making your joints more stable.

Lose weight

Excess weight increases stress on your weight-bearing joints, such as knees and hips. Lose the extra weight to relieve your joint pain.

Heat and cold therapies

Moist heat can keep muscles relaxed and ease pain. Cold can relieve muscle aches and spasms.

Assistive devices

It helps relieve stress on your affected joints. A walker or cane may take weight off as you walk.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Consume foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like fish, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseed, and plant oils to help reduce inflammation.

Conclusion

Osteoarthritis symptoms can be managed, although the damage to joints can’t be reversed. Maintaining a healthy weight, staying active, and specific treatments might slow the progression of osteoarthritis to help improve joint function. Homeopathy has a wide range of natural remedies for osteoarthritis. Most osteoarthritis cases respond well as far as long-term pain relief is concerned. Overall, the development of osteoarthritis is complex and influenced by a combination of genetic inclination and environmental and lifestyle factors.

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