An Autoimmune Disease in which the linings (synovial membranes) of joint capsules become inflamed and swollen; inflammation spreads to other joint tissues and, in severe cases, to the bones themselves, causing deformity, Dislocations, and disability. Joint symptoms may onset suddenly or be preceded by vague muscular pains, Weight Loss, loss of appetite (see Appetite Changes), and feeling generally unwell; in many sufferers, inflammation affects tissues of heart and blood vessels as well as joints; some sufferers also develop Anaemia.
Condition mainly affects smaller joints, chiefly knuckles and toe joints, but also wrists, neck, ankles, and knees; pain and stiffness are worst morning, but tend to wear off as day progresses. Nearly half of all sufferers recover completely after one or more attacks. In women, it may be aggravated during the menstrual period. Routinely treated with painkillers, steroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs, and physiotherapy; surgery is considered risky, but may be advised in special cases.
Homeopathic treatment is constitutional, with special attention to diet and nutrition; for specific remedies see Ankle Problems, Back Problems, Foot Problems, Knee Problems, Leg Problems, Neck Problems, Shoulder Problems.
Self-help: Take regular, moderate exercise - swimming is excellent for keeping joints mobile, especially if pool is heated. Plenty of rest is also important - if you can, take a nap or two during the day. If you are severely disabled and need special aids or appliances, contact the Disabled Living Foundation. Try brazil nuts and cocoa. Extra Vitamin B6, B3, B5, C, and E, and also zinc are recommended, as are Evening Primrose oil and green lipped mussel extract. Wearing a copper bracelet might also be beneficial.