Arthritis means the inflammation of joints, though it can affect any joint, it is very common in the knees. Other than the above-mentioned symptoms, tenderness (pain on touching affected area), cracking or popping sounds on moving the knees, and restricted motion may also occur in knee arthritis. In acute cases, knee deformity may be seen.
Treating Knee Arthritis With Homeopathy
Homeopathic intervention done at the right time and stage can give significant relief from knee pain and swelling. This system of medicine has an edge over conventional pain killers by providing relief that is not short-lived but has a lasting effect. There is another distinct advantage — it stops further damage to the joint thereby controlling the advancement of the disease. Moreover, homeopathic treatment (under professional guidance) does not have any side effects even if the medicines are used for a long period. These medicines can be taken along with allopathic medicines as well, as they do not interfere with their action. As mentioned earlier, a carefully prescribed homoeopathic medicine can be a great help in relieving pain and increasing the mobility of the joint.
Top Homeopathic Medicines For Knee Arthritis
The most important homoeopathic medicines to treat knee arthritis are Rhus Tox, Bryonia Alba, Apis Mellifica, Benzoic Acid, Osteo-Arthritis-Nosode and Arnica Montana.
1. Rhus Tox – Top-Grade Medicine
Rhus Tox is used as the first line of treatment for managing knee arthritis. The foremost indication for its use is pain in the knees while at rest and on taking the first few steps, with relief setting in with continuous walking. The pain is tearing type along with marked stiffness. Knee can be swollen as well. This medicine helps in relieving pain, stiffness, swelling of knee and improving its range of movement.
When and How to use Rhus Tox?
It is typically used when knee pain worsens during rest and on taking initial few steps and relieved by continuous walking, along with knee stiffness. It may be used in both low and high potencies, but it is usually recommended in 30C potency three to four times a day as per the intensity of the pain.
2. Bryonia Alba – When Knee Pain Occurs On Movement And Gets Better By Taking Rest
It is the second most important medicine for knee arthritis sourced from the roots of plant ‘wild hops’. It is the most frequently recommended medicine for persons who experience knee pain with every little movement and only complete rest is comforting. Most times, they bear stitching type of pain while walking. The knee may be red and swollen as well.
When and How to use Bryonia Alba?
If the knee pain is restricting you from all kind of movements (as the slightest knee movement causes pain) while rest eases the pain, then this medicine is the best solution for you. You may take this remedy in 30C potency two to three times a day.
3. Apis Mellifica – For Painful Swollen Knee
This medicine is of great service in knee arthritis cases where pain in knee is accompanied by marked swelling. The nature of pain most of the time is of stinging/ shooting type. There is a burning sensation in the knee and is also sore (sensitive to touch).
When and How to use Apis Mellifica?
This medicine can be used when knee is swollen and painful with prominent stinging pain. To start with, one can take Apis Mellifica 30C twice or thrice a day and gradually reduce the dose when intensity seems to decline.
4. Benzoic Acid – For Knee Arthritis Due To High Uric Acid Level (Gout)
Benzoic Acid is the best prescription for managing knee arthritis and pain arising from high uric acid (gout). Those needing it complain of pain and swelling in the knee. Along with this, cracking sound emanates on moving the knees and dryness can be felt inside the knee.
When and How to use Benzoic Acid?
Consider it as a first remedy in case of knee inflammation, pain and swelling from high uric acid level. It usually works well in low power. It is usually recommended in 30C potency two to three times a day.
5. Osteo-Arthritic-Nosode – For Osteoarthritis Of Knee
Osteo-Arthritic-Nosode (OAN) is a homeopathic medicine prepared from the synovial fluid of an osteoarthritic knee. This medicine is a specific medicine to treat cases of osteoarthritis of knee. This medicine is known to relieve pain (especially at night) and stiffness in the joint (especially in the morning). It reduces knee swelling and also helps improve the range of joint movement.
When and How to use Osteo-Arthritic-Nosode?
It is mainly used as an intercurrent remedy, which means it is used in cases where improvement has come to a standstill, so it helps to remove any factors that are blocking further improvement. This medicine can be used in osteoarthritis as an intercurrent remedy to relieve joint pain, swelling and stiffness. It is mostly taken in 200C potency on weekly basis (means one dose once a week only). Do not exceed this dose.
6. Arnica – for complaints after injury
This medicine is the top most in the list to manage arthritis that might arise from an injury. It is highly effective to reduce swelling in the knee and pain which is sore and bruised type. Along with pain management, Arnica heals the injured areas of knee joint and decrease joint inflammation, and halts further progression of the complaint.
When and How to use Arnica Montana?
Any case presenting with knee arthritis, pain, swelling post-injury can be given this medicine without further delay. It can be taken in 30C potency three to four times a day depending on the intensity of pain.
Note Do not exceed use of any of these medicines in more than the recommended power and dose. You may continue these medicines for about a month. To use beyond that or to use high potencies, kindly consult a homeopathic physician.
Causes Of Knee Arthritis And Its Symptoms
Before learning the causes of knee arthritis, let us first review the structure of knee joint. Knee is the strongest and the most complex joint in the body. It is responsible for bearing body weight and movement. It is made of bones, meniscus, muscles, ligaments and tendons. The bones that can get affected in knee arthritis include lower end of thigh bone (femur), upper end of a bone in leg called tibia and knee cap called patella in front of knee. Between thigh bone and tibia, two meniscus are present. Meniscus are C-shaped tough, rubbery cartilages that work as a shock absorber and stabilize the joint and prevent direct rubbing of bones against each other. Knee joint is surrounded by synovial membrane that releases fluid to keep the joint lubricated and reduces friction on movement. Small fluid-filled sacs called bursa are present in the knee joint that function to decrease friction between knee tissues during movement. Any of these components of knee can be affected in case of knee arthritis.
Knee arthritis can happen due to various reasons but the major causes are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gouty arthritis and injury (post traumatic arthritis).
One of the most common causes of knee arthritis is osteoarthritis of the knee joint. Among the over 100 different types of arthritic conditions, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. This is most common in old and middle age. Osteoarthritis generally affects the weight-bearing joints such as the knee, but it may harm any other joint too.
What is the Cause and How does it affect the knee joint?
The real cause of osteoarthritis is not very clear. Medical researchers believe that it is due to a combination of factors that include aging, injury to the joint or stress, being overweight and genetic factors.
Osteoarthritis affects the knee joint by damaging the cartilage in the knee joint which slowly degenerates. Cartilage is made up of a protein substance that acts as a cushion between the bones of the joints. In advanced cases of osteoarthritis, the cartilage may disappear and the bones start rubbing against each other causing more pain. When bones start rubbing against each other, bony growth may occur around the joints.
Symptoms of knee osteoarthritis
In the initial stages of knee osteoarthritis, one may simply feel deep pain in the knee joint. As the problem advances, common symptoms include pain that is worse after an exercise session or weight bearing, swelling in the joint, limited movement of the knee joint, stiffness during periods of inactivity such as sleeping or sitting; cracking or grating sounds in the knee joint. As the damage to the knee joint worsens, the joint may become less movable and pain may occur even when the joint is at rest and can keep the person awake throughout the night.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
What is it? It is an autoimmune disorder resulting in joint pain, stiffness, swelling and decreased movement of joint. An autoimmune disorder means the immune cells start damaging the healthy tissue of the body due to a misdirected response. In most cases, RA starts from small joints but afterward affects large joints as well, including the knee. It tends to affect the same joint bilaterally (on both sides) at a given time.
Why and How it occurs?
The exact reason for it is not clear. However, it seems to begin from an interaction between genetic susceptibility (persons having HLA – DR1 and HLA – DR4 genes are at high risk of it) and environmental factors (some infection with virus, bacteria, smoking). In RA, inflammation occurs in the synovial lining of the synovial membrane and with progression causes destruction of the cartilage and the bone of the joint.
Signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
1. Knee pain and swelling
2. Knee stiffness worse in morning lasting for an hour with gradual relief as day progresses, and after inactivity
3. Heat and tenderness in knee joint
What is gout and Why does it occur?
Gout means inflammation of the joint due to high uric acid level. This type of arthritis arises when uric acid crystals (monosodium urate crystals) collect in the joint. These are needle-like crystals that trigger inflammation and swelling in the joint. Though commonly it affects the big toe joint but can occur in other joints as well, including knee.
Symptoms when gout attacks the knee
1. Knee pain
2. Knee swelling
3. Redness, warmth and tenderness on knee
4. Injuries (Post-Traumatic Arthritis)
Injury to knee joint can also trigger arthritis referred to as post-traumatic arthritis, which can result in osteoarthritis. It may begin after an injury to ligament, meniscus tear or broken bone. The wear and tear makes the knee joint unstable and puts extra pressure on the joint that may develop into arthritis later.
Some Lifestyle Modifications To Manage Knee Pain And Inflammation
These are summed below:
1. Manage weight: Being overweight puts excessive stress on the knees. It predisposes a person to osteoarthritis or makes it worse, if already suffering from it. Watch your diet and exercise to lose weight.
2. Stay active: If there is zero physical activity, it results in joint stiffness and muscle weakness. Though it is important to rest when the pain flares up, at other times be active. Do exercises that will help reduce knee stiffness and strengthen the muscles around the knees. Exercise only to a bearable extent, do not overdo it. Consult a physiotherapist for exercises that will suit and benefit you the most.
3. If possible, avoid squatting, climbing stairs, and lifting heavy weights.
4. Heat or cold application may help in pain relief. Find out which one suits you, then go ahead.
5. A cloth bandage around knee or knee brace can be used during movement.
6. Promote the use of food rich in omega 3 fatty acids (like fish, and walnuts). It helps to decline joint inflammation and relieve pain.
7. Control mental stress: Stress is known to release chemicals that lead to inflammation and worsen joint pain.
8. Reduce smoking, it prevents joint inflammation.