Pain in the joints is a very common complaint, ranging from mild to severe, which can incapacitate a person from doing daily chores.
What Causes Joint Pains?
Joint pains can occur due to various reasons as summed below:
1. Rheumatoid arthritis
It is an auto-immune disorder that causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and decreased movement of the joint. An auto-immune disorder means damage to the body’s healthy tissues by the immune cells out of a misdirected response. In rheumatoid arthritis, the lining of the joints is affected which can slowly lead to bone erosion and deformity. This disease tends to involve small joints (fingers in the majority of the cases) on both sides initially, and large joints may get affected with time. Joint deformity can appear in later stages. Primarily, it affects joints but later on can also affect other organs like eyes, lungs, heart, and skin as well. The most important symptom is stiffness in the joints on waking up in the morning lasting for an hour after which it gradually eases. Other symptoms are pain, swelling, warmth, and tenderness in joints.
It causes degeneration of the joints that occurs from wear and tear of the protective cartilage present at the end of the bones. Cartilage covers the surface of bones where they meet to form a joint. The cartilage in joints functions to allow smooth gliding movement of bones as the joint straightens or bends. Osteoarthritis mainly affects the knees, hips, hands, and spine. The symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain in joints, stiffness, swelling and tenderness at the joint, grating sensation when the affected joint moves, and decreased movement of the joint. Bone spurs (extra tiny outgrowth of bones over the end of bones) may form around affected joints.
It refers to the inflammation of joints that arises due to the accumulation of urate crystals in joints when uric acid levels increase in blood. It results in swelling, pain, redness, and tenderness of joints, especially the big toe.
4. Injury is also a common cause of joint pain. It can result from overuse of the affected joint, overstrained joint, sprains (caused by overstretching or tearing of ligaments that connect two bones in a joint), or fracture.
5. Ankylosing spondylitis
It is a type of arthritis (joint inflammation) affecting the joints of the spine. The most common joint involved in it is the sacroiliac joint (joint between the base of the spine and pelvis). The main symptoms are pain and stiffness in the lower back and hips. The pain is worse in the early morning and after periods of inactivity.
6. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis
It is a type of arthritis that affects children under the age of 16 years. It causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, and in some cases fever and rash on the trunk (any part of the body excluding limbs, neck, face, and head)
It refers to inflammation of the bursa (small fluid-filled sacs that cushion bones, muscles, and tendons near joints). It mostly affects the shoulders, hips, elbows, and knees. It causes pain in the joint (pain worsens from pressure or movement), stiffness of the joint swelling, and redness over the joint.
It means inflammation of tendons (bands that connect bones and muscles). It mainly happens from overuse and mostly affects heels, elbows, and shoulders.
9. Avascular necrosis (AVN)
It refers to dead bone tissue resulting from a lack of blood supply. Though anyone can be affected by it excessive use of steroids in high doses over a long period and excessive alcohol intake puts a person at risk. Though it can affect any bone, the head of the femur (a bone in the thigh) is the most commonly involved bone. In the early stage of AVN (Avascular necrosis), no symptoms may appear. As AVN progresses to further stages, pain in the affected joint begins usually on putting weight on it, later the pain may be even felt on lying down.
What Are The Symptoms?
Along with pain, there may occur stiffness and swelling in the joint. A grating sensation (harsh sound) on the movement of the joint may be felt at times. The affected joint may be sore from the inside and tender to touch from the outside which restricts the movement of the joint. This can lead to chronic joint deformities. If any kind of joint pain becomes severe, day-to-day activities get hindered. Due to joint pains, like rheumatoid arthritis, other organs like eyes, kidneys, and heart can also get affected and lead to a complication.
Who is at risk?
Though joint pains can affect anyone, some factors increase the risk:
A person with a family history of joint pains is at high risk
Injury to any joint
Overuse of joints
Lifestyle changes to manage joint pains
- Keep moving
– Do not keep sitting for long hours, take short breaks by walking or changing the sitting position often.
– Do gentle stretches daily to help reduce stiffness in joints. Do physical activity as much as your body allows. Keep a balance between activity and rest.
– Consult a physiotherapist to learn exercises that can help you deal with your condition. It will relieve you from pain, stiffness, and will increase the range of body motion, and will strengthen muscles.
2. Use correct posture while sitting, standing, lying, or walking.
3. Being overweight puts stress on the back, knees, and hips. Try to lose weight to manage joint pain.
4. Taking food rich in omega-3 fatty acids (like fish and walnuts) can decrease joint inflammation and also help in relieving pain. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables that contain antioxidants which help in the repair of body tissues may be beneficial.
5. If you have joint pains, avoid running, jumping, and activities involving repetitive motion like playing tennis.
6. Avoid smoking and alcohol.
7. Reduce mental stress as it releases chemicals that can cause inflammation and worsen joint pain. Meditation and yoga may prove helpful here.
Top Homeopathic Medicines for Joint Pains
1. Rhus Tox – For Severe Pain When the Patient Is At Rest, Gets Better On Movement
Rhus Tox is a physician’s first choice of prescription in cases of joint pain. It is prescribed when the joint pains are the most severe during rest and also on initial movement. However, it gets better after continuous movement. Although several other medicines treat this symptom, no other medicine does it better than this medicine.
Patients who need Rhus Tox, complain of heat, swelling, and stiffness in joints along with pain. Rhus Tox is also highly suitable to treat joint pains which are a result of overstraining, sprain, and injuries.
Dosage: Though it can be used in both low and high potencies, initially 30C potency is good to go. Rhus Tox 30C can be taken three to four times a day as per the intensity of the symptom. Keep away from using its high potencies without consulting a homeopathic physician.
2. Bryonia Alba – For Joint Pain Which Gets Worse By Movement, But Gets Better At Rest
Bryonia Alba though placed in second position is just as effective as Rhus Tox, but the symptoms a person shows are different. Bryonia Alba is chiefly recommended when the pain increases by even the slightest movement and is relieved by complete rest. The joint pain may be stitching (local, sharp, sudden pain) or tearing (intense) type. Along with pain, joints can be red, hot, and swollen.
Dosage: Though it can be used in low or high power, it is mostly used in 30 C power. Bryonia 30C can be taken twice or thrice a day.
3. Arnica Montana – For Joint Pain After Injury; Overstrained Joints
Sourced from the plant ‘leopard’s bane’, it is the most prescribed medicine to manage joint pain from injury or overstrained joints. Persons needing it usually complain of sore bruised pain in joints as if beaten. They fear touching the affected joints because of intense soreness.
Dosage: It can be used in 30C potency three or four times a day initially, gradually decreasing the dose once relief sets in.
4. Actaea Spicata – For Pain In Small Joints, Especially Wrist
This natural remedy sourced from the root of the plant ‘baneberry’ is highly effective for pain in small joints, especially the wrist. The wrist becomes swollen and red with pain. It is also beneficial for relieving pain in other small joints as well, including ankles, fingers, and toes.
Dosage: One may use this medicine in 30C potency, once or twice a day for good results.
5. Colchicum Autumnale – For Joint Pain Caused By Gout
It is one of the best remedies for treating joint pain due to gout (joint Inflammation from high uric acid levels). It can be given to treat pain in any joint, but mostly helps if there is pain in the big toe due to high uric acid. There is unbearable pain if touched and the pain aggravates in the evening. This medicine also helps in managing joint pain that is shifting in nature, which means the pain keeps shifting from one joint to another. The pain gets worse at night.
Dosage: It may be used in 30 C potency once or twice a day.