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Psoriatic Arthritis

Hello! I'm a mother of two in her early thirties who's struggling with psoriatic arthritis. My psoriasis developed when I was 12 (right after chicken pox) and it is mostly on my scalp. After my second child was born, I started to get arthritis pain in my right middle toe and over the course of 8 months it spread to almost every joint in my body. My rheumatologist prescribed methotrexate which I took for a year but then I decided to go off it and seek homeopathic treatment. In the last two months, my arthritis has become almost unbearable - my knees are the worst but it's also in my elbows, thumbs and feet. I am also very tired, suffering brain fog and having a difficult time concentrating. I'm in so much pain that I have to wake up in the middle of the night to take pain medication just so I can get out of bed and get my kids off to school. My homeopath and I are having a hard time finding a remedy to bring some relief. Perhaps there is some critical information I'm not relaying to her. I was hoping I could find some other remedy suggestions. Thanks for your consideration.
  Emad2011 on 2011-11-07
This is just a forum. Assume posts are not from medical professionals.
Sounds like a difficult case.

Let me post my intake form.


It is important to describe all your problems in as much detail as you are able. One word answers and short sentences are not particularly helpful. Discuss each problem one at a time, providing (as a minimum level of detail) the following information.

Please do not answer each of the following questions by placing all your problems in each one. Each of these questions needs to be answered for each problem eg. For you headaches answer 1-7, then for your reflux answer 1-7 and so on.

1. What exactly happens?
2. Describe all sensations and pains. Each pain or sensation should be described in such a way that allows us to imagine having the same pain. Be descriptive, be imaginative.
3. What causes the problem to get worse after it has started occurring?
4. What creates some relief for the problem?
5. What triggers the problem into occurring?
6. What time of the day or night does the problem occur?
7. When did the problem start? What was happening in your life at that time? Did some specific event or treatment take place just before the problem started?

Move from one problem to the next, doing the same thing. IT IS VITAL THAT YOU GIVE A COMPLETE PICTURE OF YOUR HEALTH BY PROVIDING ALL PROBLEMS YOU HAVE, EVEN IF NOT CONNECTED TO THE MAIN ONE, AND EVEN IF YOU CONSIDER IT OF LESS IMPORTANCE. You should address each problem separately using the above 7 questions as a guide.

As well as this, please describe any traumatic incidents that have taken place in your life. Discuss anything that has had a lasting impact on you mentally, emotionally or physically.

Discuss the way that you manage or deal with your problems, or any problems that occur in your life.

Discuss any patterns you have noticed in your behavior especially concerning your disease.

Discuss your character, looking primarily at those things about yourself which seem to make your life difficult.

Discuss any part of your life where you feel stuck or unable to change and grow, especially where this occurred around the beginning of your disease, or as the disease evolved.

Describe your childhood and the kind of environment you grew up in, with reference to your relationships with your family, your school experiences, and any serious childhood diseases. Your parents may need to help you answer these questions.

If your earlier discussions have not mentioned these already, please describe:

1. The specific foods that you crave (not just like) or hate
2. The specific drinks that you crave or hate
3. What your sleep is like
4. How the weather and the temperature affects you
5. What kinds of things in the environment you are particularly sensitive to
6. What your general level of energy is like
7. What your level of sexual energy or desire is like
8. Describe your menstrual cycle

I will probably have more questions for you after that.

I also need to know what homoeopathic remedies you have taken in the past, and what the results were.

David Kempson
Professional Classical Homoeopath
brisbanehomoeopath last decade
Thanks for replying so quickly. I'll do my best to be thorough.

1. The pain is worst in the mornings. Without pain medication, I wake up and can barely move. I walk in short steps stiffly and can barely bend over. If I'm not moving, I'm not in pain. My joints feel warm to touch and are swollen. I have pools of swelling around both knees. My psoriasis is bad on my scalp, severely itchy.
2. The pain is sharp and seering. Sometimes, I have to let out little yelps if I'm forced to move in a way that is especially painful. I can't put any weight on my knees to crouch down or step up onto higher ground. The only way I can get up is to use my wrists (which luckily don't have any arthritis in them right now).
3. The problem gets worse after periods of rest (sleep, sitting down, etc.) When I get up it's like my joints are stiff again from not being used.
4. Motion creates some relief though too much motion (walking) leads to a fatigue type of pain in my knees(dull soreness).
5. The problem has been on-going for two months and getting worse and worse. I remember my arthritis starting to get bad after going for a long walk outside and returning with itchy hives on my arms.
6. The problem is around all the time though it is definitely worse in the morning.
7. The original bout of arthritis started 4 months after my son was born. It started in my toe and worked itself upwards. My son was extremely colicky during his first three months and I was having some difficulties bonding with him (he's been diagnosed this year with autism).

Traumatic incidents include two extra-marital affairs (by my spouse) and a suicide attempt by a parent.

I tend to deal with most problems by recognizing my own failures or short-comings rather than blaming others. I tend to mull over my problems in my own head than discuss them with others. I almost feel too exhausted and tired to talk about issues with others.

I am very routine driven. I tend to do the exact same thing every day, eat only certain meals, have a love of sleep where I nap every day and every morning I wake up already looking forward to my daily nap. Lately, I've had a loss of appetite (especially for supper). I can't sit still. I pick at things (zits, blackheads, my psoriasis) and I chew my nails and cuticles.

I tend to put others ALWAYS before myself. I almost feel like I don't have a self and that my life purpose is to serve others. I have a hard time saying no. I used to be almost phobic about people thinking bad things about me but I've made peace with that. Lately, I've been feeling too sick to keep up with all the committments but I feel bad about backing out of them. I put a lot of pressure on myself to keep up and have a hard time asking for help. I usually drive myself to the point of severe depression before people notice that I'm struggling.

I had wanted to go back to work in September but this is when my illness started up. I didn't really know what I wanted to do but I thought about going back to school. My husband didn't seem to be 'on-board' with this decision but I don't fight for anything when it comes to me. Now, I just feel like it's impossible to do anything but manage my disease and look after the needs of my autistic son.

I grew up in a loving home and we did a lot together as a family but I didn't have many meaningful conversations with my parents. We didn't talk about our problems. I was a gifted student who made good grades and went to university on scholarship. I was always fearful of not living up to my teacher's expectations but I wasn't really thirsty for knowledge. I was book smart and able to memorize. I would rather not attempt an exam if I didn't feel I was ready (I would seek a doctor's note). Basically, I was afraid of failing people's expectations and letting people down. Even now, I still have 'nightmares' of being in school and not being prepared for an exam.

1. I *used* to crave salty foods (chips) but my cravings have disappeared as my arthitis has gotten worse.
2. I crave coffee in the mornings. I don't have thirst - I could go most of the day without drinking but I force myself to drink. I don't like cold drinks. Besides coffee, I drink only water or warm herbal teas.
3. My sleep is OK. I'm awake several times throughout the night but able to fall asleep again quickly. I used to sleep poorly but I discovered that I sleep better if I avoid dairy in the evenings.
4. Cloudy rainly weather makes me gloomy and tired. I am cold ALL THE TIME. I wear a housecoat over my clothes all day. Can't seem to ever get warm (though I eventually get warm in bed).
5. Environmental sensitities? To coldness I suppose.
6. General energy is LOW.
7. Sexual desire is none.
8. Menstrual cycle is long and slightly varied (usually 30 something days). Menses is typically lighter flow and usually only bright red the first day. Otherwise it's dark and musty smelling. No real cramping (maybe mild the first day).

Homeopathic remedies tried thus far: Bryonia, Medorrhinum, Pulsatilla, Ledum, Causticum, Belladonna (which worked for a previous bout of arthritis in June), Arsenicum.

Let me know if you need any additional information.
Emad2011 last decade
Ok lets dig deeper into this.

Firstly expand on the pains and sensations. I need to get a more colourful description of them. Use images, use your imagination. Use other words to describe it. If I wanted to imagine it happening to me, what would I have to do to myself or have done to me?





Can you also describe more on the sensation of it spreading - how it has done that, what has been your experience of the spreading?

Describe the brain fog more.

When the pain is at its worst, what is it like for you, what are you like, what do you think and feel?

Describe in more detail the dreams where you are not prepared for an exam.

When you say you do the exact same thing every day, is that also as the exact same time.

Tell me about routine. Tell about things that break your routine. What are you like then?

Describe more on the exhaustion.

What is the experience of 'not having a self'?

What is the experience of asking for help?

What is the experience of saying 'no' to others?

Describe more on the experience of people thinking badly of you? What specifically were you sensitive to in this regard?

How do you manage your disease and your son?

What does it mean to let people down?

That will do for the moment. As you can see there is a lot to explore in your case. Let's see what it brings out.

brisbanehomoeopath last decade
The pain is quick, sharp and fleeting (lasts only for a second or two). Piercing may also be another good word for it. Have you ever sprained an ankle? Imagine having to go through life with multiple sprains. The pain isn't halting enough to stop you (as if a bone were broken) but every move becomes pre-meditated and carefully thought out. It starts in the centre of the joint and then radiates outwards slightly. It can also induce a brief twinge of nausea. When my knees are fatigued it feels like I've been sitting down with my legs propped up on a coffee table and someone's stacked a bunch of text books on my knees hyperextending them downwards. Imagine how this would feel after standing up.

The sensation of spreading? From one to multiple joints? I think it happens ever so gradually that I don't even notice it until I try to move in such a way that I get a sharp, piercing pain. All I feel is pain. It's like I can't even isolate it anymore.

The brain fog feels like I can't concentrate on what I'm trying to do. I skim through documents because my brain gets tired of trying to follow and process all the data. I used to double or triple check important dates to make sure they weren't missed and now I don't even bother. I missed my daughter's picture day at school because I didn't bother to re-check the date. Normally, I would be on top of these things.

When the pain is at it's worst I can barely move. I shuffle around like a stiff robot and the stairs are almost impossible to climb. My mind is consumed with keeping my movements slight in order to minimize pain and I sometimes resent the fact that my husband (who is quite able-bodied) stays in bed while I have to struggle to even move. It's like I finally feel some emotion and think 'What about me?' even though I don't say it outloud.

My dream about not being prepared for exams usually start with flashes of the semester flying by and I'm seeing all the work pile on but I'm pre-occupied with other things going on. It's like I'll forget that I'm in school and then something will trigger my memory and I'm like 'Oh yeah! That paper was assigned a month ago and I haven't even read the book yet!' Then a panic sets in along with the realization that it can't be done in time. Sometimes, the dream is that I'm in class and the teacher says 'Exam time' and I'm caught off guard like I had no idea. Once again, the panic sets in. I never see the end results of these dreams - perhaps because I'm scared of failure? I actually had a dream last night where my husband and I planned to renew our vows in an elaborate ceremony. We invited guests, rented a hall, I got a dress (i.e. the whole nine yards). Then, while I'm attempting to get ready for the ceremony, I keep making these drastic mistakes applying my make-up and I have to keep starting over. Meanwhile, it's getting later and later and the guests are waiting. I feel pressure to go quickly but I keep messing up. I feel awful that the guests are waiting yet at the same time I want my moment to put on my dress and feel beautiful. Finally, I spill a bottle of maekup all over my dress and throw in the towel. I'm feeling like an utter loser who wasted a tonne of money and has to cancel the ceremony.

I don't think the exact time is as important as the routine. Though, I usually make sure my nap is started between 1 and 2 PM. When things break my routine it's like I have to say 'it's OK, it's OK' over and over in my head. I don't fly off the handle and get grumpy or upset. I'm a little thrown off maybe and need a period to re-adjust.

The exhaustion makes me feel like all day long like I've just woken up. My eye-lids feel heavy like I have to exert effort just to keep them open. I'm also too tired to talk about issues or how I'm feeling. If my husband attempts to talk about these things I just sit there silently.

The experience of not having a self is like I've become apathetic towards everything. I no longer have an opinion or fight for my own needs/desires (though I don't even know if I have any anymore - besides sleep). I don't get angry or cry. Everyone else's needs come first and I just function to accomodate everyone else. Mind you, I'm always thinking about people in my life and trying to figure out their motives for their behaviour or what I could do to better myself, or my relationship with God (I'm a Christian) but these discussions never leave my mind.

Gosh, this is difficult to be so personally reflective when I'm struggling with brain fog and lack of focus.

I don't ask for help when it comes to my life or my problems on a personal level. I just go and go until I burn out and usually end up crying. However, I can separate this type of help from help I need with specific task (i.e. organizing something for the church). I have no problem asking for help in those types of matters.

I almost never say 'no' to others. At least not right away. I always figure that 'my stuff' is less important so I'll do it another time (and I end up trying to cram in all my stuff once the kids are in bed). I don't think that I CAN'T say no but if it's in my capacity to do it then I feel like I can truly do it. I also feel some guilt like if I don't do it, who will? However, being sick these last couple months is finally making me feel like I can't keep all my committments. Yet, here I am two months later still thinking 'THIS is the week I'm going to get better'.

In regards to being sensitive to people thinking badly of me, I think I figured it out that I was actually feeling bad about myself. I was selfish and unresponsible and on some level I was feeling guilty about that. It's like I knew the truth about myself and knew that I couldn't keep it hidden from people. I finally committed to 'do the right thing' even if it was difficult. Now I don't mind so much what people think because if I know I did the right thing and they STILL think poorly of me, I have no control over that.

How do I manage my disease and my son? I'm not really sure what you mean by that.

What does it mean to let people down? I beat myself up in those inner conversations I have in my head. You shoulda done this, you could've said that.
Emad2011 last decade
How do you manage being sick, how do you cope, what do you do to live with it? Same with your son's problems as well. I am trying to understand the way in which your typically and consciously manage things in your life.
brisbanehomoeopath last decade
I tend to be very proactive - why do you think I joined this forum :) I scour the internet and devour books for answers because I've lost faith in medical doctors. I implemented several interventions for my son as well as seeking out our current Heilkunst homeopath and starting treament for him. I've tried many supplements, creams, home remedies to assist with my pain (based on my research). My son has been expelling worms in his diapers lately which made me wonder if I could have parasites as well. Sure enough, I discovered that parasites can lead to joint pain and skin rashes and brain fog so I'm doing a parasite cleanse (and yes, I'm seeing parasites in my stool). I'm not convinced that this is the sole source of my problem though.

I'm actually obsessed lately with the poor health of children these days. My ears always perk up when I hear someone talking about a child with autism, OCD, ADHD, ear infections, etc. This would be another conversation that plays over and over in my head. Trying to piece together all the mysteries of why this generation is so ill.
Emad2011 last decade
This might sound crazy but I just had this thought. As my son is healing from his autism and starting to inhabit his 'body,' developing his sense of self and interacting with this physical world; I seem to be losing my sense of self. My mind is very much active but my physical self is more like a robot going through the motions of life.

Crazy, I know.
Emad2011 last decade
Ok good good. Can you expand on ....

Losing my sense of self

Robot going through the motions
brisbanehomoeopath last decade
Hmmmm, losing my sense of self. I just put everyone's needs before my own. Sometimes, I have suggestions for things I'd like to do but they're always with 'question marks' at the end in case nobody else wants to do it or if other people already have plans of their own. I used to silently seethe over this, but now it's like I'm a VOLUNTARY doormat. A couple of years ago, I used to stand up for myself more but I feel like my emotions are becoming more and more muted. It's like I'm apathetic and too tired to fight for matters that used to upset me. Does that make sense? This sort of ties into the robot comment. My husband calls me a robot because my emotions stay neutral all the time. I don't get angry, I rarely cry (if I do, it's over my children), I don't compliment my husband, very little excites me, I don't get the same level of pleasure out of things like good food anymore. It's like my body is too exhausted to give a crap even though my mind is fine.
Emad2011 last decade
Ok this looks very much like an acid remedy. The Acids all display profound exhaustion and indifference. The theme of the life of an Acid person is that once in the past things had colour, flavour, interest, passion, but over time or ever since some specific event, things have diminished considerably. Eventually they feel flat, apathetic, burned out, wasted, uncaring, and everything becomes a real struggle.

We have a few Acid remedies - the kind of event or struggle or the kind of life the person lived before the exhaustion set in often helps decide. I may ask myself (or the patient) 'what exactly exhausted you?'.

The common ones are Fluoric acid, Muriatic acid, Phosphoric acid, Carbolic acid, Picric acid, Acetic acid, Butyric acid, Gallic acid, Hydrocynanic acid, Nitromuriatic acid, Salicylic acid, Sulphuric acid, Tannic acid.

There are some other well known remedies for exhaustion and indifference though - Carbo-veg, Sepia, Conium, Carbo-an, Stannum amongst others. On top of that, the DOORMAT remedy is Folliculinum (the medicine we make from the contraceptive pill).

Looking through the materia medica, I would suggest Phosphoric acid first but we may need to fine tune that choice later.

PHOS-AC symptoms:

Debility is very marked in this remedy
Nervous exhaustion
Mental debility
Affects the emotions especially
Weakness is very marked
Slowness of mind
Cold (snowy) air aaggravates

Listless, Impaired memory
Can't collect his thoughts or find the right word
Difficult comprehension
Quiet, unwilling to speak
Indifferent to everything
Ailments from unequal struggling
Brain fag
Broods over his condition
Indifferent to those things that used to interest her the most
Mild, yielding disposition
Wants to be left alone
Vanishing of thoughts, on reading

Arthritic pains in limbs bought on by least cold
Limbs feel weak

Heaviness and paralytic sensations, worse on commencing to walk after sitting or resting, better with continued motion

Burning pains, swelling of joints
Soreness of the body and limbs worse in the morning

Generally aggravated by Fatigue, Unhappy love, Drafts, Cold, Exertion,

Cannot bear cold, cold aggravates many symptoms.

Phos-ac people are debilitated by Loss of fluids (theory here - birth might result in excessive loss of blood, or breast feeding can be the trigger); Long sucession of grief, care or disappointed affections; Bad news.

I would start with Ph-ac 200c.


Firstly, you need to create a separate dosing bottle. Get a bottle with a dropper, 15-30mls in size, and fill it with a mixture of water and alcohol (5 parts to 1 part). Dissolve 2-4 granules or 2-4 drops of the medicine you bought from the pharmacy into this mixture. Your doses will be made from this bottle.

Hit the bottle firmly against the palm of your hand, or another elastic surface like a book. It should be a firm hit not a tap. 2 hits is enough to begin with, and should not be increased unless it is clear that it is needed. The water in this bottle will 'remember' the number of times you have hit it, so that subsequent doses will be stronger (necessary to overcoming the resistance of your disease).

Place 1 drop into an amount of water - I may start with anything from 1/4-1 full cup (62ml-250ml) depending on the sensitivity of the patient. Stir thoroughly and take 1 teaspoon into the mouth. Throw the rest of the cup away.

This is one dose. Repeat doses would be started from the 2 hits on the bottle.

Each step of this process can be adjusted to reduced aggravation or to increase the effect of the medicine. In order to be able to do this, it is important to measure each step (count the hits, the drops, measure the water etc).

Use 1/2 cup of water to start with, and take one dose only (not one dose a day).
[message edited by brisbanehomoeopath on Tue, 15 Nov 2011 22:51:05 GMT]
brisbanehomoeopath last decade
Thank you for your time and your thoughtful advice.

I think it's funny that the doormat remedy comes from the contraceptive pill because my recent bout with athritis started around the same time that I stopped taking the pill. Any chance that's related? Perhaps not but this is something that I had considered and then waved off as being inconsequential.
Emad2011 last decade
Well, that IS interesting. It could be very relevent - let's see how things go and we can keep that in mind for future directions.
brisbanehomoeopath last decade

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Information given in this forum is given by way of exchange of views only, and those views are not necessarily those of ABC Homeopathy. It is not to be treated as a medical diagnosis or prescription, and should not be used as a substitute for a consultation with a qualified homeopath or physician. It is possible that advice given here may be dangerous, and you should make your own checks that it is safe. If symptoms persist, seek professional medical attention. Bear in mind that even minor symptoms can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition, and a timely diagnosis by your doctor could save your life.