The virus plays havoc with the body and the pain may persist for months
“I t was another fine morning at the office, peering at the computer when I found that I had a cramping pain in the knee when I wanted to move to the restroom. I imagined it to be due to last evening's game but as the day progressed it was impossible to move and the night that followed was bad with fever and chills.” These lines have been the narration of many a patient this season suffering with Chikungunya.
All seems to be well in relieving the patient of the fever and chills but the pain that afflicts the joints continuing for months together has been a matter of concern as it is debilitating and frustrating.
The Chikungunya virus causes the typical fever with severe joint pain and rash.
The fever is mitigated within a span of 24-48 hours with simple homoeopathic medicines; it is the pain in the joints that has been a cause for concern. The virus spreads from one person to the other through the mosquito Aedes aegypti and finds haven in even little puddles and what is worse it is active, biting even during daytime.
Once in the body, within a week the fever develops, or sometimes as a prelude, there is pain in the joints. The virus that takes over has a ride on the immune mechanism and the body's defences come to the fore by eliminating the viruses and the symptoms of the viral illness go away. But the mechanism during the course of elimination also produces an effect on the joints, i.e the arthritis.
Even after the virus is eliminated the changes in the joints continue to cause pain, swelling and stiffness of the joints. The worst part is that more than one joint of the body could be affected and what has been typical of the chikungunya arthritis on this occasion is that even as the pain in the joints is being mitigated it reappers in the other joints of the body.
Research shows that this joint pain could remain even for a year and in a percentage of people more than that period of time. Such debilitating pain also tends to confuse the healthcare providers as the arthritis mimics many an autoimmune disorder like Rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, fibromyalgia, psoriatic arthritis etc. It is only when certain investigations are done to rule out the other kinds of arthritis does it dawn that it is very likely to be viral arthritis precipitated by the Chikungunya virus.
More often than not, degenerative changes in the joints do not happen.
To start with fluids, rest and specific medicines for the fever like Ars alb, Eupa perf, Baptisia, Gelsemium, Rhus tox are helpful to see away the fever.
And when the pain in the joints remains or take over it is the turn of remedies like Bryonia, Rhus tox, Actea racemosa, Mag phos, Stellaria, Guiacum and Piper methysticum which would help in relieving the pain, swelling and stiffness of the joints. As and when warranted more deeper acting remedies like Ledum pal, Pulsatilla, Lycopodium and Ruta are indicated.DR. VENUGOPAL GOURI