Avascular Necrosis (AVN) refers to death of bone cells due to interruption in blood supply. Since there is no blood supply to the bone, the bone breaks and finally collapses. AVN can involve almost any bone of the body, but it mostly affects hip joints, knees and shoulder joints. It is also known by other names like osteonecrosis, bone infarction and ischemic bonce necrosis. Unbearable pain in the bones is the biggest symptom of AVN.
Homeopathy is of great help in the treatment of Avascular Necrosis. The homeopathic treatment for Avascular Necrosis uses the body’s own restorative process to heal. They work on two fronts: they halt the destruction of bones because of interrupted blood supply, and reduce the pain because of bone damage. Both these aims are accomplished by the use of natural medicines, which have zero side effects and are completely safe. The medicines are selected after taking into account the proper case history of the patient. Medicines are prescribed based on the bone involved, the kind of bone pain and other peculiar symptoms in each individual case.
Top Homeopathic medicines for AVNThe top recommended homeopathic medicines for treating AVN are Syphilinum, Strontium Carb, Natrum Sulph, Fluoric Acid, Asafoetida and Silicea.
1. Syphilinum – For Bone Pains At Night
Syphilinum is well known for its beneficial action on body tissues wherever the destructive process is present. Apart from its universal healing action to stop the destruction of body tissues, Syphilinum is of great help in treating bone necrosis. The most dominant feature for selecting Syphilinum in any given case of AVN is the worsening of bone pains at night. The person feels pain throughtout the night and is unable to sleep. The pains may compel the patient to walk which seems to bring relief. The person feels relatively better during the day. Another marked symptom that can help in selecting Syphilinum for AVN cases is a specific pattern regarding the appearance and disappearance of pains. The pattern followed is a gradual increase in bone pains and in the same way, a gradual disappearance of pains. The third symptom that may be present in a few AVN patients needing Syphilinum is worsening of pain because of heat and some relief by applying cold water. History of excessive alcoholism may be present in persons requiring Syphilinum.
2. Strontium Carb – For Avascular Necrosis of Femoral (bone in thigh) Bone
Strontium Carb is a natural remedy recommended for cases of AVN of femoral bone. Those needing it have worsening of pain due to cold air. Besides AVN, it is a prominent medicine to deal with cases of weak and brittle bones prone to break easily.
3. Natrum Sulph – For Hip Joint Necrosis
Natural remedy Natrum Sulph should always be considered in cases of AVN of the hip joint. Natrum Sulph is one of the most beneficial medicines when dealing with hip joint AVN. The patient mainly complains of pain during movement or in a stooping position.
4. Fluoric Acid – For AVN of Long Bones
Fluoric Acid is most effective for the necrosis of long bones. The bones include humerus (bone in the upper arm), femur (bone in the thigh) and tibia (bone in front of the leg). Fluoric Acid is mainly used to halt necrosis appearing in long bones. The persons needing Fluoric Acid usually have excess body heat and the external heat worsens the condition. Apart from long bones, necrosis of the bones of the ear (which are rarely involved) are also covered under Fluoric Acid, which helps in improving the blood circulation and prevents further necrosis of bones.
5. Asafoetida – For Necrosis Of Tibia
Asafoetida is wonderful medicine for AVN of tibia (bone in the leg). There is worsening of pain at night along with over-sensitivity in bones. The bone pain can be darting, sharp or stitching in nature.
6. Silicea – For Necrosis Of Bones
Silicea is considered among the best natural medicines for necrosis (premature death of cells) of a variety of bones ranging from long to small bones. The necrosis of jaw, wrist bones, hand bones, feet bones, ankle, knees and long bones —including humerus (bone in the upper arm), femur (bone in the thigh) and tibia (bone in front of leg) — are the sites of action for using Silicea. The general symptom for using Silicea is sensitivity to cold air when bone pain worsens even from the slightest exposure to cold air. Warmth brings relief.
7. Aurum Metallicum – For Necrosis Of Nasal, Palatine Bones
Aurum Metallicum is a natural remedy that is very beneficial in the treatment for necrosis in nasal and palatine bones. The mastoid bone is also the site that benefits from the use of Aurum Met. The patient complains of pains at night and may suffer from extremely offensive odor from the mouth and nose along with pain. The patient may also feel depressed with a high degree of sadness.
8. Symphytum – For Bone Damage In Fracture
Natural medicine Symphytum is very beneficial as a remedy for bone-related complaints. Symphytum can be considered in all cases where the bone has suffered damage following fracture. It helps in proper knitting of the bone. It helps by providing the necessary callous material needed for bone reformation. So, in every case of fracture where Symphytum is used, it acts as a preventive agent against necrosis as the bone is very neatly and efficiently woven by this medicine.
9. Phosphorus – For AVN Of Jaw
Phosphorus is an effective remedy for treating lower jaw AVN. It is of great help when the lower jaw is affected due to lack of blood supply. However, a special mention must be made that Phosphorus is used in match factories and some persons may have acquired the disease due to working in match factories and inhaling Phosphorus fumes for a long duration. Here also Phosphorus is recommended.
10. Hekla Lava – For Decay Of Jaw With Marked Pains
Hekla Lava is s top natural remedy for Avascular Necrosis of the jaw when the jaw destruction is accompanied by marked facial nerve pain.
Symptoms Of AVN
In the beginning, no symptom is noticed by the patient. Gradually when the blood cells start dying, pain is felt in the affected joint. For example, in case of AVN of hip joint, pain may be felt in groin, thigh or buttock. Initially pain is felt when the joint is put under pressure. In case of hip or knee AVN, walking, standing and stair climbing become difficult. Limping occurs while walking. As the condition reaches the most advanced stage, pain in the affected joint increases in intensity due to small breaks in the bone and pain becomes a constant feature. Other symptoms include stiffness of joint and limited range of joint movement. When the condition has worsened excessively, then the bone can collapse. Bone collapse makes one unable to use the joint. The symptoms of AVN may occur on both sides of the body. In jaw AVN, pain in jaw along with pus can be present.
Bones prone to AVN
Avascular Necrosis can involve almost any bone of the body, but it mostly affects hip joints, knees and shoulder joints. The bones mainly involved are the head of the femur (a bone in the thigh extending between the hip and the knee), humerus (bone in upper arm extending between shoulder and elbow), scaphoid bone (bone in wrist), jaw and ankles.
Cause And Risk Factors Behind AVN
1. Injury / trauma: The main cause of AVN is an injury or trauma that reduces or stops blood supply to the bone. For example, joint dislocation of fracture. 2. Smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol increases the risk of AVN. 3. Excessive use of steroid medication like prednisone for prolonged time period also makes a person prone to develop AVN. The reason is that these medicines can raise lipids (fat substance) in blood that cause the blockage of small blood vessels. 4. Exposure to radiations, chemotherapy and bisphosphonate therapy used in the treatment of bone cancer and Osteoporosis makes a person prone to AVN. 5. Decompression sickness/caisson disease (a medical condition in which bubbles form in blood of a person from rapid decrease in surrounding pressure), and Leg – Calve Perthes disease (a condition occurring in childhood from interruption of blood supply to the head of femur of hip joint) 6. Having high cholesterol, HIV infection, Rheumatoid Arthritis, high blood pressure, sickle cell anemia (Inherited disorder affecting shape of red blood cells. The red blood cells become sickle shaped that can slow blood flow),leukemia (cancer of blood), Gaucher disease (disease occurring from buildup of fatty substance in certain organs), kidney transplant are other risk factors. 7. Sometimes AVN occurs without any cause, for eg. spontaneous AVN in knee (known as SPONK) 8. Chances of AVN are more in men as compared to women. 9. Persons aged between 30 yrs to 60 yrs are at most risk though it can occur in person of any age group
If AVN is left untreated, then the condition keeps getting worse and finally may result in bone collapse. Secondly, it can lead to severe arthritis.
Diagnosis And Investigations
1. MRI and CT scanThese tests are most valuable to check and confirm AVN. These tests can reveal early bone changes in AVN cases.
2. X-rayAn X-ray shows changes in the bone only in later stages of AVN. For checking early AVN, X-rays are not helpful to detect any bone changes.
3. Bone scan (Bone scintigraphy)In this test, a radioactive substance is injected via a vein before doing scan. After that bone scan is done to see the injured areas of bone.
1. Avoid smoking and limit alcohol use 2. Keep a check on cholesterol levels 3. Avoid excessive steroid use