The patient: “Randolph” is an active retiree in his late 60’s who had been troubled with rheumatism in his left knee, which was uncomfortably swollen.

Why he came to see me: Randolph wanted to inquire if there were any “more attractive” solutions to heal his knee other than draining fluids and taking drugs, which he was averse to.

How I evaluated him: I reviewed the medical records from Randolph’s primary care doctor and rheumatologist and discussed the findings with him. Other than the bothersome knee, he had no other sites of rheumatic arthritis and all his bloodwork came back entirely normal, including a negative “RF” finding. That made me suspect of his rheumatism diagnosis. While the X-ray of his knee showed some fluid accumulation, there were none of the changes that one would expect from an advancing autoimmune disease like systemic rheumatoid arthritis. That made me even more skeptical of his rheumatism diagnosis.

How we addressed his problem: I explained to Randolph that much of the immune dysregulation that may prompt the array of autoimmune pathologies, like rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, lupus, Grave’s disease, etc. starts in the gut, particularly in the large intestine. So, I worked with him on improving his diet—increasing raw and lightly cooked food, fruits and veggies, and dark berries…and decreasing fried and grilled meats and processed foods. I prescribed supplements to enhance gastrointestinal function as well as prebiotics and probiotics to improve his microbiota (intestinal bacteria).

After a month on the regime, his knee improved remarkably but he developed a “lump” behind the knee, off to one side. A simple X-ray proved this to be a Baker’s cyst (named after William Morrant Baker, a 19th Century London surgeon who first described it) that had been produced by the knee’s joint capsule in an attempt to remove the excess synovial (joint) fluid. I told him that topical applications containing certain botanical extracts assisted by phonophoresis (ultrasound) could enable the cyst to dislodge completely and move to the surface. 

The patient’s progress: Sure enough, the cyst rose to directly under the skin after a few treatments and then ruptured to the outside (like a big pimple), draining the encased fluid that had been bothering his knee. After this, he reported feeling completely better and shared the story with his other physicians. I think that we were all equally wowed by this resolution and the body’s ability to participate in healing. For more with Andrew Rubman, ND, check out his video series, Nature Doc’s Natural Cures and podcast.