Osteoarthritis in Ayurveda
Ayurveda for Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a very common condition which can affect any joint in the body. It’s most likely to affect the joints that bear most of our weight, such as the knees and feet. Joints that we use a lot in everyday life, such as the joints of the hand, are also commonly affected. In a healthy joint, a coating of tough but smooth and slippery tissue, called cartilage, covers the surface of the bones and helps the bones to move freely against each other. When a joint develops osteoarthritis, part of the cartilage thins and the surface becomes rougher. This means the joint doesn’t move as smoothly as it should.
Causes of Osteoarthritis
Though the exact causes of osteoarthritis are not known, factors that can increase your risk of osteoarthritis include:
- Older age: The risk of osteoarthritis increases with age.
- Sex: Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis, though it isn’t clear why.
- Obesity: Carrying extra body weight contributes to osteoarthritis in several ways, and the more you weigh, the greater your risk. Increased weight adds stress to weight-bearing joints, such as your hips and knees. Also, fat tissue produces proteins that can cause harmful inflammation in and around your joints.
- Joint injuries: Injuries, such as those that occur when playing sports or from an accident, can increase the risk of osteoarthritis. Even injuries that occurred many years ago and seemingly healed can increase your risk of osteoarthritis.
- Repeated stress on the joint: If your job or a sport you play places repetitive stress on a joint, that joint might eventually develop osteoarthritis.
- Genetics: Some people inherit a tendency to develop osteoarthritis.
- Bone deformities: Some people are born with malformed joints or defective cartilage.
- Certain metabolic diseases: These include diabetes and a condition in which your body has too much iron
Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis symptoms develop gradually and deteriorate over time. Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
- Pain in affected joints.
- Stiffness in joints.
- Tenderness in affected joints.
- Loss of flexibility.
- Grating sensation.
- Bone spurs.
- Swelling around the joints.
The Ayurvedic Explanation
According to ayurveda, vata is the governing factor in the maintenance of equilibrium in the universe as well as in the body. Aggravation of vata in the bones & bone-marrow dry joints and gives rise to cracking of bones & joints, piercing pain in the joints diminution of muscle tissue & strength, causing weakness and pain. As age advances, the influence of vata dosha progresses, resulting in the process of gradual degeneration of the body. Osteoarthritis is one of the consequences of this process, which is common in elderly people. This is one of the major causes of chronic disability, affecting the quality of life. Prevalence of osteoarthritis in India is more among menopausal women.
Ayurveda Treatment for Osteoarthritis
Treatments are recommended according to the symptoms and as per the requirements. The common Ayurveda treatment for osteoarthritis are:
Virechana cleanses the body and helps to open different channels and this help in better absorption of medicaments. Virechana also helps in maintaining or restoring the optimum equilibrium in Tridosha.
Vata vitiation causes dryness of joints which initiate degeneration of tissues. Oil application prevents the same. Massage stimulates blood circulation and assists the lymphatic system, improving the elimination of waste throughout the body. Absorption through the skin can be enhanced by suspending the drug in an oily vehicle and rubbing it on the skin. Thus, the medicaments used as massage are absorbed through the skin.
Swedana will help to open the pores in the body and helps to eliminate waste materials and increases absorption. This therapy also helps to reduce stiffness and increase range of movements.
Upanaha is the application of medicinal pastes over the affected area and covers the area with some particular leaves which reduce inflammation and stiffness.
This is considered as the best treatment for vata diseases. rectal and colon regions are rich in capillary blood vessels which enhances quick absorption of the medicine.
Leech application will improve local circulation thus accelerate tissue repair.
Here are a few diet alterations to manage neck pain:
- Increase the intake of fruits and vegetables, which provide antioxidants.
- Low-fat dairy foods, which contain calcium and vitamin D can help reduce the inflammation.
- Increase the intake of healthy oils.
- Reduce the intake of processed foods
- Reduce foods that contain added sugar
- Reduce unhealthy fats, such as trans fats, saturated fats and red meats
Ayurvedic treatment for osteoarthritis involves the pacification of the aggravated vata. At Krishnendu Ayurveda, we have a very systematic approach in treating osteoarthritis; we plan a customized treatment for each individual which is specific to their symptoms.
“The Procedure like Shashtika shali pinda Sweda, Matra Basti, Shiro Basti, Sarvanga Abhyanga helps in nerve strengthening and increases blood circulation of the affected part, that helps to fasten and progress the movements”.