Arthritis is an autoimmune disease affecting any race. Its prevalence among our population of about 1%. Though it affects all age groups, it is more commonly seen between the age group of 50 years and above. Women are affected more than men. It primarily affects joints and their covering called the synovial membrane. Gradually, it leads to degenerative changes in the joints. During the disease progression, it may affect many other organs such as the eyes, lungs, heart, kidneys, salivary gland, nerve tissue, and blood vessels.
The striking feature of Arthritis is the morning stiffness, loss of appetite, and general weakness, which sometimes may be associated with mild fever and myalgia. The common joints affected are the knee, wrist fingers, neck, and ankle. As joint inflammation advances, more and more synovial fluid is produced and the joints become swollen. The degenerative changes happening to the joint are not due to the swelling, pain, or stiffness of the joints, but due to reasons unexplained. In advanced stages, inflammations affect cartilage, bones, and ligaments, and deformity of joints happens. In general, there are periods of remission and bouts of flare-ups or increased disease activity. The most common and challenging one’s tolerance level is knee joint pain / arthritis. Knees are the weight bearing joints and hence more prone for wear and tear.
Arthritis is due to an altered immune system that mistakenly attacks its own body’s tissues thus affecting the lining of the joints. Inflammation in the lining of the joints causes pain and swelling resulting in bone depletion leading to joint deformity.
Ayurveda aims at eliminating the disease from its root. Ayurveda prevents the recurrence of the ailment and prevents further damage. Ayurvedic treatment for arthritis comprises lifestyle changes such as diet, and exercise while taking Ayurvedic medicines and other nutritional supplements are systemically administered.
Doshas and ailment
Ayurveda states that the human body has to have the three doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, in a balanced situation. When there is an imbalance of doshas, ailments set in. Arthritis is due to the accumulation of Vata dosha. Dosha has to be expelled through a natural process and that is what ayurvedic treatment aims at.
Symptoms associated with arthritis include:
Joint pain and tenderness, loss of joint function, joint stiffness, fatigue, weight loss, and weakness.
Causes of Arthritis
Some disturbance of the body’s immune system is considered the root cause of arthritis attacking the lining of the joint membranes and the associated synovial membrane. The synovial membrane is small sacs filled with synovial fluid that eases joint movement and reduces friction caused in the joint during movement. When the synovial membrane is inflamed, it causes pain and swelling in the affected joints, damaging the cartilage and bone within the joint, gradually losing joint the shape and alignment, resulting in deformity. Frequent and high intake of heavy and incompatible foods, indigestion, and a sedentary lifestyle, can cause an imbalance in the body system and affect the immune mechanism of the body.
Age, Environmental/ Atmospheric Conditions, Pollution, and Heredity factors are other factors.
Ayurvedic treatment for arthritis will take into account, these factors before proceeding with the treatment.
Clinical examination of the joints including x-rays, certain blood tests, and evaluation of the symptoms confirms the presence of arthritis in the joints. The course of treatment will be as per the degree of arthritis symptoms.
Ayurveda Treatment for Arthritis
Ayurveda believes in alleviating any disease condition by changes in the day-to-day lifestyle habits along with natural medications to completely balance the doshas and thereby treat arthritis. It is aimed to reduce the symptoms through a systematic and tailor-made treatment plan that ensures safe and effective treatment, customized as per the individual health condition.
Janu Basati: This is recommended as a treatment modality to treat knee pain.
A compartment is made with urad dal dough applied around your knees in lying down position.
Lukewarm medicated oil is poured into this compartment and is retained for a specific period of time.
Sometimes Janu basti is followed by Patra Pinda Sweda for best results.
Janu Basati reduces knee joint stiffness, delays degeneration of knee joint, lubricates the knee joint, increases flexibility of knee joint, maintains the quantity of synovial fluid in the knee, reduces the inflammation of knee joints and thus offers protection to knees.