Management of Osteoarthritis: The Ayurveda Way
Osteoarthritis is the most standard form of arthritis that impacts several people worldwide. It is a degenerative disease that is caused due to numerous disorders affecting the structure and function of one or more joints. The pain, swelling, and limited motion of the joints are the result of wear and tear of the protective cartilage on the bone ends that happens with age. The loss of cartilage may also be initiated due to hereditary, developmental, mechanical, and metabolic reasons.
Osteoarthritis mostly impacts the hands, knees, hips, and spine. The physical disability occurring due to osteoarthritis decreases the functional capacity and quality of life leading to further morbidity.
Major Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Shirodhara is called by different names as per the classical Ayurvedic texts of Charak Samhita and Susruta Samhita, such as Sirothara, Shiro Sheka, Shiro Parisheka, Shirashek, etc. Mainly, they can be categorized into the following four types.
Some of the signs of osteoarthritis can be similar to Rheumatoid arthritis. Therefore, it is important to get a proper diagnosis from a qualified doctor or physician before moving ahead with the osteoarthritis treatment in Ayurveda.
Here are the major symptoms of osteoarthritis:
- Pain during the motion of joints
- Immobility of joints following a period of inactivity or non-movement of the joints
- Crackling and creaking sound attended by pain during movement
- Muscle weakness around the joints, especially in the knee
- Swelling of joints
- Deformation of joints as the condition progresses
- Limited range of motion
Osteoarthritis as Per Ayurveda
Arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disease that concerns one or more joints directing to pain, swelling, tenderness, and stiffness of the affected joints. As mentioned in Ayurveda, osteoarthritis is a disease caused majorly due to Vata dosha along with the involvement of Pitta and Kapha doshas. It impacts both men and women in their life stage when Vata is the most dominant, which is normally after fifty years of age.
Vata is dry and light in nature and its vitiation in any of the joints dries up the lubricating synovial fluid and weakens it. As a result, the cartilage wears away due to the friction directing to pain and restricted joint mobility. In this condition, the large weight-bearing bones and joints, such as the hands, hips, knees, feet, and spine are the most affected.
During the earlier stage of the disease, one can experience joint discomfort or cracking of the joints. If left untreated, it could lead to advanced stages leading to deformity, destruction of the articular surface, and also, total loss of function.
Reasons of Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a Vata dosha dominant condition as cited in Ayurvedic texts. Some of the factors that are liable for osteoarthritis due to vitiation of Vata are as follows:
- Consuming absurd food which has dry characteristics
- Consuming inadequate meal quantity or skipping meals over a long time
- Indulging more than sexual activities
- Staying up late at night
- Staying hyperactive without proper rest
- Chronic indigestion and malnutrition
- Too much traveling
- Other causative factors that may lead to the vitiation of Vata dosha are
- Suppression of natural urges
- Exposure to severe cold and dry weather
- Chronic stress
- Excessive bleeding
Ayurvedic Procedures in Osteoarthritic Treatment
Some of the treatment methods used in the Ayurvedic treatment of osteoarthritis are as follows.
- Application of medicated paste or powder: Medicated paste or powder may be applied externally in the acute stage to alleviate oedema, pain, and burning sensation.
- Oral administration of ghee: In Panchakarma treatment, the administration of ghee or oils infused with bitter and astringent herbs is the first step of the procedure. The preparation of the herbal oil or ghee is done according to the patient’s condition.
- Dhara: Dhara refers to the pouring of warm herbal decoctions, medicinal liquids, and medicated milk over the affected joints for about 45-50 minutes. The selection of herbs or medicated liquids to be used in the procedure relies on the symptoms of the individual. The procedure is quite useful to reduce edema and pain in just a few hours.
- Rasayana therapy: This therapy utilizes formulations and procedures to repair and rejuvenate the Asthi (bone) dhatu. The Ayurvedic medicine for osteoarthritis used in Rasayana therapy has to be continued for a long time. The therapy is provided as a part of Panchakarma treatment as well.
- Steaming and other heating methods: These methods aim at enhancing the flexibility in the stiffened joint structures. They can also be helpful in clearing up any blockage in the minute channels of the body.
- Virechana: Virechana, also termed medicated purgation, is an Ayurvedic technique that purifies the body by removing the toxins from the lower part of the body. Virechana is performed by giving herbal purgatives to the individual that also help to fix the Agni in the body.
- Vasthi or Enema-like procedure: These methods are extremely useful in cleaning the lower alimentary canal as well as the subtle channels spread all over the body. Vasthi can be useful in alleviating aggravated Vata in individuals. Another form of Vasthi called Brimhana uses special ingredients and herbs which can help to regenerate the affected joints.
- Herbs for arthritis management: The Ayurvedic treatment for knee or joint pain uses the following herbs – Tinospora cordifolia (Guloochi), Strychnos nuxvomica (vishamushti), Boswelia Serrata (Sallaki), Commiphora Mukul (Guggul), etc.
Medicines for Oesteoarthritis
This blend is clinically proven, safe, and effective. It is 100% natural, of tropical use, and a plant-based oil serums for Osteoarthritis and Knee pain. Useful for all ages, this powerful blend has properties that help in Osteoarthritis. A unique blend of pure steam-distilled therapeutic-grade plant extracts stimulates circulation, relaxation, and comfort in knee joints.
MSM(M) and Ligacare oil serum blends are also useful in the following:
- Supports reduction in pain on movement
- Supports reduction in stiffness
- Supports reduction in inflammation and swelling
- Ease in movement
- Improved joint health
- Clinically proven
It’s main ingedients are:
It is predominantly a blend of Cymbopogon Citratus, Origanum Majorana, Mentha Spicata, Citrus Limon, Ocimum Sanctum, Ricinus Communis, Sesamum Indicum, Helianthus Annuus, and other natural plant oils.
This joint pain oil is a unique blend of pure steam distilled therapeutic grade plant extracts that stimulate circulation and relax and comfort joint pain. Useful for all ages, this powerful blend has properties that help in pain management of different joints. The advantages of using this almost magical plant oil blend are many –it aids the healing process in a natural and holistic manner without any unwelcome side effects.
MSM(M) is predominantly a blend of Mentha Spicata, Ocimum Basilicum, Origanum Majorana, Thymus Srpyllum, Cedrus Deodara, helianthus Annuus, and Coconut.
Osteoarthritis worsens over time, and there isn’t a treatment for it. Ayurveda offers a holistic process to treatment that can stop further progression of the condition and enhance the function and mobility of the joints.