Arthritis is a condition in which there is tenderness and swelling of one or more of the joints. The most common types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition in which the immune system attacks the joints, beginning with the lining of the joints.
In osteoarthritis, slippery tissues that cover the ends of bones where they form a joint break down. There are various types of arthritis such as ankylosing spondylitis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, reactive arthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, thumb arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and septic arthritis.
What are the Symptoms of Arthritis?
The most common signs and symptoms of arthritis begin with joints. Depending on the type of arthritis, signs and symptoms include:
- Decreased range of motion
There are two major types of arthritis – rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
In rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule that encloses all the part of the joints. The synovial membrane (lining) becomes swollen and inflamed. The cartilage and bone within the joint get eventually destroyed.
Osteoarthritis involves wear-and-tear damage to the joint’s cartilage which is a hard, slick coating on the ends of the bones where they form a joint. The function of cartilage is to cushion the ends of the bones and allow nearly frictionless joint motion, but enough damage can result in bone grinding directly on the bone, which causes pain and restricted movement. This wear and tear can occur over many years or it can also occur due to infection or a joint injury.
Diagnosis: During physical exam, doctor will examine the joints for swelling, warmth and redness. Laboratory tests and X-rays, CT scan etc. also confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment: Modern treatment for arthritis includes the prescription of pain killers, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID)s, counterirritants etc. If conservative measures don’t help, the doctor may suggest surgery as well. Surgeries such as joint repair, joint replacement etc. are done.
Concept of Arthritis according to Ayurveda:
Ayurveda is a complete system of natural medicine but it is not widely known. The allopathic treatment of arthritis orients in improving the joint health, suppressing the remissions while treatment remains unsatisfactory. In spite of potent, anti-inflammatory agents and powerful immunosuppressive agents, its prognosis is not satisfactory, as these drugs have limitations, including many side effects. Considering these, people are looking for alternatives from traditional systems. Ayurveda through its armamentarium can provide leads in the treatment of arthritis.
Arthritis is known as Amavata in Ayurveda. The pathogenesis of amavata lies in the formation of ama (toxins) after mandagni (weak digestive fire). The ama along with vititated Vata and Kapha doshas results in Dosha-dooshya combination.
The formation of Ama is also caused due to the intake of wrong incompatible foods in the diet such as taking radish with milk, eating sour foods with milk etc. Ingestion of stale food, defrosting and reheating eatables, exercise soon after a meal, stress etc. contribute to the formation of ama in the body.
Ayurvedic treatment of Arthritis:
The Ayurvedic treatment of Arthritis aims at restoring the doshas to harmonious equilibrium, thereby strengthening the individual’s healing response. When Vata and Kapha doshas are balanced, there is decrease in the stiffness and pain in the joints. The anti-inflammatory as well as deepana and pachana (appetiser and digestive) medicines are prescribed. The aim of Ayurvedic treatment of arthritis is to reduce the formation of Ama (toxins), improving agni (digestive fire) which are the main manifestation of this disease.
Some of the Home Remedies for Arthritis are:
- Arinda Tel/Castor Oil: The best medicine for arthritis is Castor Oil. Take 10-15 ml of castor oil with warm water or milk at night before going to bed has extremely good results in arthritis.
- Castor oil is laxative in nature and useful in treating the root cause of arthritis.
- Moreover, pain-reducing and anti-inflammatory qualities of castor oil makes it an effective home remedy for arthritis.
- Nirgundi (Vitex negundo): Nirgundi is one of the most common herbs for painful joint conditions. This plant is easily available and is known to reduce excessive swelling as well.
- Its potent anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsing and anti-oxidant qualities help the aching joints in many ways.
- The leaves of Nirgundi plant have most of the medicinal properties.
- The plant is bitter in taste and has hot potency, thus making it suitable for arthritis.
- The Nirgundi oil can be applied on the affected joints.
- The decoction prepared from the leaves of the Nirgundi plant can also be applied.
- Ginger: Ginger is yet another effective remedy for arthritis which is commonly available in all Indian kitchens.
- It is known for its exceptional anti-inflammatory property that helps in reducing joint pain and swelling.
- It is also known to increase blood circulation which brings heat and healing in the affected areas.
- Ginger tea can be taken twice a day.
- Ginger paste can be applied on the joints.
- Ajwain/Carom Seeds: Due to the anti-inflammatory components present in ajwain, it acts as a natural aid to arthritis pain.
- Ajwain also contains anesthetic properties that further help in relieving pain due to arthritis.
- Add a teaspoonful of carom seeds in a tub of hot water and soak the aching joints in the tub and sit for 5-10 minutes. This remedy will help in easing pain and swelling.
- You can also crush the carom seeds and make a paste. Apply this paste on the affected areas in order to alleviate the pain.
- Ajwain water can also be taken internally on regular basis.
Diet and Lifestyle:
- Eat light, warming and easily digestible foods. Increase the intake of ginger, methi, black pepper, turmeric, heeng and garlic in the diet.
- Avoid the consumption of heavy, oily, food items prepared from white refined flour and white sugar, curd at night, urad dal etc.
- Oil massage is strictly prohibited in arthritis but after the ama (toxins) has been completely eradicated from the body, then in order to curb the Vata dosha, some medicated Ayurvedic oils are used.
Thus, by home remedies and ayurvedic medications, arthritis can effectively be cured without any side effects.
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