This is the most common form of arthritis affects millions of people globally. It occurs when the cartilage that pillows the bony edges undergoes wear & tear by the passage of time. Even though Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, it mostly affects the knee, spine, hip, knee & hands. Once the damage is caused to a joint, it cannot be reversed. But the mobility & pain can be improved gradually. It commonly affects the middle as well as old aged people. By proper medical intervention, the joint functions can be regained & mobility can be improved.
It occurs due to the deterioration of the bony cartilage; this causes the bone to touch or rub each other. In addition to the cartilage, it also affects the bony structures like the tendons that connect muscles & bones. The joint lining is also greatly affected by osteoarthritis.
Certain risk factors like age, sex, excessive joint activities, diabetes, bone deformities, joint trauma, obesity & genetic factors contribute to the formation of osteoarthritis.
- It develops very slowly & worsens gradually
- Severe pain during the movement of the joint or after the activity
- Stiffness in joints mostly during inactivity or waking up
- Rise in temperature of the affected joints.
- Marked tenderness around the joints
- Flexible joint movements are affected
- Hearing of sounds like crackling during joint movements
- The presence of osteophytes or bony spurs surrounding the joints
- Inflammation of joint soft tissues
In Ayurveda, a similar condition of osteoarthritis is described as sandhi gata vata. It means vitiated Vata dosha in sandhi or joints. The vata undergoes vitiation & affects the cartilage & decreases the synovial fluid. This causes pain & swelling in the joints.
Pathogenesis & management
Due to overconsumption of dry foods, cold food items, dried foods, & joint strain activities, the Vata dosha undergoes vitiation causes pain & associated symptoms in the joints. Vata pacifying herbs are used for strengthening the cartilage & lubricating the joints. A combined approach of internal& external therapies are best advised.
Shunti choorna, eranda mula Kashaya, nirgundi & guguulu are very effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
Maharasnadi Kashaya, Rasnadi Kashaya, dashamoola Kashaya, & yogarajaguggulu,
For external oleation mahanarayana taila, Narayana taila, saidhavadi taila, & mahamashataila are very effective for abhyanga as well as other therapies.
The samshodhana therapy or panchakarma therapy is effective in the treatment of sandhi gata vata along with shamana therapy
Panchakarma is a purificatory therapy to eliminate toxins from the body. It has to be decided by the physician to incorporate shodhana or shamana therapy.
External abhyanga with Narayana taila or mahamasha taila
Internal Sneha pana or oleation therapy with Guggulu tikthaka ghrita,
Fomentation can be done for the whole body or in specific affected regions. Usually, herbal leaves are used for hot fomentation.
Some of the rejuvenating herbs used in joint ailments are Rasna, lasuna, Bala, & Ashwagandha. These herbs improve the joint structure by nourishing & preventing further degenerative changes.
Intake of nourishing foods in judicious quantities
Proper physical activity, the slight movement of joints
Brisk walking daily is recommended
Proper joint care if previously affected by osteoarthritis
Maintaining healthy weight
Eat plenty of spinach, cabbage, carrot, cucumber, coconut oil, lemon & honey
Heavy high-calorie foods like junk foods
Excessive fasting or skipping meals
Over physical exertion like heavy weight lifting
Stress & anxiety
Late sleep routine
All treatments are to be undertaken under the strict supervision of an expert Ayurveda physician. The physician designs treatment according to the Prakriti, severity of the disease, capacity & strength of the patient. Treatment may vary from person to person. If you experience any joint difficulties, it is best advised to consult an expert & seek the necessary help.