Annoyed by pimples? Here’s an ayurvedic guide you need to achieve that flawless skin By Dr. Tabassum Hasan. Do you remember the last time when you were planning to attend a wedding function? From dresses to matching shoes you took care of everything and were ready to dazzle everybody. But guess what? All of a sudden on that very day you got a new pimple on your forehead. Yes, we know how it feels. Those pesky red pimples seem to always appear before any important event in our lives. Almost every one of us suffered this embarrassing situation at some point of our existence, especially in our teenage years. But is there any solution for it? Can we avoid them? What are the causes? Let’s find out answers to all these questions.
Table of contents
• What is Acne?
• Causes and Risk Factor of Acne
• Symptoms of Acne
• When You Need to See Your Doctor
• General Tips For Acne
• What to Eat and Avoid
• Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
What is Acne?
In ayurvedic literature, acne has been described as yuvan pidika or tarunya pitika because it primarily affects adolescents or young people. In some texts, it is also called mukh dushika because it spreads mainly on the face of a person and has inflammation and scarring.
Acne is characterized by saruja (mildly painful), filled with meda (pus or oily secretions), shalmali (Salmalia malabarica) thorn-like eruption on the face. These pilosebaceous follicles are distinguished as comedones, papules, pustules, and scars. It mainly affects the cheek, chin, forehead, nose, and upper trunk of the body.
According to global burden of disease (GBD) study, almost 85% of young adults aged between 12-15 years get affected by this dreadful condition. Although it is not a life-threatening condition, but it impacts the social life and emotional well-being of the affected individual.
Also, Read► PCOS and Its Effects on Skin and Hair
Causes and Risk Factor of Acne
According to classical ayurvedic texts, acne is manifested due to vitiated vata dosha and kapha dosha. These doshas further vitiate rasa-raktadi dhatu, primarily rakta dhatu(blood). As result, there is excessive sweda(sweat) production, which obstructs the skin pores. This leads to local swelling and microcomedones formation. Rupture of these micro comedones leads to scarring. Vata dosha and rakta dosha also causes hyperpigmentation.
The factors which lead to all of this are mainly divided into 4 types:
• Time or age factors- young age or adolescents, summers or spring season.
• Dietary pattern- excessive sweet and spicy, heavy and oily food, milk and its products, meat and alcohol.
• Lifestyle factors- Insomnia, holding natural urges, excessive sleep, excessive sunbath.
• Psychological factors- Anger, stress, depression, and behavioral changes.
Other than the above factors, few other factors are also responsible for acne like genetics, hormonal changes, etc. Furthermore, menstrual cycle, anxiety and tension, oil-based makeup, exposure to pollution, skin allergies due to certain medication, hot and humid climate, greasy hair, and squeezing the pimples will make these conditions worse.
Symptoms of Acne
Acne is described under kshudra rogas (minor ailments) in Ayurveda. Kshudra means minimum that means these diseases happen with minimum causative factors, signs and symptoms, and requires minimum medical intervention. Acne also doesn’t have deadly symptoms but it surely affects your self-confidence. Some of these symptoms are stated below-
• Shalmali kantakakara pitika- acne resembles with the thorn of salmalia malabarica as it’s an eruption in a conical shape
• Saruja- These can be mild to moderate painful lumps.
• Ghana- The eruption is hard, thick, or indurated due to vitiated kapha.
• Medogarbha- Due to obstruction of pores or pilosebaceous glands, it is filled with pus.
• Yuna mukhe- This disease usually affects young people or adolescents.
Apart from these symptoms, some associated symptoms are also there like itching, burning, and secretions. Mental health is also affected as it has a huge impact on someone’s looks.
When You Need to See Your Doctor
Generally for acne, people prefer to have OTC (over-the-counter) products. Mild to moderate acne will calm down after the use of these gels or creams in the course of over 4 to 6 weeks. But what if these products stopped working or you have stubborn nodular or cystic acne? Then you definitely need to see your dermatologist. Also if your physical appearance is taking a toll on your mental health, a doctor will help you to combat this situation.
Also, Read► How Stress Impacts Skin: Side Effects & Prevention
General Tips for Acne
Everyone dream to have smooth, silky, and radiant skin. But having acne is a big hurdle to achieve that flawless skin. In this scenario, you can take the help of ayurvedic tips to get rid of those pimples:
• To flush out toxins (ama) in your body, you should take warm water in the morning. Mixing lemon juice in it will also give you a daily dose of vitamin C.
• To balance your body doshas, you can take Triphala. It will remove toxins and reduce your acne. Take 1 teaspoon Triphala powder with warm water.
• Shatavari is also a good ingredient to balance hormones. It will also help in pacifying pitta dosha and treat hormonal acne. You can take one teaspoon of Shatavari powder and boil it in one glass of water. When this will reduce to half, you can consume it.
• Ashwagandha is a popular herb for skin disorders. Its anti-inflammatory, detoxifying properties make it suitable for acne treatment. Take one teaspoon of ashwagandha powder and take it with water or honey.
• Apart from these, blood purifiers told in classical ayurvedic literature like sariva, manjishtha, draksha, and neem are also beneficial for acne treatment. You can include them in your daily routine to purify the blood and balance your doshas. They also have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
• Drinking amla juice daily can help you as amla helps in balancing your doshas. Amla also contains vitamin C which is a potent anti-oxidant. This will reduce harmful free radicals and will keep acne at bay.
• Fennel seeds and coriander seeds concoction is also a good option as it will cool down your body heat. Take one teaspoon of both and boil it in one glass of water. When it will reduce to half, take it after it cools down.
• As clogged pores are the cause of acne, you should wash your face at least twice a day. Use gel-based mild cleansers according to your skin type.
• Avoid touching your face as your fingers usually have bacteria on them. Touching your face can lead to transfer of those bacteria to your face and this can result in infection.
• You should avoid squeezing the pimple. Yes, we know that you have a strong urge to pop that pimple. But always remember that it will lead to more scars.
• Always use a broad spectrum SPF if you are stepping out of your house. Even inside your home, you should at least wear sunscreen of SPF 30.
What to Eat and Avoid
As the saying goes, what you eat appears on your face. This is definitely true in the case of acne. Our skin health says a lot about the way we eat. So if you are someone whose diet is full of junk food and sweetened beverages, then you need to reconsider your food choices. Follow these dietary rules to get rid of your skin ailments and for a healthier complexion-
• Always eat homemade fresh food. Make it light and less spicy.
• Amaranth, barley, oats, rice are healthy grains for you. Include them in your diet.
• Fresh vegetables like bitter gourd, leafy greens, cauliflower, peas, okra, bell peppers are good for your skin and health.
• Soaked almonds and nuts are also a good option as they contain healthy fats that your body needs.
• Eat fruits like apple, oranges, mango, watermelon, dates, figs, pineapple, cherries, grapes, and lime.
• Turkey, salmon, and freshwater fish are the best options if you are a non-vegetarian.
• Always avoid refined grains and sugars like white bread, pasta, noodles, sodas, and artificial sweeteners.
• Heavy and spicy diets create an imbalance between doshas, so try to avoid them.
• Consuming dairy products is also not advised if you are suffering from acne.
• Fast foods like burgers, chowmein, French fries, nuggets, and soda drinks are a big NO if you want to have good and healthy skin.
• Avoid meat (especially red meat) and alcohol consumption as these create havoc on your skin.
Other than that you should keep track if you are allergic to any particular food, foods that may cause bloating or increase inflammation in your body. Just follow these simple rules and you will start noticing a positive difference in your skin soon.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
Q1. How acne scars can be removed?
Ans. In Ayurveda, there are several local applications for acne scars like haldi, sandalwood, multani mitti. However, in modern medical treatments like microdermabrasion, chemical peeling, micro-needling, fillers, punch excision, and laser resurfacing are prescribed for different types of lesions. Topical treatments like antibiotics (clindamycin and erythromycin), benzoyl peroxides, and vitamin A acid derivatives like tretinoin are also helpful for mild to moderate scars.
Q2. Why acne occurs on the face?
Ans. Acne occurs when your pores get clogged by oil, pus, dead skin, or bacteria. It's like a small red protuberance with pus at its head. This can happen on your shoulders, back, and chest too.
Q3. Which acne cream is best for oily skin?
Ans. Creams with active ingredients like neem, tea tree oil, aloe vera, turmeric are best suitable for acne. In Ayurveda, there are different types of face masks for acne. Some of those are vachaadi lepa, dhanyakaadi lepa, lodhraadi lepa, jayaphalaadi lepa, manjishthaadi lepa and kumkumaadi taila etc. Other than these, you can look for ingredients like bakuchiol, Centella asiatica, honey, colloidal oatmeal, willow bark extract, and resveratrol in your acne products.
Q4. Can acne scars be removed permanently?
Ans. Most of the acne scars get faded over time. As our skin gets renewal after almost 5-6 weeks. That means dead skin cells get replaced by new skin cells. So our scars naturally go away. But in the case of severe scarring, one should get treatment by a dermatologist. They can surely help you to reduce the appearance of your scar.
Q5. Can acne scars be removed naturally?
Ans. Several home remedies like lemon juice, potato juice, turmeric powder, aloe vera, and gram flour are used for ages to remove hyperpigmentation and scars.
• Acharya Sushruta, SushrutaSamhita,AyurvedTatva Sandipika Hindi commentarytranslated by Ambika Datta Shastri, Chaukhamba Sanskrit Sansthan Varanasi, Reprint edition. Nidanasthana, 1995;1(13/38):287.
• Acharya Sushruta, SushrutaSamhita, Acharya YadavjiTrikamji, Choukhambha publication, Varanasi. Edition 2005, Nidanasthana 2005;13/ 39:323.
• Acharya Vaghbhata, Astanga Hrdayam, Dr. Brahamanand Tripathi. Chaukhamba Sanskrit Pratishthan, Delhi, Reprint edition, Sutrasthana, 2009;1(25):19.
• Agnivesh, Charak Samhita, revised by Charak and Dridhabala with Ayurveda Deepika commentary, by Chakrapani Datta, edited by Vd. Yadavaji Trikamaji Acharya, Chaukhamba Surbharati Publications, Varanasi, reprint 2002, Sutrasthana 18/24, S S11/49.
• Lad, Vasant. Textbook of Ayurveda: Fundamental Principles. Albuquerque: The Ayurvedic Press, 2002
Read More► How To Reduce Anxiety?
Have you ever seen someone who worries too much about the future constantly and has this constant fear of uncertainty? Like they will think every negative prospect of a situation. Why do they have this fear? Is it normal to feel this way? How can we get rid of these feelings? You will find all these answers in this article.
Table of contents
• What is anxiety?
• Symptoms of anxiety
• Causes and risk factor
• When you need to see your doctor
• General tips for anxiety
• What to eat and avoid?
• Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
Also, Read► Combating Stress And Anxiety With Natural Herbs
What is Anxiety?
In Ayurveda, there are three qualities of mind(mano guna) primarily i.e. sattva, raja, and tama.
Sattva guna is associated with positivity, consciousness, spirituality, and lightness. It represents knowledge and intellect and brings calmness to life.
Raja guna is the most active quality among the three. It is associated with excessive movement and stimulation. It is more focused on achievement and passion.
Tama guna is related to heaviness and inertia. It brings a negative attitude on the front leading to letharginess, excessive sleep, etc.
In Ayurveda, Anxiety is correlated with chittoudvega. Chittoudvega can be defined as chitta(mind) + udvega(anxiety) = chittoudvega (anxious state of mind). Chittoudvega is a psychiatric disorder due to vitiation in raja and tama doshas along with vata and pitta. People having alpa sattva is more prone to anxiety.
Anxiety mainly comprises of two factors:
Fear: unpleasurable feeling in response to danger and threat.
Worry: thinking about unpleasant things that makes you feel unhappy and upsets you.
So chittaudvega or anxiety disorder is characterized by uncontrollable, irrational, and excessive worrying about everyday things that are not even going to happen.
Symptoms of Anxiety
As symptoms of anxiety may differ from person to person but some symptoms are common in all of them like persistent unrealistic worry often associated with muscle tension, insomnia, impaired concentration, feeling ‘on edge’, or restlessness. Other symptoms of anxiety are:
7. Anidra( Insomnia)
8.Nidra nash(Disturbed sleep)
9.Shirash shoonyata(Numbness of mind)
10.Unmattachitattavam(Lack of concentration)
Also, Read► Low fitness may increase depression and anxiety: Study
Causes And Risk Factor of Anxiety
In ayurvedic literature, it is believed that weak sattva leads to anxiety. Vitiation in raja and tama along with vata and pitta is responsible for this psychiatric disorder. Factors that cause anxiety are:
1. Genetic Factor: In some families, it runs from one generation to the next.
2. Traumatic Events: stressful events in life like workplace tension, Financial stress, death of a loved one can lead to anxiety.
3. Excessive Use of Alcohol: Alcoholic tendencies leads to vitiation of raja and tama doshas.
4. Health Issues: Some diseases like heart diseases, thyroid disorders can lead the person to depression. Slowly with time, it results in anxiety.
When You Need To See Your Doctor
It is very normal that you feel anxious before taking an exam or a job interview. But when a person starts having problems in making daily life decisions and worries too much that he/she can't concentrate then they need to consult a doctor. Generally, a diagnosis of anxiety is made when a person continuously feels anxious about everyday problems for more than 6 months.
General Tips For Anxiety
In today's world lifestyle is changing so fast and everybody is trying to fulfill all the physical desires. Everybody seems like he is carrying a weight across their shoulder. So psychiatric disorders like anxiety are quite often seen even in the younger generation. But some of the following tips may help you in relaxation and relieve that mental burden:
1. In Ayurveda weak sattva is considered responsible for mano roga(mental disorder). So sattvavajaya chikitsa(bringing the mind under control) is recommended for peace of mind. For this we should follow these tips:
A. Following ritucharya(seasonal regimen) and dinacharya(daily regimen):
* We should include certain things in our daily lifestyle(dinacharya) like praying, having gratitude towards what we have, cleanliness and vyayam(exercise), etc. This will have a positive impact on our life.
* In certain seasons people feel more anxious like in summers. So we should follow a particular regimen to avoid seasonal anxiety.
B. Sattva guna can be improved by following sadvritta(code of virtues). This includes:
• Moral and ethical conduct
• Truth, non-violence
• Personal hygiene etc.
The practice of sadvritta(behavioral approaches mainly) will reduce stress and anxiety.
C. Annapanavidhi(dietary rules):
Here are few tips:
• Avoiding rajasic and tamasic foods like chili and caffeine.
• Eating meals at the same time.
• Including foods like kshira(milk), ghrita(ghee), draksha(grapes) in the diet to balance vata and pitta dosha.
2. Abhyanga(Body massage): Body massage is a great way to relieve tension and anxiety. One can simply have a tila taila(sesame oil) or sarshap taila(mustard oil) massage.
3. Shirodhara(Streaming of medicated oil, milk, decoction on the forehead): Pouring medicated oils like chandanadi taila or even simple oils like sesame oil over the forehead can calm down those stressed nerves.
4. Pranayam(Breathing exercises): Pranayam have some really good effect on anxiety. One should focus on inhalations and exhalations, and try to lengthen them with some pause. Pranayam like Anulom-vilom(alternate nostril breathing), kapalbhati, bhastrika, and bhramari can soothe your nerves.
5. Yoga and meditation: Some asanas in yoga can help to relieve symptoms of anxiety when practiced regularly like dhanurasan(bow pose), setu bandhasana(bridge pose), marjariasana(cat stretch), shirshaasan(headstand), etc.
Also, Read► Ways to deal with coronavirus anxiety
What To Eat And Avoid?
In ayurvedic literature, dietary habits held great importance in determining a person’s health. As in anxiety, we see symptoms like anannaabhilasha(anorexia) and avipaka(indigestion) related to the gastro intestinal system, it seems more important to focus on the diet of the person. So one should follow these rules:
• One should have regular meals at the same time.
• Eat warm food that is cooked in little oil or ghrita(ghee) to balance vata dosha.
• Include more sattvic foods in the diet like seasonal fruits and homemade simple meals.
• Drink milk mixed with kesar(saffron) before bedtime as it will help in sleep.
• Avoid processed foods like bakery items, frozen food and deep-fried food.
• Avoid rajasic and tamasic foods like chili, caffeine, and processed meats.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. What is anxiety?
Ans. Anxiety or as we call it chittoudvega in Ayurveda is characterized by constantly worrying or feeling anxious all the time that a person might feel difficulty in his everyday life. One can also develop physical symptoms gradually like angamarda(body aches), anannaabhilasha(anorexia), anidra(insomnia), etc.
Q2. How can we avoid it?
Ans. As Ayurveda believes in nidana parivarjan(removal of the cause) as its first line of treatment, adopting a yogic lifestyle may help in preventing anxiety. The yamas and niyamas(principles) of yoga can help you achieve that sattvic lifestyle. For instance, the shaucha principle is all about the cleanliness of the mind and body. The Santosh principle talks about contentment with whatever you have in your life. Also, the aparigraha principle can help in controlling our desires to possess more.
One should also eat nutritious food and lead a healthy lifestyle with the help of yoga, pranayama, and dhyana(meditation).
Q3. How can I relieve stress and anxiety naturally?
Ans. Most natural ways to combat anxiety are getting good sleep, exercising, reducing caffeine intake, laughter therapy, practicing breathing exercises, and reducing the causes of stress in your life. Mindfulness, physical connection with your partner, and spending time with your family and friends can also do wonders in this scenario. Just take things slowly and follow one day at a time rule.
Ayurvedic Treatment For Stress And Anxiety
Ayurveda not only talks about physical health but also the mental health of a person is equally important which makes it a complete science for a living. For anxiety also, Ayurveda focuses on both prospects.
Acharya Charak has recommended 3 methods of treatment:
• Daivavyapashraya chikitsa (Spiritual or divine treatment)
• Yukti vyapashraya chikitsa (Logical therapy)
• Satwavajaya chikitsa (Psychotherapy)
1. For daivavyapasraya chikitsa, one should pray to god, give charity, chant different mantras, etc. These practices will lift the spirits of the patient and they can feel more contented in themselves.
2. Yukti vyapashraya or as we may call it drug therapy, targets proper diet, medication, and rasayanas also.
Shodhan therapy (Body detoxification) like nasya(nasal instillation), Abhyanga(body massage), virechana(purgation), basti(enema), shirolepa, taildhara can be helpful in effectively treating this condition.
3. Satwavajaya chikitsa also plays an important role in this. In this, we provide counseling for managing different issues, replace negative thoughts, and restrain the mind from unnecessary thinking by analytical thinking, courage, and knowledge. Different mental disorders which can induce anxiety-like anger issues, PTSD and different type of phobias can also be treated under this.
Ayurvedic Medicine For Stress And Anxiety
There are several medicines in Ayurveda to treat anxiety that have shown amazing results. Medicines like Brahmi ghrita, ashwagandha churna, kalyanak ghrita, panchagavya ghrit, saraswatarishta, sarpagandha, jatamansi, etc are being used by ayurvedic practitioners to tackle this situation.
Q4. What herbs are good for stress and anxiety?
Ans. Herbs like Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi), shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis), ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), and bhringraj (Eclipta alba) are well-known herbs for anxiety disorder. They help in reducing stress levels, detoxifying the body, and calm your mind. You can simply incorporate them into your lifestyle as tea, oils, or powdered form and get various benefits. Even external application is beneficial in some cases.
Q5. Can anxiety go away naturally?
Ans. Mild cases of anxiety can go away after the issue causing it is resolved. But if you have an anxiety disorder or repetitive attacks, then you might need to see your doctor.
Q6. What is the 333 rule for anxiety?
Ans. As anxiety can flare up at any time of your day, it's really important to take care of your mental health as you do for your body. 333 rule can be really helpful to manage your anxiety attacks. For this, look around you and name 3 things you see. Then focus on your hearing and name 3 sounds that you hear. At last move 3 of your body parts like your fingers, legs, or arms. During this whole process remember to take slow and deep breaths. This is a proven effective method to stop your mind to overthink and calm down your mind.
Q7. What foods to avoid if you have anxiety?
Ans. Different processed foods like bakery goods, frozen food, refined cereals, candy, and fried food are not good for you if you are dealing with anxiety. Also, caffeine, chili, and processed meat should be avoided.
• Agnivesh, “Charak Samhita” revised by Charaka & Dridhbala with “Ayurved Deepika commentary”, by Chkarapanidatta, edited by Vd. Jadavaji Trikamji Acharya, published by Chaukhamba Surbharati Prakashan, Varanasi, Reprint-2008, Ch.Vi 6/5 pp.254.
• Acharya YT. Charaka: Charaka Samhita with Āyurveda Deepika Commentary of Chakrapani: Chaukhambha Orientalia; Varanasi 2002, 383,384
• Acharya Jadavaji Trikamji, editor. Charaka Samhita of Agnivesha, Sutra Sthana, Ch. 1/Ver. 54; 5th ed. Varanasi: Chaukhambha Sanskrit Sanst han; 2001.
Read More► Anxiety: Causes, Symptoms And Ayurvedic Treatment
PCOS is a complex disorder or rather a spectral disorder with no uniform clinic or laboratory diagnostic criteria. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is one of the most common hormonal disturbances affecting women all over the world.
Dr. Vidushi Jain, Dermatologist Trichologist, Medical head of Dermalinks says: "It has an unknown etiology and is recognized as a heterogeneous disorder that results in overproduction of male hormone primarily from the ovary, and is associated with insulin resistance."
The journey, the struggles and the treatment approach to each patient is different. As contrary to the popular belief, the manifestations are more severe in obese individuals with pcos but there is another phenotype known as lean PCOS.
"PCOS women can be sub grouped based on clinical features suggestive of endocrinological malfunctions and can be investigated accordingly for selection of appropriate treatment modalities," the doctor points out.
"The cornerstone to PCOS pathology is insulin resistance meaning that the body doesn't respond normally to insulin and thereby increasing insulin secretion from pancreas, which triggers inflammation and weight gain. High insulin level is both diagnostic criteria and also the underlying physiological driver. High insulin causes anovulation and also promotes testosterone secretion from ovaries (hyper androgenism)."
Dr Jain adds: "The skin features in PCOS sometimes present earlier as compared to irregular periods or investigations for infertility and a high degree of suspicion can help in early detection and prevention of disease progression."
Also, Read► PCOS and Fertility: What women can do about it?
She further explains:
Acanthosis nigricans is a skin disorder characterised by darkening and thickening of the skin, occurring mainly in the folds of the skin in the armpit (axilla), groin and back of the neck. Often treated as dirt, this condition is synonymous with insulin resistance and obesity. Sometimes it can be drug and malignancy induced too. The treatment approach is weight reduction and decreasing the insulin resistance with low glycemic diet and regular workouts. Skin lightening agents like retinoids, glycolic acid and treatments like TCA peels also play a role in cosmetic improvement.
Hirsutism or unwanted facial hair is a result of hyperandrogenism or excess male hormone secretion. Mostly affects chin, sidelocks, chest, thighs and even the nipple area . Treatment needs weight reduction to control the serum sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) which in turn controls the free testosterone levels, androgen lowering medication like spironolactone, OCPs and laser hair reduction.
Also, Read► Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms and Ayurvedic Treatment
Acne or pimples: Females with persistent acne since teens or with acne presenting for the first time after 25 must be evaluated for PCOS. Acne in PCOS is generally resistant to standard acne treatments, affects mainly the lower one third of face , is associated with extremely tender eruptions suggesting more inflammation and shows premenstrual flare. Treatment results take longer to respond at least 3 months and best approach is to add combined oral contraceptives with anti androgen progesterone like drospirenone and cyproterone acetate as well as spironolactone to control the hyperandrogenic state. The role of supplements like inositol, magnesium, zinc and Vitamin D play an important role in controlling the inflammatory state.
Seborrhoeic dermatitis often presenting as oily scalp and dandruff, when severe can affect the oily areas of the skin like around nose, between eyebrows and behind ears. Associated with more androgens and hence more oil secretion promoting the growth of a fungus named malaseezia needs treatment and daily cleansing of the scalp with a salicylic acid or ketoconazole shampoo.
Female patterned hair loss or hair thinning presenting mainly in the crown and frontal area is often ignored until a major portion of the scalp becomes visible. Frequent changing of hairstyles to cover it up without seeking medical treatments leads to progression and greater damage. Starting minoxidil as a preventive therapy and doing platelet rich plasma sessions may be helpful. PCOS is a disorder which affects the body not only at a hormonal level thereby affecting metabolism and fertility but also it has far reaching effects on a person's confidence when it has negative influence on appearance. (Puja Gupta)
Read More► How to combat PCOS in the lockdown
Pain in the neck happens to be the fourth leading cause of disability globally, lagging behind ischemic heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and lower respiratory infection. Neck pain can interfere with daily life, including the ability to feel productive, sleep, and enjoy time with family. It is a common occurrence among the working population usually engaged in tech jobs or desk jobs.
Srikanth H.S, Sr. Naturopath, Jindal Naturecure Institute, points out that there are several factors that can result in neck pain like stress, poor posture, obesity, muscle inflammation, arthritis, and injuries.
"The best way to deal with neck pain is to minimize it in the first place. Naturopathy offers safe and effective alternatives to deal with neck pain without falling prey to the side-effects of pharmaceutical drugs. Blending in the goodness of natural therapies like yoga, massage, herbs, and acupuncture, along with lifestyle modifications, naturopathy can bring huge relief from neck pain," he says.
Risks of Neck Pain
The expert says: "The common causes of neck pain are muscle strain and nerve compression. However, the symptoms alone cannot indicate which one of these is occurring. Muscle strain usually results from poor posture, repeated lifting, sleep, stress, or anxiety. Nerve compression can occur when a disc in the spine slips out of its position and pinches or presses the nerves, or when the tissues in the neck get inflamed or swollen causing the nerves in the area to get squeezed. Whatever the cause, ongoing chronic neck pain shouldn't be neglected as it can lead to a lifetime of disability or even permanent damage."
Also, Read► How To Manage Your Neck Pain Better
He suggests naturopathy ways to treat neck pain:
The ancient art of yoga has been demonstrated to help people with chronic pain including neck pain. Studies have shown that yoga asanas help to reduce pain perception, improves mobility, and decrease inflammation. Even 15 to 20 minutes of yoga exercises a day can relax the body, stretch the muscles, increase blood circulation, and minimize the chances of neck pain. Some of the common yoga asanas which can be practiced for neck pain are Marjariasana (Cat Pose), Bitilasana (Cow Pose), Balasana (Child's Pose), Natarajasana (Reclining Twist Pose), Viparita Karani (Legs up the wall pose), and Savasana (Corpse Pose).
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Several studies have pointed out that massage therapy can offer relief from neck pain and improve range of motion when performed by qualified professionals. Massage therapy usually involves the use of the hands to manipulate soft tissues, like the tendons and muscles, increase blood circulation, and reduce muscle tension. It helps to ease up the sore, numb and stiff muscles in the spinal area and neck region.
Also, Read► Had a hectic week? Just 10 minutes of massage will relax you
Herbal treatments have been used for ages to treat pains of different sorts. Herbal remedies can be sipped like tea, infused in the bathwater, used as an oil, or inhaled as aromatherapy. Devil's Claw is a popular herb that can substantially reduce neck pain and even improve physical functioning in osteoarthritis patients. Other than that, Lavender, Kudzu, and St. John's Wort are some of the most popular herbs that help relieve neck pain and lower back pain. For maximum effects, these herbs should be taken under the guidance of expert professionals.
Also, Read► 7 Ayurvedic Herbs for Insomnia
Acupuncture is a thousand of years old technique that involves pricks in the skin with needles at specific points on the body. The frequency and duration of acupuncture sessions may depend on how long the neck pain has already lasted, and also the severity of the symptoms. Some studies have revealed that acupuncture can stimulate biochemical changes both locally (where the needles are placed) and in the central nervous system. These biochemical changes may help to bring pain relief and other beneficial effects in some cases.
Also, Read► Acupuncture can be a safe option to treat migraines
Lifestyle modifications play a significant role in the management of neck aches and stiffness. Practicing good posture while at work or home should be a key priority for those suffering from neck pain. Getting good sleep and maintaining the spine in a comfortable position throughout the night, regular neck exercises, and taking breaks in between work and stretching are some of the ways to reduce strain on the neck and keep it relaxed. (Puja Gupta)
Read More► What Is Neck Pain And Its Symptoms And Cause
It is defined as inflammation of the mucous membrane lining in the nasal passage, presents as nasal congestion/sneezing/nasal and palatal itching/ rhinorrhea, and postnasal drainage and it includes allergic, nonallergic, and infectious.
In Ayurveda, Rhinitis is generally categorized in kaphaja and raktaja pratishyaya which is based on signs and symptoms that occur due to doshas.
Types of Rhinitis
1. Acute Rhinitis
2. Chronic Rhinitis
3. Hypertrophic Rhinitis
4. Allergic Rhinitis
5. Atrophic Rhinitis
6. Vasomotor Rhinitis
Acute Rhinitis can be viral/ bacterial. Commonly Rhinitis is known as Common cold (=coryza). The incubation period generally lasts for 1 - 3 days.
Rhinitis Symptoms & Signs
Burning sensation in the nasopharynx.
Sneezing/ coughing/ runny nose.
Itching in eyes / nose/ mouth/ throat/skin.
Pressure in the nose & cheeks.
Watery/ red/ swollen eyes.
Dark circles under eyes.
Recurrent nasal infection
Allergen such as pollen & spores.
House dust mites.
Climate/ air pollution.
Oversensitive immune system.
Rhinitis Prevention & General Tips
Avoid touching your head/rubbing eyes/ nose
Close windows in-home/ car when pollen counts usually go high.
Enclose pillows/ mattresses in separate dust mite covers.
Keep pets off couches/beds
Wash your hands after touching/playing with pets.
Wear a hat/sunglasses to protect eyes from pollen and dust.
Avoid allergen exposure.
Use HEPA filters(high-efficiency particulate air) to reduce allergens in your home.
Probiotics may help improve symptoms of rhinitis.
Use of honey in dietary supplements
Use of vitamin-c to maintain histamine levels.
Use of some essential oils like peppermint/ eucalyptus, etc.
When to see your Doctor for Rhinitis Disease?
When signs and symptoms like occur and persist for a longer duration and when your allergies are causing symptoms such as chronic sinus infections/ nasal congestions/ difficulty breathing/ experience hay fever/ other allergy symptoms, then you should consult the doctor.
Risk Factors of Rhinitis
Allergic diseases (asthma/ eczema)
Exposure to pets/ parental smoking
High total serum (IgE)
Diagnosis for Rhinitis
Is represented by sneezing/ nasal congestion/nasal pruritus/rhinorrhea.
When an allergic disease is suspected=skin prick test can be performed for confirmation.
When skin testing is difficult to interpret / not feasible (ie, dermatographism), allergen-specific IgE serum testing based on the patient’s history can be useful for diagnosis.
WHAT TO AVOID IN RHINITIS?
Eliminate meat/ dairy products/ white flour foods/ sugar
Stop using nasal drops unnecessarily as they aggravate the condition by stopping the drainage & hardening the mucous.
Decongestants should be avoided as they can increase blood pressure too.
Avoid cold/ damp living/ working/ sleeping quarters.
Avoid gluten food
Avoid chocolate/ cheese/congestion food
WHAT TO EAT IN RHINITIS?
Ginger-treated water for drinking.
Decoction prepared from Dashamula & Trikatu with honey can be taken.
Neti pot use found effective
Drink a lot of fluids to thin your mucus.
Drink lots of water cause Good hydration helps keep the mucus thin and loose.
Vitamin c intake in your daily diet.
Question & Answers
Q.1 What is Hay Fever?
Ans. Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, is an allergy-related inflammation of the nasal passages/ throat/ eye membranes usually caused by sensitivity to airborne pollens/molds/ some other reactions. It can have more adverse effects on a person with a family history of allergies.
Q.2 What are the differences between acute and chronic rhinitis?
Ans. Depending upon the duration with some signs and symptoms differences arise. Acute rhinitis usually lasts only for a few days/ up to 4 weeks with some signs and symptoms. But, in the case of chronic rhinitis, duration lasts for more than 4 consecutive weeks with signs and symptoms.
Q.3 What is a Skin prick test?
Ans. It is the most common skin allergy test. Firstly, you will get a series of tiny drops of allergens on the skin usually on the back surface/ area. After that, you will get a quick needle prick in the skin underneath each drop. If you are allergic to it, you will get a dime-sized hive that’s red and itchy at the needle prick site, if this happens then it is recommended to go for a follow-up to check the results.
Q.4 What is the role of histamine in rhinitis?
Ans. Histamine plays an important role in rhinitis more in allergic rhinitis. In susceptible individuals, allergen induces degranulation of mast cells of the nasal & release of histamine into the nasal mucosa. It has been detected after some controlled challenges with allergen & when administered into the nasal cavity too. Histamine receptors demonstrated in the nasal mucosa.
Q.5 What are the differences between sinusitis and rhinitis?
Ans. Allergic rhinitis (=hay fever) happens when someone breathes to allergic substances/ allergens and it results in inflammation and swelling occur inside the nose. On the other side, sinusitis is an inflammation of the lining of sinuses which can be acute/chronic depending on the causes.
Q.6 What are the impact of allergic rhinitis?
Ans. Impact of allergic rhinitis can influenced productivity, absent in work/school days / reduced activity/ comorbid diseases/ sinusitis/ asthma, etc.
Q.7 How allergens can cause allergic rhinitis?
Ans. Antigen-presenting cells, dendritic cells in the mucosal surface, process allergens & some peptides from allergens on the major histocompatibility complex(MHC) class 2 molecule. The MHC & antigen complex take a role as the ligand of T-cell receptors on naive CD4+ T cells, results in differentiation of naive CD4+ T cells to allergen-specific Th2 cells. Activated Th2 cells secret several cytokines, which induce isotype switching of B cells to produce specific IgE and proliferation of eosinophils, mast cells & neutrophils. Antigen-produced IgE binds to high-affinity IgE receptors on mast cells/ basophils usually.
Q.8 What is a pollen allergy?
Ans. Pollen= is a very fine powder produced by trees/ flowers/ grasses/ weeds to fertilize other plants of the same species. In many people, pollen can cause adverse immune responses. People who get pollen allergies have an immune system that identifies the harmless pollen as a dangerous intruder, and begins to produce chemicals to fight against the pollen causes allergy. It is known as an allergic reaction,& the specific type of pollen that causes is known as an allergen. Reaction leads to numerous irritating symptoms, such as sneezing/ stuffy nose/ watery eyes, etc.
Q.9 What is Rhinitis according to the Ayurveda concept?
Ans. In Ayurveda, Rhinitis is generally categorized in kaphaja and raktaja pratishyaya which is based on signs and symptoms occur due to doshas.
Q.10 How Ayurveda treatment works on Allergic Rhinitis?
Ans. Treatment is basically done on shamana and shodhana chiktsa with some classical formulations of Laxmi Vilas rasa/godanti bhasma etc. by Ayurveda physician after examining the patient carefully. It is recommended that to consult the doctor before taking any kind of medications.
1. Abhinava Shalakya Vigyan 2nd edition (2019) by Dr. Aparna Sharma, Nasa Roga.
2. Sushruta Samhita by Dr. Ambikadatta Shastri
3. Diseases of Ear, Nose and Throat & Head and Neck Surgery 6th edition by PL Dhingra and Shruti Dhingra.
4. Longmore, Wilkinson, Davidson, Foulkes, Mafi, Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine 8th Edition.
5. K Sembulingam, P Sembulingam, Essentials of Medical Physiology 6th Edition.
What is Cervical Spondylosis?
Cervical spondylosis is a disorder in which there is abnormal wear on the cartilage and/bones of the neck (cervical vertebrae) and it is a common cause of chronic neck pain. It is a degenerative condition of the cervical spine affecting the middle and old age group of both sexes leads to pain and stiffness in the neck, radiating pain to the arm, paraesthesia, numbness, headache, giddiness, etc.
In Ayurveda, Cervical spondylosis is caused by a Vata dosha aggravation and it’s mainly a Vata problem. Its clinical presentation is similar to Vishwachi in which degenerative condition of the cervical spine is common. It’s a disease that mainly affects the neck and upper extremities having signs and symptoms similar to that of cervical spondylosis. Vishwachi is a vataja nanatmaja vikara. The involvement of Vata in the clinical manifestation of vishwachi is of prime importance.
Cervical Spondylosis Symptoms & Signs
Often develop slowly over time, but they get worse suddenly
Pain may be mild/it can be deep and so severe that affected movements
After standing/sitting at night, the pain gets worsen
Pain over the shoulder blade/it may spread to the upper arm, forearm, fingers
Pain gets worse at night/sneezing/coughing/laughing/bending the neck backward/walking more than a few yards
Neck stiffness that gets worsen
Abnormal sensation/numbness in the shoulders/arms/legs
Headache (especially back of the head)
If pressure occurs on the spinal cord then, loss of control occurs over the bladder/bowels
Moving the head may make the pain worse and after sleeping neck stiffness is more common
Sometimes, these all changes result in a compression of the blood vessels, it can affect the blood supply to the brain and results in dizziness and blackouts
Dysphagia can occur rarely
Cervical Spondylosis Causes
It is caused by chronic wear on the cervical spine, includes the discs/cushions between the neck vertebrae and the joints b/w the bones of the cervical spine, there may be abnormal growths/spurs on the bones of the spine (vertebrae)
The major risk factor is aging. At the age of 60, most persons show signs of cervical spondylosis
Other factors include
Being overweight/not exercising
Having a job that requires heavy lifting/lot of bending/twisting
Past neck injury
Past spine surgery
Severe arthritis/small fractures/osteoporosis
When to See Your Doctor for Cervical Spondylosis Disease?
When pain and stiffness around the neck occur for long days and found unable to move properly your neck and facing difficulty and pain while bending, along with signs and symptoms that affect your daily routine, then you should consult the doctor.
Risk Factors of Cervical Spondylosis
Age- it’s a normal part of aging, occurs more commonly in old age persons
Occupation- Overhead work put extra stress on your neck
Genetic factors inherent
Repeated occupational trauma: carrying axial loads/professional dancing/gymnastics
Some conditions that contribute to segmental instability and excessive segmental motion like congenitally fused spine/cerebral palsy/down syndrome
Some myelopathy causes
Smoking also a risk factor
Cervical Spondylosis Prevention
Regular exercise for the speedy recovery
A heated pad/cold pack can provide pain relief when the neck muscles become sore
A soft neck brace can temporarily relieve pain if a person wears them for short periods
Maintain neck muscle strength, especially neck extensor strength for prevention in general
Avoid holding the head in 1 position (for long duration)
Avoid prolonged head extension
Be careful while performing physical activities
Hot shower in the morning can help
Headrest & seatbelt also may reduce the risk of developing this condition
Yoga Therapy: balasana, natarajasana, bitilasana, marjaryasana, viparitakaranai asana, utthita trikonasana, shavasana can help to reduce the effect of cervical spondylosis
Diagnosis of Cervical Spondylosis
EMG & nerve conduction velocity test may be done to examine nerve root function
The doctor will check the range of motion in your neck for proper identification and location of pain
Reflexes and muscle strength will be tested to find out if there’s pressure on your spinal nerves/spinal cord
Nerve conduction study
What to avoid in Cervical Spondylosis?
Potato/cucumber/cold drinks/ice-cream/rajma/dry meat, etc. Avoided
Bending/sudden stretching/weight lifting to be avoided for making it more severe
Long journey on two-wheeler/sitting in abnormal posture/sitting for a long time to be avoided
Avoid holding the head in 1 position ( for longer duration)
Avoid prolonged head extension
Be careful while performing physical activities
Consumption of high-fat dairy products can lead to inflammation
Avoid processed food completely
Avoid meat and dairy products which contain saturated foods & arachidonic acids
Avoid more caffeine consumption
Avoid red meat
Avoid foods that lead to more production of acidity
Avoid spicy/hot/salty/oily foods
What to eat in Cervical Spondylosis?
Black gram/horse gram/wheat/rice
Gingili oil/mustard oil/milk/butter/soar fruits
Drumstick fruits & leaves
Consume a diet that is rich in anti-inflammatory food substances
Fish/nuts/oilseeds/omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin- E rich foods
Diet rich in monounsaturated fatty acids
Replace rice with wheat
Bitter gaud/drumstick bitter vegetables
Questions & Answers
Q1. Why Cervical Spondylosis occur in old-age people?
Ans. Older age is a risk factor as in addition to age, people often get more likely to experience neck pain. It is the general term for age-related wear & tear affecting the spinal discs in the neck region. Also, it is caused due to disks dehydration and shrinking. In most people age > 50, discs between the vertebrae become less spongy & provide less of a cushion. Bones & ligaments get thicker and encroached the space of the spinal canal.
Q2. If myelopathy occurs with cervical spondylosis, then what will be the symptoms like?
Ans. Symptoms of cervical spondylosis with myelopathy include tingling/numbness/weakness in the arms, hands, legs, feet/lack of coordination & difficulty walking/abnormal reflexes/muscle spasms/loss of control over bladder/bowel incontinence.
Q3. How is Cervical Spondylosis diagnosed properly?
Ans. By taking a medical history with signs and symptoms appearing, it will be followed by a physical exam of the body by focussing on the neck/back/shoulders. The strength of hands and arms/reflexes test/loss of sensation checkups/walk/equilibrium can be tested. Other tests also can be done include x-ray/computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging( MRI), EMV tests, etc.
Q4. According to Ayurveda, which disease is similar to that of cervical spondylosis?
Ans. In Ayurveda, Cervical spondylosis is caused by a Vata dosha aggravation and it’s mainly a Vata problem. Its clinical presentation is similar to Vishwachi in which degenerative condition of the cervical spine is common. It’s a disease that mainly affects the neck and upper extremities having signs and symptoms similar to cervical spondylosis. Vishwachi is a vataja nanatmaja vikara. The involvement of Vata in the clinical manifestation of vishwachi is of prime importance.
Q5. What exactly is the meaning of the term ‘Spondylosis’?
Ans. Spondylosis is basically a painful condition and situation of the spine which results from the degeneration of the intervertebral discs. Often, it is considered a general term for age-related wear & tear of the spinal discs. It affects the vertebral discs and facet joints that gradually develop with age. This condition can narrow the spinal canal that further results in the compression of the spinal cord & nerve roots. Chronic compression can lead to damage to the spinal cord/can cause radicular arm pain further.
Q6. What are the complications of Cervical Spondylosis?
Ans. Complications of cervical spondylosis include: cervical myelopathy/paraplegia/tetraplegia/recurrent chest infection/pressure sores/recurrent urinary tract infection/progressive neurologic deficits/documented compression of the cervical nerve root/or spinal cord/intractable pain.
Q7. What is the role of psychosocial support in the treatment of cervical spondylosis?
Ans. Some patients with significant disabilities often react with fear/anxiety/depression. Postoperative depression is significantly associated with pain intensity/pain interference/pain-related disability. After surgery, results of one study of depression/negative affect among spinal surgery patients suggest postoperative screening for depression and treating depression to improve functional outcomes after spine surgery.
Q8. What are the various exercises and therapies recommended for cervical spondylosis?
Ans. Various exercises recommended to ease the symptoms of cervical spondylosis are neck stretch/neck tilt/side-to-side neck tilt/neck turn with 5 repetitions. In Ayurveda, some yoga therapies are there like, balasana, natarajasana, bitilasana, marjaryasana, viparitakaranai asana, utthita trikonasana, shavasana can help to reduce the effect of cervical spondylosis.
Q9. What is the role of physical therapy in the treatment of cervical spondylosis?
Ans. Usually, immobilization of the cervical spine occurs with severe cervical spondylosis with evidence of myelopathy. It limits the motion of the neck. Soft cervical collars are recommended for daytime use only. Patient’s tolerance and compliance are considered when any braces used. Isometric cervical exercises may help to limit the loss of muscle tone. Molded cervical pillows can better align the spine during sleep & provide symptomatic relief for some patients. Neck & upper back exercises are recommended. Yoga therapies also play an important role to reduce the inflammation and pain in cervical spondylosis.
Q10. How cervical spondylosis is cured through the Ayurveda line of treatment?
Ans. During the acute phase (about a week), usually complete bed rest & use of a thin pillow & hard bed is recommended. After acute phase, some panchakarma procedures like sadyovirechana, greevabasti, abhyanga, patra pinda sveda, nasya should be done.
Podikkizhi, ilakikizhi, greeva pichu, tailadhara, panchatikta & ksheera basti, shalishastic pinda sweda is also recommend. Mainly, all the above procedures done after examine the bala and prakriti of the patients. Along with these procedures, shamana chikitsa with recommend classical formulations should be given to the patient.
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2. Kayachikitsa Volume-3by Prof. Ajay Kumar Sharma (2017)
3. Charak Samhita, Chikitsa Sthana- ch-28
4. J.Alastair Innes, Davidson’s Essential of Medicine 2nd edition
5. K Sembulingam, P Sembulingam, Essentials of Medical Physiology 6th Edition