The word "Arthritis" means 'inflammation of joints. It comes from two words, arthron meaning joints and itis meaning inflammation. It is a chronic disease process. In the early stages, the whole body is usually involved and one or two joints may become completely deformed, leaving the patient handicapped and somewhat weakened. Arthritis assumed various forms, the most frequent being Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammation is the main feature of arthritis which is a reaction of the joint tissues to some form of damage or injury.
What is Osteoarthritis(OA)?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease which usually occurs in older age. According to Ayurveda, Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that occurs due to aggravation of Vata dosha, known as sandhi-gata-vata. This is the form of arthritis that usually comes with age and most often affects the fingers, knees, and hips.
If arthritis is due to Vata your joints crack and pop. They become dry and are not swollen as they may be if excess Vata is not the cause. The joints may also feel cold to the touch. They are painful mostly upon moment, and there is usually one particular tender spot. Jogging, jumping, trampolining, or any strenuous exercise tends to aggravate the pain.
Kapha -type Arthritis
In kaphaja of type Arthritis, the joint also becomes stiff and swollen, but it feels cold and clammy rather than hot. A little movement, rather than aggravating the pain, tends to relieve it. The pain is greater in the morning, and as the person starts moving around, the pain diminishes.
Depending on the person's lifestyle, diet and emotional pattern, either vata ,pitta or kapha goes out of balance. then that particular dosha slows down Agni (digestive fire), resulting in the toxic, sticky byproduct of inadequate digestion known as ama.
Vata, the main active dosha, brings the ama into the colon, and from there it travels through the system and lodges in the asthi-dhatu (bone tissue) and in the joints, giving rise to the stiffness and pain characteristic of arthritis.
So our aim in treating Arthritis is to remove the ama from the joint and bring it back to the colon and then to eliminate it.
Essentials of diagnosis
- Joint pain exacerbated by activity and is relieved with rest.
- Stiffness that is self-limited upon awakening in the morning or when rising from a seated position after an extended period of inactivity.
- Examination notable for increased bony prominence at the joint margins, crepitus or grating secretion upon joint manipulation, and tenderness over the joint line of the symptomatic joint.
- Diagnosis is supported by radiographic features of joint space narrowing and spur (osteophyte) formation.
Treatment of osteoarthritis
Treatment for each type of Arthritis is unique. But for all cases, it is important to know that Arthritis begins in the colon.
This is why, to relieve Arthritis, it is important to keep the colon clean. To accomplish this, if you do not know positively whether it is Vata, Pitta, or Kapha type of Arthritis, taking Triphala at night with some warm water will be effective for all types. Alternatively, if you know positively which type it is, you can use Haritaki for Vata- type arthritis, Amalaki for Pitta type and Bibhitaki for kapha type arthritis
- Avoiding or minimising the use of the pungent, astringent, bitter rasa and sheet virya ahar especially.
- Intake of rejuvenation medicines before 45 years.
- Regular practice of massage.
- Rice pudding massage or oil pouring once a year after 40 years of age.
- Avoiding jerky movements.
- Avoiding continuous and excessive use of one joint.
- Avoid long standing, and walking long distances.
- Maintaining a healthy weight may be the single most important thing you can do to prevent osteoarthritis.
- Protect your joints from serious injury or repeated minor injury to decrease your risk of damaging cartilage.
- Exercise can help reduce joint pain and stiffness to moderate intensity physical activity may prevent a decline in, and may even restore, health and function.