What is arthritis?
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. It can affect one joint or multiple joints. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, with different causes and treatment methods. Two of the most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The symptoms of arthritis usually develop over time, but they may also appear suddenly. Arthritis is most commonly seen in adults over the age of 65, but it can also develop in children, teens, and younger adults. Arthritis is more common in women than men and in people who are overweight.
What are the symptoms of arthritis?
Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling are the most common symptoms of arthritis. Your range of motion may also decrease, and you may experience redness of the skin around the joint. Many people with arthritis notice their symptoms are worse in the morning.
In the case of RA, you may feel tired or experience a loss of appetite due to the inflammation the immune system’s activity causes. You may also become anaemic — meaning your red blood cell count decreases — or have a slight fever. Severe RA can cause joint deformity if left untreated.
What causes arthritis?
Cartilage is a firm but flexible connective tissue in your joints. It protects the joints by absorbing the pressure and shock created when you move and put stress on them. A reduction in the normal amount of this cartilage tissue cause some forms of arthritis.
Normal wear and tear causes OA, one of the most common forms of arthritis. An infection or injury to the joints can exacerbate this natural breakdown of cartilage tissue. Your risk of developing OA may be higher if you have a family history of the disease.
Another common form of arthritis, RA, is an Auto immune disorder. It occurs when your body’s immune system attacks the tissues of the body. These attacks affect the synovium, a soft tissue in your joints that produces a fluid that nourishes the cartilage and lubricates the joints.
RA is a disease of the synovium that will invade and destroy a joint. It can eventually lead to the destruction of both bone and cartilage inside the joint. The exact cause of the immune system’s attacks is unknown. But scientists have discovered genetic markers that increase your risk of developing RA fivefold.
How is arthritis treated?
The main goal of treatment is to reduce the amount of pain you’re experiencing and prevent additional damage to the joints. You’ll learn what works best for you in terms of controlling pain. Some people find to be soothing. Others use mobility assistance devices, like canes or walkers, to help take pressure off sore joints. Improving your joint function is also important. Your doctor may prescribe you a combination of treatment methods to achieve the best results.
Inflammation and resultant pain in the joints are usually the basic tenets of Arthritis. This joint disorder can be painful and often, a debilitating one. It can also make the joints stiff. There are many ways of dealing with this problem, but with Ayurveda, one can get to the root cause of the ailment and its presence. This helps in taking a well rounded holistic approach towards treating it with ancient know how that revolves around herbs and other natural substances which have great medicinal value, lifestyle changes, diet, exercise and Yoga, oil massages, and other methods. Arthritis is known as Sandhivat in Ayurvedic jargon.
Read on to find out how Ayurveda can help in dealing with Arthritis.
Herbs: One can make use of various herbs that contain Linoleic Acid to help in providing lubrication to the joints so as to prevent pain and stiffness. These herbs include Borage seed oil which is extracted from borage seed, Evening Primrose oil, Blackcurrant seed oil, Capsaicin, Curcumin, Feverfew, Flaxseed oil and a standard Ayurvedic concoction that combines Ashwagandha, Gugulla, ginger, cumin and haldi or turmeric. These substances can help in treating the joints that are suffering from the pain of Arthritis.
Diet: In Ayurveda, to treat ailments like Arthritis, it is usually recommended that a patient should start by flushing out the bodily toxins from within. Diet is one of the ways in which this can be done. A detoxification diet to clean the colon would be one of the foremost ways of doing a cleanse. Further, in one's daily diet, there should be a good dose of vegetables, fruits and other juices. Also, one must have plenty of herbs and spices which can be used to season the food. Curd should generally be avoided and garlic should be used liberally. The various properties help in an inside-out cleanse that will help the system function in a better manner so that the treatment of ailments is also effectively supported.
Exercise: In Ayurveda, a certain amount of daily exercise which spans at least 45 minutes to one hour, is a must. A pattern of healthy eating, restful sleep and exercise is what usually helps in treating ailments like Arthritis. For this ailment specifically, light exercise like walking is recommended. Various Yoga asanas that involve sitting, standing, balancing and lying down poses as well as restful poses will also help in treating knee, shoulder and lower back pain specifically. Also, mustard oil massages can help in reducing the pain.
These are a few ways in which Ayurveda can help the Arthritis patient live a more normal life with minimal pain.