Best Ways to Get Relief From Arthritis
Arthritis or joint-related problems can happen to anyone at any stage. It is the most common problem that grows with increasing age. Degenerative changes due to regular wear and tear are responsible for arthritis. Along with this, trauma can also be one of the factors responsible for the onset of arthritis. The most frequently affected joints remain the weight-bearing ones, the knees. In many cases, involvement of hip and wrist joints is also observed.
- Globally, a population of 365 million have arthritis.
- It has two types: Osteoarthritis & rheumatoid arthritis. Both of the types are common in females
- In Ayurveda, osteoarthritis is correlated with Sandhi Vata, and Rheumatoid Arthritis is correlated with Ama Vata.
- The symptoms in both of the conditions are almost common like pain, tenderness, swelling, inflammation, heat, etc.
- The best ways to get relief from arthritis are massage, sudation, and intake of effective Ayurveda herbs.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is formed from two different words “Arthr” which means joints and “itis” which is inflammation. The literal meaning of arthritis is joint inflammation. It has two types:
- Arthritis that happens with age is called Osteoarthritis and is most common in females of menopausal age. It mostly affects the weight-bearing joints like knees & hip joints.
- Another type of arthritis is Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which is an autoimmune condition affecting small joints initially like finger and toe joints (interphalangeal, metacarpophalangeal joints & metatarsophalangeal joints).
What Causes Arthritis?
The causes of arthritis are explained by both modern science and Ayurveda. They are as follows:
According to Modern
Age: With age the chances to develop arthritis increases due to gradual wear and tear of the joints. Excessive weight lifting, jumping, running, doing a lot of work while sitting on your knees, etc. are the contributing factors to fasten up the process.
Sex: Females are more prone to develop arthritis. The reason is the fluctuations of estrogen levels in the body especially before and after menopause. Moreover, genetic predispositions are more common in women than in men. Also, variation in pelvic structure can play a role in the development of arthritis related to regular wear and tear.
Obesity/ Overweight: Being overweight puts a lot of pressure on your weight-bearing joints resulting in early degeneration of knee and hip joints.
Trauma/ Injury: Any external trauma to the joints can also result in early degeneration of joints.
According to Ayurveda
Like modern science, Ayurveda has also divided arthritis into two parts. Osteoarthritis is correlated with sandhi Vata and rheumatoid arthritis is correlated with Aam Vata. In both of the cases, Prakopa or aggravation of Vata dosha is common.
- Sandhi Vata is developed due to Prakopa/ Aggravation of Vata alone thus resulting in degenerative changes & it is common with age.
- In the case of Rheumatoid arthritis there is the involvement of All three doshas with dominance of Vata dosha. These aggravated doshas get mixed with Ama or toxins in the body and due to the ‘chal guna’ (Property to move) of Vata Dosha gets situated in different joints causing inflammation, pain, tenderness, and difficulty in movement.
- In the case of Sandhi Vata, the major causes for its occurrence are overuse of joints, increasing age, depletion of bodily tissues & trauma. These all factors aggravate Vata dosha.
- In rheumatoid arthritis, Guru Ahara (heavy to digest), Viruddha Ahara (incompatible diet), Dadhi (curd), fish, Masha (black gram) & Vegadharana (suppression of natural urges) is the commonest factors responsible for tridosha aggravation and formation of toxins in the body thus resulting in the onset of RA.
Symptoms of Arthritis
The symptoms of Arthritis are as follows:
- Pain and tenderness
- Swelling or inflammation
- Redness and heat
- Stiffness for an entire day in osteoarthritis
- Early morning stiffness in Rheumatoid arthritis, that eases as the day passes
- Motion/Movement restriction or decreased range of motion
Effective Methods to Get Relief From Arthritis
The best ways to get relief in Arthritis are through various home remedies and with Ayurveda herbs. Many ways are advised in classical Ayurvedic texts separately for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
1. Massage & Sudation: (For Osteoarthritis & Rheumatoid Arthritis)
Massaging painful areas or joints with potent classical oils or medicated oils can be of great help. After massaging, therapy is recommended. The oil should be warm as well.
If classical oils or medicated oils are unavailable, then you can make oil massage oils at home.
Take 100 ml of mustard oil or til oil. Heat the oil in a vessel or utensil and add 5-8 cloves of garlic to it. Cook the garlic cloves well in oil and take the utensil off the flame. Let it cool down, stain, and store in a bottle. Use it at least two to three times a day after warming it through a water bath method.
Note*: Water bath Method: Pour the amount of oil used in a small bowl and place the bowl in hot water. The oil gets warm indirectly & is ready for application.
Sudation at home can be done using a hot water bottle or with a cotton cloth after dipping in hot water and squeezing the cloth before application on the required area.
The same is not recommended for Rheumatoid arthritis as it increases the pain and stiffness.
In the case of Rheumatoid Arthritis dry massaging is recommended like with hot stone or warm sand. Followed by Sudation therapy. These two are the types of moderate-pressure massaging and are of great benefit in this case.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis can also opt for local heat therapy at home. This can be performed using hot water bags or hot cloth compression.
It is recommended to patients with osteoarthritis that they perform exercises that can strengthen the muscles around the joints. Like cycling, extension, and flexion of the knee joint while sitting on a chair along with avoidance of postures putting pressure on knees like squatting and walking downhill.
Brisk walking in a straight line is recommended to both but excessive walking or exercising can worsen the situation in Rheumatoid arthritis. Mild exercise is recommended in case of rheumatoid arthritis.
3. Wearing Knee caps:
Knee caps provide external support to the knees. Wearing knee caps provides an external heat source to the knees thus helping with pain while moving and provides stability as well.
4. Management of weight:
Maintaining an ideal weight is of help in such cases because as mentioned before excess weight puts a lot of pressure on the knees. So, weight management can help in both types of arthritis discussed in this article.
Can Ayurveda Manage Arthritis?
Ayurveda is an ancient system of medicine that has many hidden secrets that can help with different types of conditions, disorders, and diseases. In case of arthritis, any type of arthritis can be managed with Ayurveda. As mentioned in the article before osteoarthritis can be managed using massaging and sudation but on the other hand Rheumatoid arthritis can be managed with some different approaches.
In osteoarthritis, Janu basti with medicated oils is done followed by medication therapy.
In Rheumatoid arthritis, Baluka swedana is preferred It provides marked improvement in symptoms of RA. Also, there are many types of medicated enema therapies recommended for this case in Ayurveda.
Herbs like Haridra & Shallaki work best in both types of arthritis. In addition, the resin of guggul mixed with herbs like Adrak, Pippali, Saindhav Lavan, Dhaniya seeds, Cumin, etc are of great help in this condition. Such combinations help in the pacification of Vata in both of the vases and eliminate toxins from the body.
Arthritis is a very common problem in old age people and one of its types (Rheumatoid arthritis) is affecting the population even at a young age. Though the credit for the early onset of such conditions goes to our lifestyle and diet, still we have time to understand what’s best for us and what’s not. That’s where Ayurveda comes into the frame. Ayurveda herbs, therapies, and formulations can help manage such chronic conditions very well.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the common symptoms of arthritis?
The commonest symptoms of arthritis are Pain, tenderness, swelling, or inflammation redness, heat, stiffness for the entire day in osteoarthritis & early morning stiffness in Rheumatoid arthritis (that eases as the day passes) along with motion/movement restriction.
Who is at risk of developing arthritis?
Development of arthritis is mostly seen in old age people especially females, menopausal females, people with a history of trauma, and populations with mismanaged lifestyles & diets are at risk of developing arthritis.
What are the available treatment options for arthritis?
Treatment options in the case of arthritis are medications, physical therapy, lifestyle modifications like weight management, joint protection, and surgery along with alternative and complementary therapies.
Can arthritis be cured with Ayurveda?
Ayurveda is a holistic system of medicine that has many herbs and herbal preparations as a solution to many health conditions and one of them is arthritis. Arthritis is well managed with medicated oils, decoctions, enema, and sudation therapy.