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Arthritis in Ayurveda

Learn how Ayurveda has the remedy to treat Arthritis.

Arthritis is one of the diseases which presents with pain. The word is derived from the Greek words Arthro-meaning joint, It is-meaning inflammation. Arthritis is a form of joint related disorder. It involves inflammation in one or more joints of the body. There are more than 100 forms of arthritis. The most common and popular arthritis we know are – Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Psoriatic arthritis, Gout, Septic arthritis etc.

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CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS OF ARTHRITIS 

CAUSES OF ARTHRITIS

  • Pain is an indication of a vata imbalance.
  • The aggravated vata brings rukshyata (dryness),laghutva (porousness), kharatva (coarseness) which causes the symptom of pain.
  • Inflammation of joints – like in Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Joint damage – due to accidents, traumas, occupation
  • Degeneration (wear and tear of joint on daily basis) – Ex. Osteoarthritis
  • Accumulation of crystals (uric acid or urate) in the joints – Ex. Gout
  • Low immunity and autoimmune process in the body wherein the body’s protective mechanism itself is harming the body by becoming destructive mechanism – Ex. Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Infection – Ex. Septic arthritis etc
  • Collagen vascular disorders – Ex. Lupus Erythematosus

SYMPTOMS OF ARTHRITIS

  • Joint pain (it may be due to inflammation, joint damage, wear and tear in the joint or joints on a daily basis, muscle strains caused due to forceful movements and fatigue). Intensity and severity of pain varies among different types of arthritis.
  • Joint Swelling
  • Joint stiffness (catch)
  • Aching around the joints 

Ayurvedic Classification of Arthritis, Joint Disorders

Taking the above concept of generalized classification of diseases in Ayurveda, let us try to classify the joint disorders also on similar lines. The Sandhi Roga’s, i.e. Joint Disorders or Musculoskeletal disorders can be classified as:

  • Nija Sandhi Roga – Joint Disorders occurring at the physical plane or Joint Diseases Proper
  • Sandhi Roga or Joint Disorders due to Dosha Vitiation: Most of the joint disorders which cause symptoms like pain, swelling, deformity etc fall under this category because the symptoms are felt and seen at physical level.
  • The structures forming the joint like bone and cartilage, the soft tissues around the joint like muscles, tendons etc show varying degrees of damage will cause pain and other related symptoms. According to Ayurveda, these diseases are caused due to the affliction of joints (musculoskeletal system) by the morbid Dosha’s.
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Management of Pain in Ayurveda

The main stages of Ayurvedic management of pain include determination of the causative factors (hetu), analyze the etiopathogenesis (samprapti) and select the suitable treatment. Ayurvedic treatment can be classified as pharmacological and non-pharmacological. Pharmacological treatment comprises of drug therapy using various single drugs and formulations, external therapies like:

  • Oil massage (abhyanga)
  • Hot fomentation (swedana)
  • Application of paste of drug on affected areas
  • Thermal cauterization (agni karma)
  • Chemical cauterization (kshara karma)
  • Medical leech therapy (jalookavacharana)
  • Bloodletting (rakta moksha)
  • Non-pharmacological approach using trigger point pressure massage (marma therapy)
  • Various yoga postures

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