OSTEOARTHITIS - AN AYURVEDIC VIEW
This article is a continuation of our discussions on osteoarthritis. Here we take a look into the Ayurvedic aspect of this disorder.
According to Ayurveda Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease caused due to aggravation of the dynamic factor – VATA and is therefore called Sandhigata vata. It is characterized by the deterioration of cartilage in the joints, resulting in pain and reduced or loss of function. This condition primarily affects weight-bearing joints such as the reason for which has been attributed to the fact that these weight bearing joints are the sights in maximum motion. These weight bearing joints therefore slowly come to a state which has an aggravated VATA which reduces KAPHA the principle which is known to have binding and lubricating properties. This leads to increased friction and damage to osteophytes as suggested in modern science and cause the pain and stiffness associated with the disease.
Osteoarthritis worst affects movable synovial joints as these are the primary sights where joints show maximum movement and therefore erosion of KAPHA. Here in these joints, the ends of the bones are covered with cartilage which is a premature form of bone and is primarily rich in KAPHA. According to ayurvedic principles when KAPHA is replaced by VATA hardening of structures occurs as it removes the WATER component and increases the solid mass leading to hardening. Synovial fluid carries nourishes the cartilage, preventing it from becoming dry and brittle and keeping its surface lubricated so the joints can work smoothly. The joint capsule encloses the joint, protects it, and keeps the synovial fluid within the joint.
Incidence and Prevalence
This condition is more common in people middle-aged and older. After the age of 45, osteoarthritis affects more women than men.
Causes and Factors
Deterioration of the cartilage in the joint is the main cause resulting in osteoarthritis. The major risk factor is aging. Approximately 70% of people over the age of 65 show some signs of osteoarthritis upon x-ray examination. Other factors are:
- Congenital or developmental disorders
- Female sex
- Major trauma
- Metabolic or endocrine disorders
- Repetitive overuse
Signs and Symptoms
In some cases osteoarthritis can be asymptomatic and may be diagnosed incidentally upon x-ray. When symptoms occur, they can range from mild to severe Pain – which is described as a deep ache confined to the affected joint. Pain tends to increase with use of the joint and subsides with rest; however, as the disease progresses, pain may become persistent. Osteoarthritis may cause pain at night that interferes with sleep.
Stiffness in the joint may occur due to inactivity
Osteoarthritis is diagnosed using x-rays.
According to ayurvedic principles the treatment is divided into 3 segments.
- Diet which seeks to reduce if not eliminate VATA aggravating dry, rough, cold food.
- Lifestyle which also seeks to reduce any similar aggravations of VATA which primarily seeks to develop a lifestyle where a balance of VATA and KAPHA can be maintained if not improved significantly.
- Medication is also of two types and both combined together are supposed to yield best results however, a person’s state of health determines if he is eligible for the combination or not. This is medicine + panchakarma.
Primarily the medicines that may be prescribed should be standardized products and should be backed by authentic research (kinds of which recommended at Ayushya Varsha. One’s quoted here are not necessarily the only medications but always remember to choose brands which have standardized products backed by some research) these could be – eg: RHUMALYA forte and RESOTO from HIMALAYA, and REUMAZALL from Shree BAIDYANATH AYURVEDA BHAWAN.
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THE NEXT ARTICLE IN THIS SERIES SHALL EVALUATE HOW CAN WE COMBINE TOGETHER THE MODERN AND AYURVEDIC SYSTEMS TOGETHER FOR A BETTER MAINTENANCE OF HEALTH IN CASE OF OSTEOARTHRITIS.