Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis affection many individuals worldwide. Although it can be seen any age, adults are suspected to get affected. OA is regarded as degenerative joint disease.
When two bones come together it is called as joint. The ends of bones are covered with protective tissue known as cartilage. In case of OA, these cartilages break down, which cause the bones to rub each other resulting in pain, stiffness and other associated symptoms. OA can affect any joint but most commonly in knees, hands, hips and spine.
The symptoms of OA, can be managed through medical intervention which will protect further degeneration. Maintaining healthy weight, staying active and proper medication will reduce the progress of the disease.
What are the causes of Osteoarthritis?
- Obesity – Obesity is one of the main reasons for this degenerative disease. Due to overweight, more pressure is applied over knees and hip joints which results in wear and tear.
- Lack of Sufficient Nutrition – Due to nutritional deficiency the joints tend to develop osteoarthritis
- Increased Joint stress – Increased pressure in the weight bearing joints increases the risk of OA. Using high heels in women can aggravate the condition. Dancers and sports person who undergo vigorous training are also under high risk category.
- Joint Injuries – Any injury that occurred during any activity or accident that affected the joints is another main cause for OA.
- Hereditary – People who have OA in their family are under high risk
- Age – As the age progresses, the chances of degeneration would be high.
- Gender- Studies found, females are more prone to get affected with OA after an age of 50.
- Genetics – Genetically few individual inherit a chance to develop osteoarthritis.
- Bone deformities – People who have any malformed joints or cartilage problems are more likely to be affected with OA
- Associated diseases – Individuals suffering from diabetes, rheumatic diseases, and gouty arthritis has an increased risk of getting OA.
What are the Symptoms of osteoarthritis?
- Pain – Severe pain in the joints mostly associated with burning sensation are the most common symptom of osteoarthritis. Pain may constant or occurs occasionally while doing any activity.
- Tenderness in the joints is experienced while pressure is applied over the joint.
- Stiffness in the joints – The joints get stiff due to inactivity. It can be either due to inactivity or while getting up after sleep.
- Loss of flexibility in the joints
- Muscle weakness – The muscles around the affected joints generally gets weaker. This is most commonly seen in the knee joints.
- Inflammatory signs in joints – Swelling are not very common but in few cases mild swelling can be seen.
- Deformity in the joints – Joints tends to lose its normal shape when the condition is worsened.
- Decreased mobility of the affected area – The natural movements in the joints will gradually reduce. As it progresses the symptoms get worse and cannot bend, flex or extend the joints. Due to this decreased activity the range of mobility is further affected.
- Cracking sounds from the joints – Joints make cracking sounds while walking or climbing stairs.
- Insomnia – Due to unbearable pain and stiffness, the quality of sleep may be compromised.
- Spinal stenosis – This is a condition where there is narrowing of spaces within the spine. Due to this pressure is generated which causes pain, weakness, and numbness.
- Spur formation – Rarely there may be extra growth over the bones around the affected area.
- Other symptoms may include – Heaviness in the body, loss of appetite, warm and numb joints, occasionally fever.
Ayurvedic approach to Osteoarthritis
Ayurveda considers OA as Sandhigata vata which happens due to aggravation of vata dosha. These aggravated vata due to various reasons lodges in the sandhis (joints) and leads to sandhigata vata.
Ayurveda has described osteoarthritis treatment to prevent further deterioration of joints and protects the cartilages. Various Ayurvedic medicines for osteoarthritis treatment are mentioned in the classics that help to heal this condition and strengthens the joints.
Osteoarthritis treatment in Ayurveda include various panchakarma therapies along with localized treatments which is done to the affected joints. Joint pain treatments include –
- Local abhyanga (massage to affected joint)
- Janu Basti (Retaining medicated oil in the knees)
- Patra pinda sweda (Massage with herbal plants tied in pottali)
- Lepana (Applying medicated paste over the joints)
- Upanaha (hot poultice – a type of fomentation)
- Dhara ( Continuous pouring of medicated oil or liquid )
- Raktamokshana (Blood Letting)
- Internal medications
Home Remedy for Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis commonly affect the weight bearing joints like knee and hip. Few home remedies that can help in osteoarthritis are –
- Turmeric – Add turmeric in the diet or consume turmeric with honey.
Curcumin is the active compound present in turmeric which possess excellent anti-inflammatory activity and good antioxidant.
- Ajwain – Boil the water with spoonful of ajwain seeds. Soak the aching joints in this water and sit for 10mins. Doing this ease the swelling and is the best remedy for joint pain treatment
Ajwain is a natural aid that has strong anti-inflammatory action. This is helpful in managing the pain winter season.
- Ginger – Make ginger tea for intake or make a paste of ginger powder and apply over the joints with swelling and pain.
It brings heat in the region and possess healing properties. It is also known to increase blood circulation.
- Fenugreek – Take handful of fenugreek seeds and roast it. After roasting thoroughly crush these and make it to powder.
Make a thick paste with water and apply over the affected joint.
Regularly oiling the body with sesame oil or any medicated oil followed by fomentation helps to manage osteoarthritis.
The osteoarthritis treatment in Ayurveda stresses upon this practise and retaining the oil for 30 to 40min is advised. Retaining the oil in the joints is a great remedy for osteoarthritis knee treatment.
- Regular practice of taking ghee in the diet helps to lubricate all the joints and keeps it healthy.
Ghee can be regarded as one of the best Ayurvedic medicine for osteoarthritis and Vata disorders in the body.