Knee Arthritisan - An Ayurvedic Approach
by Dr. Kalpana Gangurde
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medical practice that encompances a range of treatments including medicinal herbs, change in diet, meditation, massage & Yoga to maintain or restore health.
Ayurvedic science is based upon the principal of Bio - energy. These are three types of bio-energy of Dashas called Vat, pitta, kaph, which control metabolism & all other function of human body.
The equilibrium of Dashas provide complete health & inbalance of dashas lead to various disorders.
According to Ayurveda arthritis is primarly a Vata disorder. Arthritis is mainly caused due to an excess of ama & poor digestion. Poor digestion and weakened colon allows toxins (Ama) to accumulate in the body & problems with colon allow the toxins to reach & accumulate in joints. This inhibits joint function, mobility & comfort.
(OA) Osteoarthritis is Vat disorder in which excessive vat energy cause dryness in the joint followed by pain, swelling and stiffness of affected joint.
Ayurvedic therapy in OA not only prevents further detoriation in the joint but also rejuvenate the damaged cartilage.
Ayurvedic approach to osteoarthritis is give the only moderate effectiveness and potential side effects of conventional treatment. Ayurveda offers safe and effective treatment alternative for Osteoarthritis.
Ayurveda used to treat Osteoarthritis and other disorders with many modalities, like-herbal treatment, meditation, yoga, massage, fomentation, diet plan etc.
Herbal treatment: Ayurveda offers many herbal treatments for the treatment of osteoarthritis.
These plants have documented anti - inflammatory properties without the side effects of commonly prescribed allopathy medications. These plants also rejuvenate the damage cartilage to some extent.
Guggul: (Commiphera guggul), Turmeric, Ashwagandha (withania somnifera), ginger has anti-inflammatory effects.
These plants has been shown to inhibit the key of inflammation producing enzymes and thus disturbing the inflammatory cascade.
All these plants works on Vatdasha.
Triphala: A mixture of Amalaki, Bhibhitaki and Haritaki which in combination regulate the digestive systems and improve the metabolism and hence lessen the 'Ama' (toxins) which is plays important role in arthritis.
Ashwagandha and shatawari - exert smooth and lubricating effect on joints, also strengths the muscles of ligaments of joints Hence improve the joint stability, function and movability.
The treatment differs from person to person which would be defined after a careful examination of the patient by the specialist.
Meditation: Health is achieved by balancing not only the body but also mind and spirit as well.
An important principal of Ayurveda is acknowledgment of the imbalance of the emotional and spiritual aspect of health and healing.
Meditation provides a way to achieve the balance and also create many physiological change including reduction in inflammation of body provides good sleep, controls heart rate respiration.
Meditation is powerful tool for training our mind to regulate our emotions, reduce anticipation of pain and increase relaxation thereby decrease own perception of pain. Hence meditation have value as part of treatment regimen for chronic pain.
Pranayam: Simple pranayam is recommended which involved deep breathing excersise.
With right nostril inhale very slowly after inhalation hold the breath till you are able to hold it and then exhale very slowly (twice slowly as compared to inhale) with left nostril.
Be relax and again start with inhalation from left nostril and exhale from right nostril continue the cycle for many times ( as possible as you can).
Yoga: Yoga is an ancient practice originating in India which emphasize mental, physical, and spiritual health. Yoga provides numerous health benefits.
Gentle yoga not only strengthens the muscle that supports the joints but also improves flexibility of the muscles. People who have arthritis in their knee are particularly likely to benefit from Yoga. Yoga also stimulate the knee cartilage which without use becomes brittle and more susceptible to decay.
How to get start Yoga: Always listen your body, and never go beyond what is comfortable. Don't compare with any other person. Focus on the breath with each pose to connect you to the present moment. All pose can be modified for safety and comfort.
Consult your doctor before you begin taking yoga to see if there are any limitation in what you should be doing.
Effective pose for knee arthritis: Triangle pose (Trikonasan), Stand up right and spread your legs about a foot distance apart, Gently bring your hand to the ground letting your pelvis shift slightly to the opposite side. Move the other hand straight up to the air and maintain the posture with relaxed, even breath. Then again start the same procedure with the other side.
Arthritis can lead to feeling of frustration and stress because you feel less able to do things. Yoga, meditation and pranayam has positive psychological effect. Hence people tend to feel calmness and more positive.
Other few useful medicines in Ayurveda
Abhayang (Massage): A little massage of medicated herbal oil is very effective. A gentle massage stimulate strengthening of the tissue, muscle and improving blood circulation to the joints.
Sweda: Medicated steam bath after massage. Improve the flexibility of the joints, strength to the muscle, tissue, ligaments of the joints. It also helps in reduction in both pain and inflammation.
If massage and and hot fomentation is followed by Yogasanas, it it has been found to be more fruitful.
Aahar (Diet): Have balance food Take food rich in calcium. Drink milk regularly as it has vitamin-D content in it.
It is essential to include a moderate amount of ghee and oil in diet as it lubricates the joints. Avoid excess non vegetarian diet.
Also follow some basic rules of not eating wrong combinations of food. Eat only up to your limit, strictly follow the timings of your eating and do not eat in between meals.
Vihar (Life style):
- Avoid stress.
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco.
- Should have sound sleep.
- Keep your weight under control.
Note: Please keep in mind Ayurveda is not only the solution of your arthritis. You may need to continue your allopathic medicines. Hence consult your doctor first and know about your arthritis properly.