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Osteoarthritis - Symptoms and causes

Dr.C Manoj Kumar,Chief Physician, Nagarjuna Ayurvedic Centre Kalady, Kerala


Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis which is due to the progressive degenerative changes in the cartilages and bones participating in a joint. This is more common in old age. The most common symptoms are pain and stiffness. Joint swelling and reduction in range of movements are also seen in certain cases.

This condition starts as mild pain and stiffness,slowly worsening over a period of time, ultimately ending up in complete wearing out of the cartilage and the bony surface. This results in reduction in different movements of the joint. The most common joints affected with osteo arthritis are fingers, shoulder,hip, low back, knee and neck. Excess mechanical stress and strain in the joints due to excess weight, wrong movements and previous injury are the basic reasons for this condition.

According to Ayurveda, this condition can be related to Sandhigatha vata. Due to the mechanical stress and over usage, Vata aggravates in the affected joint and dehydrate the soft structures and thereby make the bones brittle. These dehydrated and brittle structures go through progressive degenerative changes when the mechanical stress still continues. This damage will affect the smooth and aligned functions of the joints.

Ayurveda and Nagarjuna offers very good prognosis in the management of this condition. The treatment will save the joint from going for replacement. The internal medicines and the external therapies will help in repairing the wear and tear and strengthening the core supporting structures and stabilize the joint. As the therapies are done all over the body, focusing more on the affected parts, all the joints will get benefit from the treatments.

With appropriate internal medicines, massage of the affected area with selected medicated oils, massage with herbal powder bag (podi kizhi) heated in the appropriate warm medicated oil, massage with herbal leaf bag (ela kizhi) dipped in warm medicated oil, pouring medicated oil all over the body (pizhichil) , cooked medicated rice bag massage (njavara kizhi), , application of the herbal paste on the knee, bandage of the affected part with medicated oil, Having an oil pool placed at the knee (janu vasti), one can attain very good results. Panchakarma procedures like medicated enema (vasti), nasal administration (nasya) of medicated oils are done in this condition.

Any person planning for a knee replacement surgery should try undergoing Ayurvedic treatment before going under the knife.

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