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Arthritis -Symptoms and Causes

Arthritis can be defined as inflammation or swelling of one or more joints. It also affects the surrounding tissues. Depending on different types of Arthritis, there may be varied symptoms, but they usually include joint pain and stiffness.

Commonly seen Arthritis are: Osteoarthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Let’s take a case:

“A woman of age 67yrs who was normal three years ago gradually developed pain in both her knee joints. She experienced intense pain while walking, standing, or doing any work.

She also experienced sounds (crepitus) while moving her joints. This affected her daily life, and she could not do her routine work.

So, she opted for Ayurvedic treatment. She underwent a course of Abhyanga (Massage) with prescribed herbal oils and then underwent Virechana therapy.

Gradually, she observed a reduction in pain. She was able to move joints without pain and difficulty.”

Now let’s see what Osteoarthritis is: It is the most common type of Arthritis. It usually affects the joints of the hands, hips, and knees.

Osteoarthritis is called Sandhigata Vata in Ayurveda, which is one among the Vata Vyadhis. Due to the localisation of morbid or vitiated Vata in the joints, it produces pain.

Causes: Excessive exercise, Injury, Suppression of natural urges, Excess consumption of dry foods.

Signs and Symptoms: Shula (Pain), Atopa (Crepitus), Shotha (Swelling), Vata purna driti sparsha (Sounds resemble that of when we rub against balloon), Prasarana akunchanayoho pravrutti savedana (Painful movement of joints when extended or flexed).

Management: External management: Abhyanga (Massage) using herbal oils, Avagaha, Seka, Local Basthi Internal management: Snehapana, Virechana, Basthi

Now, let’s take a case:

“A man of age 72yrs who was normal ten years back gradually developed with Indigestion, Anorexia and Weakness. He took medications for indigestion but they didn’t give him complete relief.

Slowly he developed pain in his knee joints and fingers. He could not move his joints properly because it caused him much pain. He also developed a fever and generalised body aches. His routine work was affected by this pain.

The pain got aggravated when he was exposed to cold weather.

So, he was first treated for indigestion by administering a different diet. He started with langhana (Fasting) and then was given tikta katu deepana medicine (Digestion-promoting medicines with a pungent and bitter taste). Lastly, he was given Virechana, one of the Panchakarma treatment.

Now, slowly the pain is reducing, and he can work daily easily.”

Let’s see what Rheumatoid arthritis is :

It is a painful condition which initially affects the gut by producing symptoms like indigestion and anorexia. Later, it affects all tissues, joints, and bones.

It is co-related to Amavata in Ayurveda. In this condition, vitiated Vata carries Ama into different body parts and effects.

Causes: Viruddha Ahara (Incompatible food), Viruddha Chesta (Unwholesome lifestyle), Nischala (Sedentary lifestyle), Mandagni (Low metabolism)

Symptoms: Generalised body ache, Anorexia, Thirst, Weakness, Fever, Indigestion, and Swelling in the affected body parts.

Management: Internal management: Langhana (Fasting), Tikta katu deepana (Digestion promoting medicines with a pungent and bitter taste), Virechana, Basti.

External management: Abhyanga (Herbal oil massage), Upanaha (Poultice), Swedana (Steam therapy).


Let’s take a case:

“A man of age 35 years was normal two years ago, and now he gradually developed immense pain in his legs. He could not walk, climb stairs or stand for a long time.

Slowly he observed inflammation in his legs and felt stiffness in his joints. Pain aggravated when exposed to cold weather, and he could not work effectively with the pain.

He underwent Panchakarma treatment – Vamana (Emesis) and Virechana (Purgation).

First, he started with digestion, promoting medicine to treat his indigestion. He was given snehapana to oleate the body and finally took pills for emesis and purgation.

After the treatment, he observed a reduction in pain and inflammation.”

Now let’s see what Gout is:

It is a painful condition in which uric acid crystallises and deposits in the joints, which produces inflammation.

This can be co-related to Vataraktha. Here vitiated Vata affects the Raktha dhatu and produces symptoms.

Causes: Excessive consumption of salts-sour-pungent-oily and hot foods, indigestion, Sleeping during daytime.

Symptoms: Pain, Numbness, Inflammation, Stiffness

Management: Basti (Enema therapy), Rakthamokshana (Bloodletting), Vamana (Emesis), Virechana (Purgation).

By Arpitha J

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