By Dr.Shraddha Surathkal | May 09, 2022
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis. It is a degenerative joint disease. It is more likely to affect weight bearing joints like knee joints. A joint is where two bones come together. Cartilage is the protective tissue that covers the ends of the bones. With OA, this cartilage breaks down, causing the bones within the joint to rub together.
This can cause pain, stiffness, and other symptoms. Approximately 80% of older adults, ages 55 years and older, have evidence of osteoarthritis. Of these, an estimated 60% experience symptoms. It is estimated that 240 million adults worldwide have symptomatic osteoarthritis. Post-menopausal women have an increased incidence of knee osteoarthritis compared to men due to loss of oestrogen during menopause.
Osteoarthritis as per Ayurveda
Osteoarthritis is called Sandhigata vata in Ayurveda.It comes under vata vyadi mentioned in Ayurvedic classical texts. This disease mainly gets aggravated in old age as all dhatu undergo kshaya (degeneration) and this leads to the aggravation of vata. Vata is dry and light in nature and its variation in any of the joints dry up the lubricating synovial fluid and depletes it. As a result, the cartilage wears away due to the friction leading to pain and limited joint mobility.
In this condition, the large weight bearing bones and joints such as knee, ankle, and spine are the most affected. During early stages of the disease, one can experience joint discomfort cracking of the joints. If left untreated, it could progress to advanced stages leading to deformity, destruction of the articular surface.
Signs and symptoms of Osteoarthritis
- Pain during the movement of joints.
- Stiffness of joints following a period of inactivity.
- Crackling with pain during movement.
- Muscle weakness around the joints, especially in the knee.
- Limited Range of motion.
Management of Osteoarthritis
Available treatment options include use of NSAIDs, Calcium supplementation and ultimately joint replacement. Being safe, devoid of adverse effects, Ayurvedic management is a better option to avoid painful intervals, advancement of the disease and repeated use of painkillers (NSAIDs).
According to Ayurveda, Snehana (oleation), Svedana (fomentation), Dahana (Agnikarma or heat therapy) and Upanaha (poultice) are the prime modalities of treatment in the management of Sandhigata vata or Arthritis.
Janubasti is one of the modalities of treatment commonly adopted in the management of osteoarthritis of the knee. Research has shown that Janubasti with Taila like Murivenna or Balashwagandhadhi taila gives encouraging results in relieving the signs and symptoms. Delaying surgical interventions by a few years by external therapies like Janu basti offers the additional advantage of reducing systemic exposure due to oral use of medications.
Janubasti is oiling pooling therapy on knee joints. Janu means Knee and basti is retention. Here a ring is made of back gram flour and stuck with black gram paste on the knee. Once it’s checked for non-leakage, tolerably oil is poured into the ring. It’s allowed to retain until warm. Then a portion of oil is squeezed out and hot oil is once again added. This procedure is continued for 40 minutes. After it is completed, the ring is removed and the area cleaned. A gentle massage is done for 5-10 minutes followed by steam or elakizhi (patrapotala sweda).
Kizhi (Fomentation) rejuvenates the knee by controlling vata. It includes: Elakizhi (Fomentation with Medicated herbs), Navarakizhi (Fomentation with navara rice), Podikizhi (Fomentation with medicated powders).
- Strengthens the knee Joint and muscles around the joint.
- Reduces inflammation.
- Relieves stiffness.
- Reduces degeneration of the knee.
Acupunctureis one of the oldest and most popular systems of treatment widely utilized for pain. Lots of studies show the effectiveness of acupuncture in the management of pain. Acupuncture is based on the concept of “Qi” which is a vital motivating force. If there is imbalance in the Qi Diseases arise in the physical body. As per Acupuncture theory when acupoints are stimulated by pricking the point with needles the body will release pain relieving chemicals, which naturally occur in the body and which have similar properties like opioid pain relievers.
Also Acupuncture helps to release Neurotransmitters which help in reducing the pain. Based on the condition of the person, an electrical Stimulator may be used as it further helps in stimulation and releases the stiffness in muscle.
Yoga Therapy has shown significant reduction in pain, improved strength, balance and gait. Psychological components such as anxiety are important aspects to be addressed in pain management and yoga enhances the management.
Typical yoga practices consist of
- Yogic Sukshma Vyayama: These are safe repetitive stretching movements synchronized with breathing which mobilize and strengthen particular muscles and joints.
- Asana: Asana are featured by effortless maintenance in the final posture. Asana is selected suitable for patients which relax and strengthen the knee joints.
- Relaxation Techniques: To relax whole body.
- Pranayama: The practice of voluntary regulated breathing (Nadi shuddhi pranayama) while the mind is directed to the flow of breath to balance the autonomic system.
Do it Yourself kit:
DIY kit for knee pain is meant to manage pain in one or both knees .It includes 6 pads for oil padding and 4 Potli for fomentation and a bottle of medicated oil. Based on instructions provided this treatment can be carried out by you from the comfort of your home.
Article By :
Dr. Shraddha Surathkal