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BODY & JOINT PAINS

Musculo-skeletal disorders are extremely common in day to day practice. They are always associated with pain, swelling, restricted mobility & stiffness in the joint. At times, they may lead to disability and deformity. Some of the most common musculo-skeletal disorders are Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteo-arthritis, Cervical and lumbar spondylitis, Lumbago, Sciatica, Stiff neck, Gout, Sprains, etc.

In modern system of medicine, the drugs often used in the treatment of such conditions are anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-pyretic and muscle relaxant. These drugs offer good symptomatic relief in acute conditions. However, in view of their side effects such as nausea, vomiting, acid-peptic disorders etc. the prolonged use of these drugs is not advisable. Therefore, in chronic conditions when the treatment has to be continued for a long time, the safer and effective alternatives should be recommended.

Ayurvedic system of medicine has a number of such preparations with proven safety and efficacy profile. We take this opportunity to introduce you to some of the time tested Ayurvedic Specialities, useful in the treatment of musculo-skeletal disorders.

ARTHRITIS

Arthritis is a term, applied for joint diseases. Though it occurs in various forms, the most frequent ones are Osteo-arthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis. Osteo-arthritis is a degenerative joint disease, which usually occurs, in the older age group. Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious one that effects joints, wrists, hips, knees, feet and fingers and also the muscles, tendons and other tissues of the body. The main symptoms of arthritis are pain and stiffness in the joints. If not treated early, the whole body gets affected. The condition may be caused by hormonal imbalance, physical and emotional stress, infection, severe shock and injury. Sometimes it may be hereditary too.

In Ayurveda, many Vata related diseases are included under 'Sandhigata Vata'. The diseases pertaining to joints may be named as follows:

  1. Amavata
  2. Sandhivata
  3. Vatarakta
  4. Urusthambha
  5. Vatavyadhi
  6. Joint disorders affected by trauma or injury to 'Marmas'.

PANCHAKARMA THERAPY IN ARTHRITIS: A BOON FOR MANKIND

Diseases of joints may be divided into two types:

  1. Which have predominancy in Ama called Sama.
  2. Those, which have a little involvement of Ama, may be called Nirama.

We say a little involvement because there is no disease without Ama. Therefore in every disease Ama Pachana Chikitsa is given to digest Ama.

Panchakarma for practical application is divided into three steps. Step one is Poorva Karma, which includes Pachana, Snehana and swedana. In joint diseases if we first apply Deepana, Pachana- then Snehana, Swedana and then elimination - the results are better and then Shamana effects more powerfully. Snehana means oleation, which includes internal as well as external application of oily substances like oil, ghee, etc.

Seeing the signs and symptoms of Paka, Snehana with pure ghee with increasing dose is given and in the last three days fomentation by vapour (Ushma Sweda) is applied; followed by Virechana - use of purgatives. Virechana is seen more useful according to practice as well as classical references.

After Virechana, Basties (use of medicinal enemas) are given to all patients and are very effective in Arthritis. Basti has manifold actions; like pacification, nutrition and elimination and Prabhava to control Vata. Acute swelling & pain are seen well responding to above treatment and chronic pain, chronic swelling, deformities of joints, wasting, bendings, contractures are responded to oleation and fomentation together with internal medicines.

Ayurveda mainly describes that the Ama produced by wrong dietic cause and behaviours, circulate through Kapha Sthana (joints etc.), mixing with vitiated Rasa and Dosha, obstructs the capillary pores and produces the joint disease, where the obstruction is situated. Therefore, Langhana, Deepana, Pachana are able to digest the excessive Ama, separate Dosha and make them form the level of Srotas. Elimination removes such impurities from body and makes all channels clean and clear for circulation.

Panchakarma is the only treatment to bring them to original place and evacuate them from the body.

Step three is Paschat Karma or post-operative procedure. It includes Peyadi Karma to restore Agni, and Shamana and Rasayana treatment.

IMPORTANT DO'S AND DON’TS

The essential pre-requisites for restoration of health in the above condition are the following:

  1. The organs of the patient should be stimulated to greater activity.
  2. The patient should live in good healthy surroundings and better social and physical environment.
  3. He should take adequate quantity of good and fresh natural food.
  4. The patient must keep up right mental and emotional attitude.
  5. Never eat till you really feel hungry.
  6. Eat slowly, chewing the food thoroughly.
  7. Never overeat and eat less rice.
  8. Single course meal and simple meal without spices and pickles etc.
  9. Eat in a happy mood.
  10. Don't eat when under emotional stress or when extremely fatigued.
  11. The food habit of the patient has to be thoroughly examined and changes if any must be made in accordance with Ayurvedic system.

    In the management of arthritis, time factor is very important. Being a chronic disease it takes months to alleviate the physical problems faced by the patient. So patients should have the will to wait till the inner healing power in the body starts operating. One should not lose heart. Relief will come ultimately and that will last long.

SOME USEFUL TIPS

  1. Drink a large glass of water with one lemon juice with sugar or salt as necessary in hot water daily morning and night.
  2. Use fenugreek (Menthya) and its leaves in every-day food in any form you like.
  3. Boil potato and give heat treatment to the paining joints with that water.
  4. Grind 5 peppercorns with 20 Tulasi leaves and mix 50 gm. ghee and eat daily morning once for 2-3 weeks.
  5. Take twice or thrice regularly one cup of carrot juice with one spoonful of pure honey.
  6. Grind cinnamon (Dalchini) into a fine paste in water and apply on the paining joints.
  7. Fry fenugreek leaves in ghee and eat with pepper, Jeera and table salt. This is very good for joint pains and also for back pain.
  8. Grind the roots of sarasaparilla (Sogade beru) in water and apply on the paining parts.
  9. Mix 2 parts of juice of Parijatha leaves and 1 part of honey and take before food.
  10. During winter, apply sesame oil (Til oil) to head and body and massage before taking head bath.
  11. Drink 3 to 6 teaspoons of Beech oil (Honge oil) on empty stomach daily.
  12. Losing weight if you are obese will always make you more active and mobile and may even reduce joint pain: painful joints cannot carry too much load.
  13. Keeping yourself warm in winter months will lessen the misery of pain. If you have shoulder pain, sleep with a pullover on lest, while turning during sleep, the blanket or quilt may slip away from the shoulder area.
  14. If you are watching TV or viewing a videocassette, always sit straight, without reclining or twisting your body or propping up with cushions.
  15. If you have neck pain, shoulder pain or back pain, make sure that whenever you develop symptoms of Coughing or Sneezing, these must be attended immediately. Sneezing and coughing can worsen pain, or may even start your pain.
  16. If you are a lady with hand pain, do continue your activities in the kitchen, especially kneading the flour, and rolling roties/chapaties/puries.
  17. Light exercise is useful but you must know your limits: as a general rule if any exercise, including walking, causes pain after one hour, you have crossed your limit.
  18. Liberal intake of orange juice or sweet limejuice or Vitamin C enhances the efficacy of any ant rheumatic drug, since Vitamin C can reduce skeletal pain.