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Article: Osteoarthritis | Joint Pain Treatment | Arthritis Supplements

Osteoarthritis | Joint Pain Treatment | Arthritis Supplements

Osteoarthritis: Joint Health

Author :
Dr. Veena (Ayurvedic Physician)

What is Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis, a form of arthritis commonly affecting middle-aged and older individuals, is characterized by degenerative and sometimes hypertrophic changes in the bone and cartilage of one or more joints. This progressive wearing down of opposing joint surfaces often leads to distortion of joint positions, usually without bony stiffening. It is also known as degenerative arthritis, degenerative joint disease, or hypertrophic arthritis.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and can affect any joint in the body. The knee joint, along with the joints of the hands, feet, and hips, are most frequently affected. It is also known as a "wear and tear" disease.

Many people confuse osteoarthritis with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis refers to porous bones, where bone strength decreases, leading to a higher risk of fractures. In osteoarthritis, joint pain, swelling, and stiffness occur, impacting a person’s ability to perform daily activities.

Incidence Pattern:

Osteoarthritis primarily affects middle-aged and older adults, with women, especially those at the menopausal stage, being more prone to the disease than men. Obesity is also a significant risk factor.

Causes:

  • Injury to the joints
  • People engaged in laborious work
  • Diabetic patients
  • Hemophilia
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Aging
  • Family history
  • Direct trauma
  • Cold weather

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Joint pain
  • Swelling on joints
  • Difficulty walking, especially in the morning
  • Muscle weakness
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Atrophy of muscles around the joints
  • Tenderness in joints
  • In some cases, constant pain

Commonly affected joints include the knee joint (often the first to be affected), hip joint, and joints of the hands. The disease progresses slowly. According to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 27 million people in the U.S. have osteoarthritis, with knee joint pain being the most common. Occupation plays an essential role, as those who engage in activities that put stress on the knee joint are more susceptible to knee joint pain.

Herbs Useful for Treating Osteoarthritis:

  • Boswellia serrata: Blocks leukotrienes that attack healthy joints. It can be taken orally or internally and does not produce side effects like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Ref: Ammon, H.P.T. et al. (1993), Mechanism of anti-inflammatory action of curcumine and boswellic acid, J. Ethnopharmacology, Vol. 38 (2-3), pp. 113-119.

  • Combination of Ashwagandha, Turmeric, Rasna, and Boswellia serrata: Useful for treating osteoarthritis. If powder is not available, take the herbal supplement of this combination. (For the quantity of the herbs, contact the author.)
  • Turmeric: Anti-inflammatory activity

Ref: Ali, M.; Bagati, A. & Gupta, J. (1995), Comparison of anti-inflammatory activity of Curcumin analogues, Indian Drugs, Vol. 32 (10), pp. 502-505.

  • Ashwagandha: Anti-inflammatory activity

Ref: Singh N et al, 1978, J Res Indian Med Yoga Homoeo, 13, 53-62, Sharma AK and Singh RH, 1980, Bull Med Ethno Bot Res, 1(2), 262-271 and Sethi PD, 1970, Indian J Pharmacol, 2, 165.

  • Rasna: Anti-inflammatory activity

Ref: Ahmad, F.; Khan, R.A. & Rashid, S. (1996), Pharmacological evaluation of medicinal plants for their analgesic activity in mice, Med. J. Islamic Repub. of Iran, Vol. 10 (2), pp. 149-152.

Preventive Measures:

  • Do regular, designed exercises.
  • Always maintain good posture to avoid pain.
  • Engage in aerobic exercise, swimming, and walking.

Natural Home Remedies:

  • Eat 2 to 3 amla fruits or drink amla juice daily.
  • Take ginger juice daily. If raw juice is too pungent, dilute it with a cup of water.
  • Eat one teaspoon of flax seeds daily.
  • Consume foods rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids and vitamin E, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and trout.
  • Eat two figs daily.
  • Take 1 to 2 teaspoons of castor oil daily.
  • Use turmeric, garlic, and ginger in cooking.
  • Eat foods rich in omega-3 fats like salmon, flax seeds, and walnuts.
  • Eat small pieces of pineapple (6 to 7 times a day) for bromelain, which helps treat knee joint pain in obese individuals.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of ginger juice to half a cup of water and drink it daily.
  • Soak a small potato in water overnight. Strain and drink the water in the morning.
  • Eat a pinch of turmeric before tea, coffee, or breakfast.

External Treatment:

Physiotherapy

  • Mix Ayurvedic pharmacopoeial oils (Mahamash oil and Mahanarayan oil) in equal parts. Massage gently on the affected area and apply water steam.
  • Enema helps tone up the function of Vat Dosha and remove the accumulation of Aam-Tatva from the strotas.
  • Apply crushed ice wrapped in a cloth to the knee for 5 to 10 minutes. Elevate the knee using a pillow.
  • Boil 2 to 3 cloves of garlic in sesame oil and massage the affected area with this oil.

Granthokta Preparations for External Application:

  • Dashmul oil
  • Mahavishgarbha oil
  • Laxmi-Vilas oil

Granthokta Preparations for Osteoarthritis (Orally):

  • Khanjankari Ras
  • Sanjiwani Bati
  • Trayodashang Guggulu
  • Mahayograj Guggulu
  • Sinhnad Guggulu

Panchakarma Therapy: Along with Ayurvedic drugs, Panchakarma therapy is advisable.

Investigations:

  • Radiography to check for reduced joint space and changes in the shape of the joint.

Avoid:

  • Avoid curd at dinner, cold water, cold drinks, ice cream, stale food, and foods that aggravate Vat Dosha.
  • Avoid dry roasted nuts, eggplants, red peppers, and tobacco.
  • Avoid foods containing high sugar and sodium.
  • Avoid working in cold environments and stressful conditions.

Take all these remedies in consultation with a doctor or Ayurvedic physician.