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Osteoarthritis

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Definition

Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is one of the oldest and most common types of arthritis. It is characterized by a breakdown of the joint’s cartilage. Cartilage is the part of the joint that cushions the ends of bones. Cartilage breakdown causes bones to rub against each other, causing pain and loss of movement. Osteoarthritis can range from very mild to very severe, and most commonly affects middle-aged and older people. It affects hands and weight-bearing joints such as knees, hips, feet and the back.

Causes

  • Excessive consumption of dry, cold or stale food
  • Not sleeping regularly
  • Suppressing natural urges
  • Exposure to severe cold and dry weather
  • Excessive travel
  • Mental trauma can also be a causative factor

Symptoms

  • Edema
  • Pain in the joints
  • Tenderness
  • Stiffness and pain when moving or working

Ayurvedic View

According to Ayurveda, Osteoarthritis occurs due to aggravation of Vata Dosha and is known as Sandhivata (Sandhi means the joint and Vata stands for Vata Dosha). Vata is an Ayurvedic humor that symbolizes air or wind and governs all movements in the body as well as mind. The condition of Sandhivata is caused when the activities of Vata increase inside the Sandhis or joints. Because Vata is dry in nature, it absorbs the fluidity from any part of the body. It is also destructive or catabolic in nature, which is why it causes destruction of the cartilages and reduction in the Synovial Fluid inside the joint capsule.

Ayurvedic treatment of Osteoarthritis not only prevents further deterioration in the joints but also rejuvenates damaged cartilages. Vata-alleviating treatments through specific herbs are also suggested for lubrication and strengthening of joints.

Diet & Lifestyle Advice

  • Avoid carbonated drinks, preserved and packaged foods, and dry or cold food items
  • Choose foods that are easy to digest and warming
  • Excessive use of joints and underuse are both problematic, so get some exercise each day, but do not overdo it
  • Try exercises that are easy on the joints such as walking, swimming and yoga
  • Keep your weight at an optimum level, neither too overweight nor too underweight
  • Do not withhold natural urges (such as burping, urinating, releasing gas, etc.)

Some Home Remedies

  • Use warm sesame oil to massage stiff and painful joints in the morning. Massage improves blood circulation and reduces inflammation and stiffness.
  • Put one teaspoon of fenugreek in a cup of water and set aside overnight. The next morning, mix well and drink.
  • Prepare ginger tea by boiling 10 to 12 slices of fresh ginger root in two quarts of water for 5 minutes, and then let steep for 10 or 15 more minutes. Drink this tea at a warm temperature throughout the day.
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