Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic condition of the joints in which the cartilage cushioning the ends of the bones gradually loses its elasticity and wears away. Without the protective cartilage, the bones begin to rub against each other, causing stiffness, inflammation, and loss of movement. It can occur in any of the body’s joints but most often develops in the hands and weight-bearing joints, including the knees, hips, and spine (usually in the neck or lower back). The condition similar to Osteoarthritis has been described as ‘Sandhigatavata’ in Ayurveda, in which the vitiated Vata afflicts the joints and causes destruction of the cartilages and reduction in the Synovial Fluid inside the joint capsule, leading to swelling which results into painful movement.
Ayurveda offer a unique perspective on arthritis through the concepts of agni and ama. Due to vitiation of agni, ama or partially digested or undigested nutrients is produced and achieves toxic nature. This accumulates in the gut and is then spread through subtle channels of the body and reaches the joints with the help of Vatha.
Moderate to severe pain at the affected joint, ∙ Joint stiffness, ∙ Restricted and painful movements of the joint. ∙ Crunching or crackling noise when the joint moves (crepitation); ∙ Localized tenderness in severe cases, ∙ Swelling, ∙ Increased local temperature at the affected site.
Thereafter a detailed program is followed which includes Elakizhi, Pizhichil, Greevavasti, Shirodhara, Nasyam and Januvasti dhara Panchakarma (detoxification technique) has promising relief effect in osteoarthritis. When practiced regularly, gentle yoga movements not only strengthen the muscles that support the joints but also improve the flexibility of the muscles, which is more effective than just strengthening alone. Several studies have shown the benefit of stretching and increasing flexibility for people with OA in the knees. Another benefit of yoga is that it keeps people moving and reduces the pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis.