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Joint Care


Author: Dr. Harish K. Verma

Osteoarthritis is the most common condition, affecting the weight bearing joints (e.g. knees, lower back, hips, etc.), often described as "wear and tear" arthritis.

In human body the ends of the bones in normal joints are covered with a smooth, slippery tissue called cartilage, which provides protection to our bones.  Joints also contain a fluid called synovial fluid, which acts as a cushion or "shock absorber" and lubricates the joint.

In people with osteoarthritis, the synovial fluid becomes thinner and loses its elasticity.  The thinner synovial fluid does not provide a good cushion.  For this reason, the cartilage covering the ends of the bones begins to break, which leads to pain and stiffness in the joint.

Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative joint disorder, because of degeneration of cartilage covering the ends of the bones.

In Ayurveda this condition is called as Sandhighat Vata.

This condition can be a very mild disease or a severe disease that greatly limits everyday activity.  For example, if patient has Osteoarthritis of the knee, patient may feel pain and swelling in the knee area and pain gets worse during movement of the knee.

Patient may feel or hear crunching or cracking sounds on movement of joints.  X-rays usually confirm diagnosis.

Ayurvedic Science is based on the principles of Bio-energy.

There are three types of Bio-energies or Doshas called Vata, Pitta and Kapha, which control metabolism and all other functions of human body.

The equillibrium of the Doshas provide complete health and imbalance of these Doshas lead to various disorders.

Osteoarthritis (Sandhighat Vata) is a Vata disorder in which excessive Vata energy causes dryness in the joints followed by pain, swelling and stiffness of affected joints.

Ayurvedic therapy in Osteoarthritis not only prevents further deterioration in the joints but also rejuvenates the damaged cartilages.

In my private practice I have seen Ashwagandha, Guggul and Shilajit, one capsule or tablet each twice a day with large glass of water for six months produce excellent results in Osteoarthritis.

These herbs do not cause any side effect even for long-term use.

As acute pain may not be felt in every case of degeneration, one must think of starting treatment at the very initial stage.

Ayurvedic diets and life styles are selected as per constitution of the individual.

One should avoid being overweight, because excess weight increases the load on the joints.

Regular exercises of knee joints help the patient to remain fit.