Oftentimes, patients consider Arthritis as a disease of the joints.
Rather, it is a disorder developed as a result of abnormal body functions like overactive immunity, poor metabolism etc.
Imbalances in biological processes gradually wear off the joint tissues, making them susceptible to stiffness, pain and inflammation.
More than 100 arthritis types have been identified till date, based on the triggering factors, nature of degeneration and symptoms.
But the most common types found in Indians are:
Osteoarthritis: Caused by shedding of protective layers of bones and cartilages. Increases friction between joints, thereby limiting movement.
Rheumatoid arthritis: Led by autoimmunity. Gradually deforms the joints. Shows arthritis symptoms in hands, toes, ankles and ankles.
Psoriatic arthritis: Occurs when the WBCs attack skin and joint tissues. Generates clear physical symptoms like full-body muscular swelling and patches on skin.
Gout: Developed due to faulty metabolism. Increase in blood uric acid levels irritates joint tissues. Leads to reddening of skin and extreme morning stiffness.
Infectious arthritis: Severe microbial infections drain the body of nutrients. This in turn paves way for arthritic damage. Easily reversible with antibiotics.
Early Arthritis Signs to Look Out For
Physical arthritis symptoms like pain and stiffness are common to every sub-type of this disorder.
Extreme pain: May be experienced as a dull or sharp ache. Usually felt in two or more joints after prolonged physical activity.
Stiffness: The arthritis knee, hand or feet become tensed with limited range of movement. Can be distinct during early hours of day.
Swelling and red patches: Excessive damage can make the cartilages tender to touch. May be followed by redness around joints.
Exhaustion: Arthritis patients often have poor stamina and endurance, owing to the weakened bone strength. It may culminate into a low to moderate level fever.
You may also experience rarer symptoms like anemia, heel pain, lower back ache, weight loss etc. depending upon the nature of the disorder.
Demystifying the Causes of Arthritis
The right way to approach Arthritis treatment is by identifying its causal factors.
In general, arthritis reasons can be divided into the following categories:
Poor Metabolic Strength: Incomplete breakdown of food produces harmful compounds like uric acid, calcium phosphate etc. They can build up in the joints and inhibit their functioning.
Autoimmune Activity: Occurs when white blood cells (WBCs) attack the joint tissues. It may lead to a gradual loss of bone calcium and cartilage tensility.
Wear and Tear: One of the most common arthritis causes. Heavy duty physical labour and injuries can dry up the joint lubrication, making them stiff or painful.
Genetic Links: Having a close sibling or parent who suffers from arthritis, can double your chances of developing it.
Unpleasant Taste: Foods to Avoid in Arthritis
Refined Sugars: Simplified carbs like sugar, refined flour etc. contain a high amount of free radicals. They can speed up the joint degradation process and intensify your arthritis pain.
Manufactured Foods: If not for the preservatives, junk foods, processed juices and spicy items are better left out for their trans-fat content. They cannot add any nutritional value to your arthritis diet!
Meats: Even though they are accessible sources of proteins, animal products like red meat, shellfish etc. can pump up your uric acid and fat intake, thereby triggering inflammatory reactions.
Dairy Fats: The saturated fats of cheese, mayonnaise and creams can hinder the joint healing process. It can also put you at risk of obesity.
Substance Abuse: Excessive intake of alcohol, nicotine and caffeine has been linked with arthritis. Their reactive chemicals are proven to damage the cartilage cells.
The Sensation of Arthritis Pain
Arthritis is a progressive disorder that gets worse as you age.
The initial experience of pain may be quite transitory to merit your attention.
You may feel it as a dull or throbbing pain in the arthritic joint, especially after sitting, walking or standing for long hours.
With passing time, the duration and intensity of pain may increase.
It may be observed as a sharp, biting pain that occurs during morning or evening hours.
Arthritis in hands, toes or ankles may also show deformity.
In chronic cases, the pain can last from days to weeks without any triggering event.
Cure or Management: How to Live with Arthritis
Unfortunately, arthritis cannot be cured permanently using any of the remedies available in medical science.
But you can get long term arthritis pain relief by following a healthy lifestyle.
Painkillers and non-steroidal drugs can also be used to prevent inflammation of joints.
Treatment Options for Arthritis: What is the Best?
Allopathic medications: Used in initial stages of arthritis. Your physician may prescribe chemical painkillers, immunosuppressants and anti-swelling pills to curb the physical signs.
Physiotherapy: Can be used as a supplementary technique to restore blood circulation rate and joint movement. Cannot help in chronic cases.
Surgery: Usually performed for arthritis in fingers, toes and knees. It helps to clear the blockages and reinstate joint structure.
Ayurvedic treatment: Speeds up the natural healing process to inhibit ageing of joints. Uses herbs and dietary supplements to prevent long term impacts of arthritis.
Despite their efficacy, allopathic treatment strategies cannot provide a satisfactory solution.
Oftentimes, they lead to recurrence of arthritic pain and deformation.
On the other hand, Ayurvedic remedies can provide lasting relief, from both immediate symptoms and possible complications.
Ayurvedic Strategy to Treat Arthritis
As per Ayurveda, arthritis is caused by the aggravation of Vata energy i.e. air element in the body.
This biological force has a direct effect on the nervous system, joints and blood purification process.
By the same token, pacifying the excess Vata energy is a sureshot way to curb arthritis.
Ayurveda uses a trifold strategy to balance the biological functions. It includes a balanced diet, Yoga and herbal remedies.
Balanced Diet: Consuming high levels of natural fibre, vitamins and minerals helps to detox the entire body. You can also drink milk to supplement Calcium needs.
Yoga: Choicest arthritis exercise for patients of all ages. It can tone cartilages, tighten the ligaments and improve bone structure. Effectively slows down degeneration of joints.
Herbal Remedies: Shallaki, Ashwagandha, Garlic, Aloe vera, Cinnamon and Castor oil are some remedies you can try to avert arthritis. They naturally boost muscle stretchability and bone density.
Natural Herbs for Managing Arthritis
Turmeric: With the credit of being a natural antioxidant, moisturizer and anti-inflammatory remedy, Turmeric is sure to feature in this list. Drink some warm Turmeric milk every night to ward off joint stiffness.
Ajwain: Soak up your feet in Carom seed water or chunk them up with a smoothie - either ways Ajwain can give you an instant relief from pain or swelling.
Dashmool: Containing 10 of the best Ayurvedic roots, this mix is a potent anti-inflammatory and vata-pacifying agent. It can curb all the symptoms of arthritis in one-go!
Aloe Vera: Drink it up as a juice or gel and you’re ready to enjoy your walking time. It's an excellent blood purifier with stomachic properties.
Ginger: You can find this arthritis medicine right on your kitchen counter. Just add it to your curries for putting an end to the arthritis pain.
Is it Good to Walk With Arthritis?
Definitely! Walking can be a great arthritis knee treatment in itself.
It helps to boost the tensile strength of ligaments, direct blood flow to the damaged joints and correct musculoskeletal posture.
But it is essential to follow a strict schedule for your daily walks.
It is best to walk for 30-60 minutes every day at a moderate pace.
Running or jogging are ill advised to advanced stage arthritis patients.
If pain is stopping you from working up your knees, you can begin with a 5-10 minute stroll and slowly take it up to a complete hour.
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