Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by progressive loss of articular cartilage that leads to chronic pain and functional restrictions in the affected joints. Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine. Risk factors of OA include old age, female gender, repeated joint stress, trauma and certain metabolic diseases. Osteoarthritis symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time.
Signs and symptoms of OA- The joints affected by Osteoarthritis exhibit common signs and symptoms like pain, stiffness, swelling, tenderness and crepitus/grating sensation.
As per World Health Organization (WHO) Osteoarthritis is blamed to be the single most common cause of disability in older adults. An estimated 10% to 15% of all adults aged over 60 have some degree of OA, with prevalence higher among women than men. According to the United Nations, by 2050 people aged over 60 will account for more than 20% of the world’s population. Of that 20%, a conservative estimate of 15% will have symptomatic OA, and one-third of these people will be severely disabled. This means that by 2050, 130 million people will suffer from OA worldwide, of whom 40 million will be severely disabled by the disease. In India the prevalence of OA is 17 to 60%.
Osteoarthritis can be correlated with the disease Sandhigata Vata, described in Ayurveda. In Sandhigata Vata vitiated Vata/Vayu does Shathasamshrya (saturation) in Sandhi (joints) and causes deformity such as loss of Dhatu (bones & articular cartilage), Ruja (pain), Drutisparsha (crepitation), etc.
Ayurvedic Treatmen1t of Sandhigata Vata:
Various treatment methods such as Shodhana Chikitsa (purification treatment) and Shaman Chikitsa (conservative treatment) are available for the management of Sandhigata Vata. These treatment methods are generally directed towards the normalization of vitiated Vata Dosha. The overall management is as follows
Herbs such as Rasna, Eranda, Ashwagandha, Guggul are given to pacify Vitiated Vata. Herbs such as Ashvagandha, Guggulu, Shallki are known to protect articular cartilage in patients suffering from osteoarthritis. Classical formulations such as Yogaraj Guggul, Rasanasaptak Kwatha, Dashmool Kwatha are also prescribed. Gold therapies have gained a lot of reputation in reversing the disease process as also for pain management.For those who can afford Swarna Bhasma , this has become a boon as it restores the functions of joints and relieves pain in a very short duration. Viddha chikitsa (Thermal cautery) is alos acknowledged as a reliable remedy for instant pain relief in cases of OA.
Dr. Kohli and his team have developed specialized treatments for Osteoarthritis. Many patients have stopped taking pain killers (prolong use of painkillers may cause various side effects) after having Panchakarma treatment alongwith specialized ayurvedic medications. Specialized ayurvedic treaments also help improve mobility of joints which results in improved quality of life.