Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation throughout your body predominately your joints. Apart from the lining of joints, it also affects the tissues around joints. In some people the condition can also damage skin, eyes, lungs, heart, blood vessels. Auto immune disorders occur when body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own body tissues.
According to Ayurvedic science, Rheumatoid arthritis is understood as Amavata, a disease in which vitiation of vata dosa and accumulation of ama take place in multiple joints or tissues. Ama- is the partially digested food or undigested food, that is toxic in nature circulates throughout the body get localized in the body tissues or joints and causing the disease.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis
- Tender, warm and swollen joints.
- Joint pain is often felt on the same joint on both side of the body .
- Morning stiffness which last more than one hour.
- Over time joint may lose their range of motion and may become deformed.
- Fatigue, fever, loss of appetite.
Early symptoms may be subtle,the disease tends to affect the smaller joints first particularly the smaller joints of hands and feet. As the disease progresses the symptoms spreads to wrists, elbow, shoulders, knees, ankles and hip.
Causes of Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto immune disorder, which means it’s caused by immune system attacking its own healthy body tissues. Your immune system normally functions by producing antibodies to fight against bacteria and virus that invades your body. In Rheumatoid Arthritis, your immune system creates antibodies against your own tissues or joints. Its not known what triggers this.
Risk factors of Rheumatoid arthritis
- Genes- if a member of your family has rheumatoid arthritis you may have an increased risk of developing the same.
- Age- Rheumatoid Arthritis can be affected at any age, but it’s most common among people of 40 - 60 years of age.
- Environment- Toxic chemical or infection in the environment can trigger the factors responsible for Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Gender- more common in women
Complication of Rheumatoid arthritis
- Dry eyes and mouth
- Carpel tunnel syndrome
- Muscular atrophy
- Rheumatoid nodule
- Rheumatoid rashes
- Heart problem
- Lung disease
Modern perspective- management of Rheumatoid arthritis
- General measures - Rest, diet, correction of anemia, removal of focal infections.
- Drug treatment - analgesics including Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, (NSAIDs)
- Diseases- modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs)
- Surgical treatment
Ayurvedic Treatment for Rheumatoid arthritis
In Ayurveda primary importance is given for digestive system, the digestive fire (agni), because we consider all the disease originates from gut. If digestive fire is not proper, the partially digested food (Ama) or undigested food achieves toxic nature, circulates throughout the body get localized in the body tissues or joints and causes the disease.
Ayurvedic line of treatment includes:
- Langhana (fasting)
- Shodhana chikista (purification of body) - Panchakarma therapies like snehapanam, valuka swedam, virechanam, vasti, podikizhi, elakizhi, pizichil etc are selectively carried out for patients depending on the severity.
- Shamana chikista (treatment for subsiding symptoms)- internal medication like kashaya, arista, choorna, vati, taila, ghrita, etc are administered.
At Amala, we provide a very effective treatment for Rheumatoid arthritisfocusing on correcting the impaired digestive fire, then to bring back the toxins from the joints/ tissues to gut , then to eliminate it from the body along with purification of bodily channels and to subside the symptoms. Along with these strict life style modifications and dietary changes are advocated.
Diet in Rheumatoid arthritis
- Regular intake of hot water is recommended as it improves the digestion.
- Spice like garlic, ginger, pepper, turmeric can to be added in the diet.
- Vegetables - green leafy vegetables, bottle gourd, bitter gourd, brinjal, moringa (drum stick) can be included in diet.
- Avoid curd, opt for buttermilk instead
- Avoid fishes, high fat meat, incompatible food, junk food/ processed food
Lifestyle in Rheumatoid arthritis
- Make exercise a routine in your life.
- Maintain a healthy body weight.
- Avoid suppression of natural urges.
- Eat at regular intervals.
- Have enough sleep, avoid night vigil.
- Avoid oil massage, unless advised by your doctor.
Best Yoga poses for Rheumatoid arthritis
Yoga is effective in strengthening immune functions, reducing joint pain, promotes circulation of fluids inside joints, and improves joint flexibility and functions. Pranayama- breathing exercises and meditation are helpful in lowering stress level and to aid good sleep. If you already have Rheumatoid arthritis, it is important to speak with your doctor before starting a new routine.
Some effective yoga postures are below:
- Tree pose (Vrksasana)
- Bridge pose (Setu Bandhasana)
- Warrior pose (Virabhadrasana)
- Cat pose (Marjaryasana)
- Cow pose (Bitilasana)
- Corpse pose (Savasana)