Gone are the days when mostly septuagenarians complained of joint and knee pain. The problem today has become common among all age groups. Knee or joint pain at any stage of life is painful, however, the health problem striking early on is scary as one just dreads of living with it in the so many years to come.
Ayurveda is a very old system of medicine, which originated in India. Using herbs found in nature to cure various illnesses, knee pain and joint pain can also be permanently cured with this method indigenous to India. Arthritis and Joint pain are among the most prevalent problems faced by adults, mostly old people. As per Ayurveda, ‘vata dosha’ Is responsible for joint and knee pain.
Here are some common Ayurvedic remedies, which help reduce knee pain:
Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is medically known as Withania Somnifera. In the West, Ashwagandha is popularly known as Winter Cherry. Also, it has a lot of therapeutic properties, which include reducing joint pains.
Banyan: The Banyan tree’s medical name is Ficus Benghalensis. It has a sap very similar to the form of rubber known as latex is derived from the Banyan tree. The Banyan tree’s sap is externally applied over the joints and the pain usually disappears after a few regular applications.
Garlic: The medical name for garlic is allium sativum. Five to six cloves eaten everyday has proved to reduce knee pains.
There are many types of massage that can benefit people with knee pain. Massage helps relieve pain in the muscles, relax surrounding the joints, decrease stress, release stiffness and allow for better range of motion and mobility.
Yoga is an ancient, natural and effective joint pain relieving technique that strengthens the body. There are many simple yoga asanas that can help you get rid of joint pain easily and manage arthritic conditions. It is also extremely helpful when you’re living with symptoms like back pain, stiffness and inflammation.
These Ayurvedic home treatments are effective and provide intense relief for rheumatic pains, joint pains, swelling, muscular pain and knee pain and also help to control arthritis and spondylitis without side-effects. However, in case of intense and intolerable pain, consult your Ayurvedic physician immediately before proceeding with any home treatments or massages.
Still thinking what should you go for – modern Allopathic treatments or classical, individualised Ayurvedic treatments? Read here are 10 best reasons for choosing natural and personalised Ayurvedic care for Arthritis and other joint related ailments.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. Osteoarthritis treatment therapies with current conventional medicine typically focuses on pain reduction and control of inflammation; however, these approaches have no effect on the natural course of the disease.
The most common medications prescribed for osteoarthritis are, at best, moderately effective. In addition, side effects of these treatments can be quite significant, and at times life-threatening. Often times, the ultimate treatment for a disabling joint is joint replacement, with the inherent risks and cost that come with surgery. If current trends continue, it is estimated that 600,000 hip replacements and 1.4 million knee replacements will be carried out in the U.S. alone in 2015.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis worldwide, with symptoms ranging from minor discomfort to debilitation. 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). For people coping with advanced osteoarthritis, the effects are not only physical but also emotional as pain and decreasing mobility can limit the ability to work, participate in daily activities with friends and family, and enjoy life.
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
While science has no definite answers about what causes OA, researchers have identified several factors involved in the development and course of OA. Some of these factors include inflammation, biomechanical imbalances that put stress on the joints, and cellular disorders that lead to the abnormal breakdown of cartilage. It is important that the approach we use in treating OA address as many of these factors as possible.
Ayurvedic Approaches to Osteoarthritis
Given the only moderate effectiveness and potential side effects of conventional treatment, both patients and health care professionals are seeking out alternative therapies, including those offered by the ancient healing system known as Ayurveda. In this article we’ll look at the three main modalities Ayurveda uses to treat osteoarthritis and other disorders: herbal treatments, meditation, and yoga.
Ayurvedic Herbal Treatments
Ayurveda offers many herbal treatments for the treatment of OA. These plants have documented anti-inflammatory properties without the side effects of commonly prescribed medications. For example, at a recent meeting of the American College of Rheumatology, a study was presented that showed an herbal Ayurvedic therapy to be as effective in treating knee osteoarthritis as a commonly prescribed medication (Celebrex) and glucosamine – and with fewer side effects. The ACR stated that
Ayurveda offers “safe and effective treatment alternatives” for OA.
The herbs boswellia, turmeric, ashwagandha, ginger, triphala, guggulu, and shatavari have all been shown to decrease inflammation by interfering with the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body.
There is evidence that the Ayurvedic herb Boswellia serrata, also called Indian frankincense, alleviates joint pain and inflammation. Boswellia blocks an enzyme (5-lipoxygenase) that plays a major role in the formation of chemicals called leukotrienes, which stimulate and perpetuate inflammation. Researchers have found that people with osteoarthritis who took boswellia along with ashwagandha, turmeric, and zinc reported less joint pain and increased mobility and strength.
Turmeric is a spice commonly used in South and East Asian cooking. It is also used both orally and topically in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments, many of which are related to inflammation. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been shown to inhibit key inflammation-producing enzymes (lipo-oxygenase, cyclo-oxygenase, and phospholipase A2), thus disrupting the inflammatory cascade at three different stages. Interestingly, some data suggests that it may protect the stomach against non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). Although current studies for its use in treating osteoarthritis are few, curcumin/turmeric is a promising option in the treatment of OA.
Another Ayurvedic herb, ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), has known anti-inflammatory effects. In a study published in 2007, the extract of this herb was found to suppress the production of pro-inflammatory molecules (TNF-alpha and two interleukin subtypes. In one study, the anti-inflammatory effect of ashwagandha was comparable to taking the steroid hydrocortisone.
The anti-inflammatory effects of ginger (Zinziber officinale) have also been documented. Ginger works as an anti-inflammatory by interfering with an enzyme (cyclooxygenase) that produces inflammatory chemicals in the body. There is some data showing that ginger has a moderate beneficial effect on OA of the knee. Further research is needed to determine the extent of ginger’s effectiveness in treating OA.
The Ayurvedic herb triphala has been used in India for thousands of years for treatment of osteoarthritis. Triphala is a formulary that consists of three herbs (amalaki, haritaki, and bibhitaki). Preliminary studies show that the herbs in triphala have anti-inflammatory effects.
In addition, the herb guggulu (Commiphora guggul) has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of the enzyme NFKB, which regulates the body’s inflammatory response. There are several studies that show decreased inflammation and joint swelling after administration of extracts of guggulu resin.
Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) is an Ayurvedic herb that is considered to have a soothing, cooling, and lubricating influence on the body. Studies have found that it has an inhibitory effect on chemicals that create inflammation in the body, such as TNF-alpha, and IL-1B.
The Benefits of Meditation
An important principle in Ayurveda is acknowledgment of the importance of the emotional and spiritual aspects of health and healing. Health is achieved by balancing not only the body, but mind and spirit as well. Meditation provides a way to achieve this balance. The practice of meditation also creates many physiological changes, including reduction of inflammation in the body.
Mind-body practices such as meditation have value as part of a treatment regimen for chronic pain caused by a variety of conditions. Although to date there are no studies specifically done on the effects of meditation on osteoarthritis, several studies have shown that mindfulness meditation can be useful in the treatment of pain syndromes.
A landmark study conducted in 1982 showing the beneficial effect of meditation on pain reduction was carried out by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn with a group of patients suffering from chronic pain. After completing a ten-week program of mindfulness meditation, 65 percent of the participants showed a significant reduction in pain levels. Since then, many other studies have confirmed these findings.
A Tool to Diminish Feelings of Pain
Researchers have found that through the regular practice of meditation, we can actually change how our mind perceives pain. Meditation doesn’t take the sensation of pain away; it develops our capacity for detached observation, which helps us separate our experience of physical sensations from the painful stories and emotions we generate in reaction to those sensations.
Emotional reactions such as anxiety, fear, and depression intensify feelings of pain. As many studies have found, meditation is a powerful tool for training our minds to regulate our emotions, reduce anticipation of pain, and increase relaxation – thereby decreasing our perception of pain.
Meditation Enhances Conventional Treatment
Another notable study by Randolph in 1999 found that meditation in conjunction with conventional medical treatment medicine enhances the effectiveness of Western medical treatment alone. In this study, patients were taught hatha yoga and meditation in two-hour classes. A year later, patients undergoing the pain and stress management program in addition to the medical treatment reported that their feelings of pain decreased by 79 percent.
Meditation is an important healing tool that uses the mind-body connection to help people deal with pain conditions, such as OA. Meditation is fast becoming recognized as an effective way of reducing pain. The American Pain Foundation
acknowledges the use of meditation and offers many resources for meditation. By using meditation as part of a comprehensive treatment regimen for OA, patients have the potential to experience less pain and suffering.