Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a medical condition in which a patient suffers from chronic inflammation in joints as well as in other organs of the body. About 40% of patients suffering from this disease have experienced pain in different parts of the body other than just joints.
It is an autoimmune disease; A consequence of the body’s immune system attacking the healthy cells, which is in this case synovium — the lining of the membranes that surround your joints. It results in a slow destruction of cartilage and bones in that particular joint. Rheumatoid arthritis is known as Amavata (ailment caused due to the imbalance of Vata element).
Causes of Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
According to Ayurveda, rheumatoid arthritis is compared with “Amavata”.
In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, antibodies are produced in the absence of foreign bodies. The rise in the number of antibodies leads to the destruction of healthy cells in our body. According to Ayurvedic principles, arthritis is caused due to the formation of endotoxins- “Ama” in the body that is regarded as the undigested food in our body. Because of the improper functioning of the digestive system as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle, consumption of stale food, stress, ‘Ama’ is formed.
This leads to the formation of erratic or unprocessed food particles (Ahara rasa) which gets transported to the blood for being circulated to nourish the body tissues. This untreated and contaminated Ahara rasa formed in the upper gut is called “Ama” which is the underlying cause of the disease. These factors promote the formation of “Ama” in the body. In this disease, “Ama” often gets deposited around the joints because “Ama” is tacky and viscous and sticks to the surface of the cells and seeps through the channels of the body, and causes immense pain. According to Ayurveda, against “Ama”, our body creates antibodies.
Since the level of discomfort caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis varies from person to person depending on factors like the type of joints involved, physical health and age of the person, the treatment scheme differs for each.
The goals of Treatment given to Rheumatoid Arthritis are to:
- Reduce inflammation
- Prevent joint damage
- Relieve pain
- Minimise long-term complications
- Improve normal function and movement of the joints
Here are some of the best tips for maintaining healthy joints and avoid Rheumatoid Arthritis
Drink Lots of Water
The cartilage in joints is made of approximately 60% water, so it is essential that we stay hydrated to prevent our joints from being damaged due to the inability to produce synovial fluid.
Muscles take the load of the joints, so if you don’t have enough muscle to support your body weight, that’s extra pressure on your joints. The focus should be given to strengthening the muscles around the hip and knee joints since they support the entire body weight.
Take Enough Sleep
Having a good night sleep is essential for everyone. Especially RA patients should have enough sleep for their wellness. One should have at least 8 hours of sleep. Having a nap during the afternoon if the night sleep is not sufficient will help to maintain the healthy sleep cycle. Meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises and muscle relaxation will help one relax and have a good night sleep. One who is suffering from Insomnia, it is recommended to consult a doctor for better recovery.
Doing regular exercises will strengthen muscles and lowers strains in your joints. Hence, you should do workouts on a regular basis to get rid of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Avoid high-impact activities and do gentle exercises when joints are affected with RA. Gentle Exercises like stretching, walking, and swimming are usually recommended.
Watch Your Posture
Slouching increases pressure on the joints and can lead to back pain, neck pain and shoulder pain. Standing and sitting up straight protect your body joints.
Watch Your Weight
The higher the number on your bathroom scale, the more wear and tear you put on your joints, especially weight-bearing joints like the knee and hip joints.
Lotions and Creams
The gentle rubbing of creams, lotions, and gels directly onto the skin will ease the joints, and it will provide the temporary relief in the minor joint pains. It is recommended to consult a doctor before applying gels.
Some plant oils also help in reducing the pain and stiffness due to RA. There are some plants which contain gamma-linolenic acid and the addition of these acids through food may provide some relief. However, it is also recommended to consult a doctor before adding these oils to the food diet since these oils will interfere with certain medications and bring potential damage to the liver.
These are the best treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis, and they vary according to the person’s health, age, race and other parameters. The best practice is to consult a doctor before undergoing any treatment for RA by own.