Saturday, March 15, 2014

Osteoarthritis – 5 Points Someone

Life is a journey through the time and in the end everyone becomes wiser and smarter. Difficult question is whether the journey is to getting older or just waiting the time to pass till one goes into heavenly abode. Interestingly Ayurveda call this body “Sharir- one that undergoes constant deterioration.” The human body is an amazing example of the masterwork. Flawless! It would be an appropriate word to explain the artwork of the divine. I come across many people who just hate their bodies and number out numerous flaws in the body in terms of diseases. But honestly if we do not know the art of maintaining the body, there is no point hating the art. Of course, the beauty lies in the eyes of beholder. Unless we understand the importance of health, we shall never understand the worth of living this humanly heaven. Unfortunately our approach is reactive, while it should have been proactive. We take actions when things mess up, and the moment we are out of the mess we forget the reasons of the previous mess, and stop working over the residual effects. I have been working over a patient suffering from arthritis and she ended up saying this life is hell. She kept complaining that she cannot work the way she used to. She was obese, in her mid-fifties, and looked anxious. She suffered osteoarthritis and was not able to perform her day to day routines as before.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disorder of the joints mostly attacking knee joints. The reason is simple, due to the nature of the joint to bear the weight. We should follow few simple steps in order to maintain the joint health.images
1. Accept – accept the nature of the disease. Osteoarthritis cannot be treated completely. Once the degeneration has occurred, the pain is going to be its integral feature. Although, the speed of the degeneration can be slowed down and the age of the joint can be enhanced with Ayurvedic treatments. Acceptance simply helps to understand the limitations created by the disease. It is a body’s call to slow down in routine process. Any haste in terms of walking, climbing could be dangerous. Protect your knee as much possible from sudden injuries. Problem is that we want to perform our routine duties with the same vigour as we were doing 5 years back. Never forget, it is not only the numbers of your age changing, but there is a continuous change in body physiology as well. No, you are not the only one to have been cursed by the aging; the person writing on this wall is equally going to be a sufferer. It is wiser to accept the changes occurred due to aging and to adjust the boat as per the flow of the water. It is good to know the limitations and eat as per the size of your mouth instead of trying to be a superman- trust me they look good in fictions only.
2. Pain is an Index – make the pain of your knee joint as an Index. Use the intensity of pain to understand the intensity of the injury to the knee joint. Popping a pain killer makes you forget the pain but does not mean the injury is no more persisting. Under the cover of NSAID, we tend to follow the same routine which may increase the degeneration process. But, I do not intend to say that you should not exercise any more. You should see your physiotherapist with immediate effect and learn exercises required to strengthen up the knee. Topical herbal oils with pain relieving properties could be of more help, as they work on the site of injury directly. By virtue of the properties of herbs, topical Ayurvedic herbal oil preparation enhances the micro circulation around the site of injury and increases blood circulation to that area resulting in enhanced oxygenation that helps to repair the damage and control it further. 
i3. Learn to say NO – if you are suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee, you should gradually learn to say NO to your certain existing habits. Every single effort that you put in towards your knee health goes a long way to avoid further damage to your joint. Avoid squatting, sitting cross legs, climbing stairs in usual rush, running, wearing high heels, sudden jerk to knee joint, lifting heavy weight. From Ayurvedic perspective certain foods should be avoided in order to reduce the pain like black lentils, egg plant, chick peas, rice, and food which are drier in nature and increases vata. Learn to say NO to the anxiety, and calm down by using the power of deep breathing.
4. Reduce weight – weight is one of the causative factors behind osteoarthritis, not only though. If you are overweight, you should understand that your own weight is exerting extra pressure on the joint and every time you walk with that weight, your knee joint is crushed under it. While reducing weight you should be gradual and do it by managing nutritious healthy diet and avoid crash diet plan. Reducing weight by means of crash diet may have an impact on bone health as essential minerals are also lost in the process. Supplement your diet with calcium rich food, and if needed have oral supplementation of the calcium. Seek the help of your physician for this purpose. Exercise, but do not overdo it. I generally suggest approximately 3 kilos a month target weight loss and maintain the goal till the time you achieve your target weight.
5. Ayurveda help – it is not for the sake of marketing Ayurveda but the treatments actually help in reducing the symptoms without the use of any internal medication. Treatments are simple and need periodical follow up as I mentioned before that it cannot be treated completely but could be managed and age of the knee joint could be enhanced till total knee replacement remains the only option. Deep tissue fomentation with oil, and local applications mentioned in traditional science of healing help improving knee health. Appropriate diet also helps in maintaining knee health. Broccoli, cabbage, white sesame, garlic, figs, soaked nuts etc. are few foods which are scientifically approved to enhance the knee health. As per a recent study broccoli and cabbage contain sulforaphane which helps in reducing cartilage damage secondary to OA. Performing saline water fomentation to your knee, ‘preferably soaking’ also helps in reducing pain and swelling. Traditionally, Epsom salt fomentation practically works well. Wearing knee cap or support depending upon the severity reduces excess pressure on knee joint and helps in reducing risk of potential injury to knee or surrounding cartilages.
Ayurveda could be an answer to your health problems, but only if you are ready to follow this life style. It requires sincere efforts, periodical follow ups, faith and perseverance to get the results.

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