Arthritis is a small word with big implications. A problem that is neither new nor uncommon, arthritis is a serious factor that significantly worsens the quality of life of an individual. Although women are affected more than men, men are in no way immune to this joint problem. Arthritis affects more than 180 million people in India every year. This prevalence is higher than that of diabetes or even cancer but arthritis joint pain relief can be achieved. We are all familiar with at least one member of our families who may be suffering from arthritis, and the conversation around this topic is a common one.
What is Arthritis?
The literal meaning of the term arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. Arthritis is most commonly of two types – osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, as many as a hundred different types of varieties of arthritis exist.
A degenerative joint disease, a disease of ageing.
Osteoarthritis generally begins from larger joints (e.g., knee), rheumatoid arthritis is seen mostly in the smaller joints (e.g., wrist joints). Swelling, pain, and stiffness are common symptoms in both conditions.
Osteoarthritis affects more than 1 crore people in India every year. The problem is more commonly seen in women and in those with a positive family history.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease and is seen due to wear and tear of the joints.
The most common symptoms are swelling, pain, and inflammation in a joint accompanied by stiffness. The joints also become warm to touch and tender.
Movement of the joint is restricted due to pain. Malnourished people who have taken poor diet lacking in calcium and vitamin D are more prone to develop osteoarthritis, and at a younger age. Those with extra body weight may also develop this disease earlier than others.
Rheumatoid arthritis on the other hand is an auto-immune disorder and is commonly seen in women of younger to middle-aged groups.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune condition. The body’s immune system attacks the joints leading to inflammation, pain, stiffness, and eventually joint deformities.
The condition is chronic and relapsing and reduces the quality of life to a significant extent. Joint deformities are permanent and further lower the standard of living.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Most of the symptoms of arthritis have to do with joint inflammation. The joint is warm to touch, painful and tender, and stiff. Movement is difficult. The stiffness may relax with time or with continued motion in some cases. Redness may also be seen at the joint.
Lab investigations, notably x-ray, are the most reliable diagnostic methods. They help visualize the changes in the joints and thereby arrive at a correct diagnosis. Blood investigations (like ESR levels) may help support the diagnosis. Clinical symptoms also corroborate the diagnosis.
Treatment of arthritis
Conventional medicine considers arthritis to be a lifelong problem that is not curable. The aim of treatment is palliative. Allopathic medication aims to reduce pain, improve mobility, and improve quality of life in general.
Joint replacements may be undertaken at later stages when irreversible deformities have set in. Nutritional deficiencies are replenished via supplements, and physiotherapy may be advised to retain the joint’s range of movement.
Herbal Treatment for Joint Problems
Allopathic medicine is not the only method of treatment for most diseases. In fact, Indian culture places a prominent role over the natural systems of medicine. These systems have a strong foothold in India and enjoy a superior faith among the Indian people. Indeed, the herbal system of treatment helps in managing numerous diseases that may otherwise be termed incurable by modern medicine.
Herbal supplements and medicines make use of natural herbs as their raw materials and refrain from using synthetic chemicals. Some herbs found in India that have a special affinity for joints and bones are:
- Eucalyptus Oil is one of the most effective herbal solutions for joint pain. The active compounds in eucalyptus reduce inflammation and thereby provide relief from joint pain.
- Ajwain is said to be quite beneficial for joint troubles.
- Ginger is an anti-inflammatory and also improves blood circulation to the affected areas, which enhances healing.
- Boswellia serrata is commonly known as Shallaki, it reduces swelling, increases mobility, and keeps the joints moving smoothly.
- Turmeric or Haldi is useful especially when taken mixed in milk to keep the bones and joints strong.
There are numerous other examples of herbs that, when taken singly or in combination, greatly relieve joint troubles. These are taken either orally in the form of herbal powders, or mixed in milk, or as a herbal arthritis joint pain relief oil for local application on the affected joint. Each method of intake has its own benefits.
How does massage help with pain relief?
Massaging the affected joint with a powerful herbal oil helps to reduce pain immediately. This is because gentle massage helps improve blood circulation in the area. As blood circulation improves, toxins and pain-causing compounds are removed from the joint care capsule and increased oxygenation helps to stimulate healing. This way, inflammation is reduced, and pain also lessens.
Herbal solutions help manage pain and inflammation in cases of arthritis so that a person can enjoy a life free of pain and the disease can be controlled.