Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis, affecting millions of people around the globe. Often called wear-and-tear arthritis, osteoarthritis occurs when the shielding cartilage on the edges of bones wears down over time. It induces pain, swelling and reduced motion in your joints.
Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint, but normally, it affects your hands, knees, hips or spine. Osteoarthritis affects the whole joint, including the adjacent muscles, underlying bone, ligaments, joint lining, and joint cover. A variety of causes hereditary, developmental, metabolic, and mechanical may initiate processes leading to loss of cartilage.
Osteoarthritis often affects cartilage, the hard but greasy tissue that covers the ends of bones where they meet to form a joint. Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over one another. It also consumes energy from the shock of physical movement.
Signs and Symptoms
Osteoarthritis symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time. Signs and symptoms of osteoarthritis include:
- Loss of flexibility
- Grating sensation.
- Bone spurs
Osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints. Unlike many other forms of arthritis that are systemic illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus, osteoarthritis does not affect other organs of the body like skin tissue, the lungs, the eyes, or the blood vessels.
While there isn't any single known cause of osteoarthritis, there are several risk factors that should be considered. Knowing and controlling these risk factors can help you lessen the risk or even help postpone or prevent getting OA altogether. Having risk factors for OA doesn't mean everyone will get it. No single risk factor is enough to cause OA; it is more likely that a blend of risk factors works together to cause the disease.
There are two distinct types of osteoarthritis –
Primary osteoarthritis, osteoarthritis not resulting from injury or disease, is mostly a result of natural ageing of the joint. With ageing, the water content of the cartilage increases, and the protein makeup of the cartilage degenerates.
A secondary osteoarthritis is a form of osteoarthritis that is caused by another disease or condition. Conditions that can lead to secondary osteoarthritis include obesity, repeated trauma or surgery to the joint structures, abnormal joints at birth (congenital abnormalities), gout, diabetes, and other hormone disorders.
Factors that increase your risk of osteoarthritis include:
- Older age – The risk of osteoarthritis increases with age.
- Sex – Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis, though it isn't clear why.
- Bone deformities – Some people are born with malformed joints or defective cartilage, which can increase the risk of osteoarthritis.
- Joint injuries – Injuries, such as those that occur when playing sports or from an accident, may increase the risk of osteoarthritis.
- Obesity – Carrying more body weight places more stress on your weight-bearing joints, such as your knees.
- Sedentary lifestyle – Cartilage depends on joint use for its nutrition.
- Certain occupations – If your job includes tasks that place repetitive stress on a particular joint that may predispose that joint toward eventually developing osteoarthritis.
- Other diseases – Having diabetes, underactive thyroid, gout or Paget's disease of bone can increase your risk of developing osteoarthritis.
- Family history
Ayurveda Management of Osteoarthritis
Ayurveda is a holistic approach to healthcare with roots in ancient India. According to Ayurveda, Osteoarthritis occurs due to aggravation of Vata Dosha and is known as "Sandhivata".
The vata is aggravated by various reasons like inappropriate diet, overexertion, injury, exposure to cold & intake of cold items, suppression of natural urges, staying awake at night, stress, depression etc. Apart from these, ageing is a primary cause as vata predominance in the body increases as the age of the person advances towards old age. Individuals with the Vata Prakruti are also more prone to the Sandhivata.
Vata is rooksha in nature. When Vata gets vitiated in any of the joints, dries up the lubricating synovial fluid inside the joint capsule, degenerates the joints and causes the destruction of the cartilage.
Sandhivata gradually worsens with time, and no cure exists. But Sandhivata treatments can prevent the progression of the disease, relieve pain, rejuvenates damaged cartilages, and improves joint lubrication, function & strength.
Sandhivata treatment includes both Samana chikitsa and shodhan chikitsa. Shamana chikitsa includes Ayurvedic oral medicines like Oujasya Joint Relief and external applications. Shodana chikitsa includes Ayurveda Panchakarma and Kayakalpa therapies for detoxification and rejuvenation. Healthy diet habits & lifestyle are equally important in maintaining joint health.
The goal of managing Sandhivata-osteoarthritis includes controlling/relieving pain, maintaining and improving the range of movement and stability of affected joints and limiting functional impairment.