What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an auto-immune disorder which affects the joints in the body. This is one of the most common diseases in the world with an estimated 1% of the whole world population suffering from it. Women tend to be affected more than men by this condition.
The disease is caused by body's immune system attacking the body mistaking it to be a foreign element. Here the immune system targets synovium which is a tissue inside the linings of the joint. This causes inflammations in the joints which results in pain and stiffness in the joints. As the function of synovium is to lubricate the joints, any attack on this would lead to lesser lubrication and thus affecting joint movements. This is a systemic disease which means it will affect the whole system or body and hence early diagnosis and treatment is of vital importance. If it is not treated in time, it can even damage the joints permanently which makes it impossible to restore the damaged joints.
The disease normally affects joints of the hands, knees, ankles, wrists, feet, and elbow. Rheumatoid Arthritis is typically symmetric, so if one hand or knee or wrist is affected, the other hand or knee or wrist will also get affected soon.
The exact cause of the disease is still unknown. However, research has shown some factors which contribute to the disease. These are
Genetic - People with RA in the family tend to be at a greater risk
Gender- Studies show that number of women having the disease is about thrice the number of men
Heavy smoking can cause RA
Obesity is another factor which develops into Rheumatoid arthritis and so does a history of viral infections like Epstein-Barr virus
Trauma or injury affecting the joints
Typical symptoms are joint pains, swellings, morning stiffness and loss of movement in joints. It is vitally important that the symptoms are not ignored as early diagnosis and treatment is key here.
Ayurvedic treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Modern medicine treatments do not offer any cure for this condition and the treatment is primarily aimed at reducing the symptoms and slowing the progression. Medications include anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressive drugs, and steroids. In many cases, joint replacement surgeries become necessary.
Ayurvedic treatment offers great relief for millions of people suffering from RA. Ayurveda views Rheumatoid Arthritis as a vata aggravated disease. Lifestyle issues, diet issues, stress etc. causes Vata to be vitiated and these vitiated vata becomes toxins or Ama. These Ama get deposited in the joints causing inflammation and pain. Ayurvedic treatment for RA is aimed at pacifying the vata aggravation and in removing the toxins.
Treatment processes include Dry fomentation, Massage, Bundle massage, Oil plug, Local oil bath, medicated bandage, Oil and decoction enemas, Sarvangadhara (pouring of medicated water over the body) etc. The exact treatment plan will be determined by the Ayurveda doctor after consultation with the patient in the hospital.
Duration and Cost of Ayurvedic treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Typical treatment duration will be between 21-28 days. Person may need to repeat the treatment after 6 months or 1 year based on the condition and progress.
Treatment cost will be typically between 1500 - 4000 USD and would depend on the duration, type of hospital and the type of room chosen in the hospital.
Dos and Don'ts
Avoid heavy and oily food
Have food only at regular stipulated intervals
Avoid exercising after heavy food
Maintain a good level of physical activity
Avoid taking incompatible food (fish and dairy products like milk, yogurt at the same time)
Never suppress natural urges
Avoid direct exposure to cold winds