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Written by Dr Ashwini Konnur,
More than 80 per cent of people over the age of 40 complain of some joint problem and the reason for this varies from hereditary to calcium deficiency and obesity to arthritis. Before understanding how to maintain proper health and function of the joints, let us begin with understanding our joints.
A joint is a place in our body where two or more bones come together. Joints help in different degree of movements of our body. Most of our day-to-day activities such as sitting, standing, jumping, running, walking, bending, stretching, holding etc. depend on the integrity and healthy condition of our joints.
Classification of joints can be done both structurally and functionally. Structurally there are three kinds of joints:
According to Ayurveda, all the supportive tissues, bones, ligaments, tendons, and connective tissue, are Kapha dosha predominant, while the joint cavity or space where the bones meet is ruled by Vata dosha. The joint capsule provides a container for the synovial fluid (kapha substance), that lubricates the ends of the bones and also accommodates a sturdy, protective covering around the joint into which the ligaments and tendons can insert themselves. Vata dosha helps in movement of the joints, nerve impulses are transmitted through the ligaments to the muscles to signal movements.
It is no secret that joint pain can negatively affect the quality of one’s life. The excruciating pain not only affects joint movements but can have a damaging effect on one’s personal, social and professional life. There are eight major joints in our body that are most commonly affected. They are:
Pain in the joints can be either due to imbalance of vata dosha or it can be due to accumulation of ama or toxin in the joints.
A simple test done at home with sesame oil can tell you if pain in joint is due to vata imbalance or due to ama. Apply and gently massage some warm sesame oil into the joints. If the pain and stiffness are aggravated then there is ama present, a condition known as amavata. If the symptoms are alleviated by the oil massage or stay the same, then the pain is due to imbalance of vata dosha, a condition known as Sandhigathavata.
The dryness of vata can diminish the lubricating qualities of kapha and joint surfaces can become rough and brittle. Common symptoms of vata imbalance in the joints are dryness, popping and cracking sound, and muscle tics and spasms. Improper use of the joints, overexertion, stress, improper jogging, jumping, excessive exercise and injury, diet that consists of dry, bitter, astringent, cold, spicy food consumption and lifestyle contribute to the problem. Living in cold, dry climate also causes joint pain. Seasonal variation is yet another factor for increased joint pain. Not forgetting age, usually over 40, when one begins to experience this problem.
Joint pains MUST be addressed immediately. The sooner you consult an Ayurveda expert, the more effective the results. After assessing the imbalance in the vata or ama, an Ayurveda expert may recommend procedures like janu basti, kati basti, patra panda sweda, abhyanga, churna sweda, etc with different herbal oils suiting to individually body type and problem. A personalized diet and lifestyle changes will also be recommended.
Here are some dietary changes that helps in pacifying vata dosha:
Here are some Yogasanas that one can practice to take care of their joints:
Further reading on Ayurveda Treatment and Joint Pain:
Eight tips to control Hypertension naturally
Strengthen your back with these easy yogasanas
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