Arthritis is a very common disease seen in the elderly. It is of two types: Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common one and occurs after the age of 40 but rheumatoid arthritis can occur at any age. The latter is more disastrous as it destroys the ligaments and tendons that join the bones and muscles. Thus deformities can be seen in this type of arthritis. In case of osteoarthritis the bones increase in size and the space between them decreases, making the bones rub against each other, causing pain.
Here are some tips to prevent arthritis:
1. Those who massage daily with oil do not suffer from joint pains. Their body develops the capacity to tolerate fatigue. Oil massage should be done at least four times a month.
2. With feet massage eyesight improves and dryness, swelling and roughness of the feet are relieved. The feet become strong and soft. Diseases like sciatica and others related to nerve pain do not occur.
3. The first step to prevent arthritis is to relieve constipation. According to Ayurveda, arthritic pain is due to aggravation of vata dosha (air in the body). Constipation stops the proper passage of air from the body, aggravating pain. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, due to aggravation of vata and kapha according to Ayurveda. Garlic and ginger (1-2grams) taken regularly relieve vata and kapha.
5. Avoid fried food as this is difficult to digest and leads to digestive ailments that aggravate arthritis.
6. Sour fruits should be avoided.
7. Except mung all pulses aggravate vata and arthritis.
8. Rice should be avoided especially during the night. Cooked rice kept for 3-4 hours should not be taken. It aggravates vata.
9. Avoid heavy meals, meat and fish because of low digestive power of the intestines.
10. Arthritics should not sit idle nor over-exert themselves. Immobility may lead to stiffness of joints and over-exertion may lead to damage of ligaments. If the joints are inflamed rest should be given to the affected joint. Movement of the painful joint should be done at least twice daily to prevent stiffness.
11. In the morning, before getting up and even without brushing your teeth, drink at least one litre of water at a stretch. Do not eat anything one hour after this. Then wash your face and brush your teeth. Those who cannot drink so much water should drink two glasses, there is excessive urination or sometimes loose motions. But after a few days everything is normal.
People suffering from arthritis and vata diseases should do this treatment thrice a day. This treatment can be done two hours after having meals, both for healthy and unhealthy persons.
Precautions to be Taken While Doing the Treatment
- Do not take chilled items, fried, spicy, extra sweets but fruits and green vegetables only.
- Do not take tea, coffee, chocolate, ice-creams etc.
- Avoid alcohol and try not to smoke.
- Four glasses of water should be taken in the morning and then whenever thirsty during the day.
- Do not eat anything just before sleeping, particularly apples.
- Water should be purified.
12. Take four peeled pieces of Garlic , and two grams of Sprague. Powder both and dip in 30 grams of mustard oil and heat slowly. When the colour changes, stop heating and let it cool. Now sieve the oil with a cloth. Daily massage with this warm oil for relief from all types of pains.
13. Those suffering especially from rheumatoid arthritis should boil Indian gooseberry and gur (molasses) in water or make tablets of powder of Indian gooseberry and gur. One tablet should be taken twice daily.
14. Take 10 grams of Camphor and 200 grams of mustard oil. Mix in a glass bottle and close with a tight cork. Now keep the bottle in the sun. Pick it up when camphor gets dissolved in the oil. Massage with this oil for relief from any type of pain.
15. Soak Spiegel seeds in water, form a poultice and apply on the inflamed joints for relief from pain.
16. Bananas are considered good as they make the joints greasier and give them strength.
17. Carrot juice increases physical and mental powers of the ligaments. It strengthens heart, brain, liver, gall-bladder and bones and is a tonic for all persons. It is used as an alternative for cod liver oil. Carrot contains iron, sulphur, carotene, vitamin A and phosphoric acid. By drinking carrot juice daily for 3-4 months a person can work for hours together. S/he will never feel tired or exhausted.
18. For rheumatoid arthritis, fenugreek (methi) seeds or fresh leaves taken along with gur is very useful, especially in winters. It is very important for the muscles to rest while in pains.
19. Moderate activity for just half an hour a day will help greatly in preventing stiffness, aches and pains. Using your joints regularly but carefully is the key to keeping them in good condition.
20. Try to sit squarely on your chair, with both feet flat on the ground. Try to avoid crossing your legs if possible as this pulls your spine out of alignment and also hinders your blood circulation
While there is no cure for arthritis, there are many things you can do to help alleviate your symptoms and improve quality of life. These can help with other pain conditions too. Practicing regular low impact exercise, such as water aerobics or stationary cycling, eating a healthy diet, maintaining an appropriate weight, getting enough quality sleep, properly taking prescribed medications, and making an effort to reduce the stress to your joints during everyday tasks can help keep arthritis pain at bay.