The term “ARTHRITIS” is composed of two words “ARTHO” meaning Joint and “IT IS” meaning inflammation. “POLY” means multiple. So Polyarthritis is a condition where multiple joints are affected by inflammation.
Polyarthritis is a term used to denote a condition wherein more than 5 joints are affected simultaneously. It is mostly caused by autoimmune (Our own immune system attacking the body) types of arthritis like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic arthritis, and a variety of alpha virus related arthritis including Chikungunya.
It is characterised by Inflammation which is a condition arising as a result of the body’s reaction to external trauma or an infection and is usually characterised by redness, swelling, pain or rise in temperature in the Joints.
Treatment of Polyarthritis varies according to the disease causing the condition. However treatment is aimed at preserving the functionality of the joints by, preventing Joint destruction, keeping the inflammation and the associated symptoms like pain and stiffness under control, to maintain a maximal range of skeletal mobility and to avoid the development of deformities and complications.
Rest, fluid intake and anti-inflammatory and pain killing medication remains the main stay in the management of Polyarthritis other than in the case of Rheumatoid arthritis, Psoriatic arthritis and Lupus related arthritis.
In the case of Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus,
Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) like Steroids, Methotrexate, Hydro-chloroquine, Sulfasalazine, are useful in reducing inflammation of the joints and preventing damage to the joints. However they have to be used for extensive period of time and are associated with side effects like liver damage and severe digestive problems on long term use.
Biological agents, comprising of Tumour Necrosis Factor Alpha Blockers, IL-1 blocker and T cell co-stimulation blockers are now being recommended in the management of these condition. These injections are administered regularly and are effective in controlling the inflammation but are to be used for extensive period of time. They are very expensive and also predispose the patient to infections by suppressing the immune system and so patients are at risk of developing infections, especially Tuberculosis with long term usage. These factors severely limit the feasibility to use them widely.
Ayurveda considers this group of diseases as “AMAVATA” and has a very effective approach to the treatment of this disease. AMA represents, toxins that are produced in the body due to various conditions like, improperly digested and metabolised food (Jataragni dushti), from improper metabolism in the tissues (Dhatwagni dushti) and due to the effect of disease processes (One disease triggering the production of toxins leading to other diseases). Vata denotes all components and functions of the body that are responsible for energy and material transfer, and movement. When VATA gets imbalanced along with AMA, it leads to AMAVATA.
The approach to treatment of AMAVATA (Polyarthritis) is holistic comprising of diet modifications, lifestyle changes, Herbal medication and Ayurvedic Detoxification therapies.
The Goal is to firstly eliminate the AMA and thereafter, balance the VATA. AMA is eliminated if it is in very small quantity and is of recent origin as in the case of a recently developed fever, by the body itself when given rest and light food comprising of warm easily digestible fluids. AMA of a slightly greater intensity is eliminated by the helping the body’s detoxification by herbs that are called Pachana (herbs that help the body digest / metabolise the AMA). Several herbs have been described in Ayurveda that are helpful for this purpose. They are mostly bitter herbs with liver protective effects.
AMA which is chronic or is already deposited in the tissues is the toughest to tackle and that needs an elaborate process called Panchakarma (the five cleansing procedures) preceded by with the preparatory procedures like Snehapaana (Administration of copious amounts of ghee and other fats) in some cases and Swedana (Induced sweating). After elimination of AMA the disease process becomes inactive and thereafter treatment (Herbal Medicines, Strengthening therapies) to improve the strength of the tissues and restore normalcy are advised.
The combination of these therapies tailor-made to the patient’s individual constitution and condition of disease, and administered under the supervision of knowledgeable Ayurvedic physicians is very effective in relieving the inflammation, relieving the condition and preventing damage to the joints without the need for powerful drugs.
At AVN AROGYA, we specialise in the offering individualised treatment of Polyarthritis, ”AMA VATA” of all varieties and have had very high success rate at achieving and maintaining remission and good functionality even in patients suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis and Chikungunya without the need for Steroids, Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic Drugs or biological agents like TNF alpha blockers. This is very much possible in patients who come to us in the initial stages itself. Even others who are in the chronic condition of the disease also respond to our treatment but take much longer to respond. In some such cases where the disease is very severe, patients are advised to continue modern medication along with our Ayurvedic treatment, till they get into a good remission and gradually the drugs are withdrawn and they are maintained on Ayurvedic treatment alone.
We also advise these patients to regularly detoxify their body to prevent recurrences. We also train the patients in exercises to be performed regularly to maintain the functionality of the joints, at our Physiotherapy and Occupational therapy departments as well. We also integrate Yoga in the form of pranayama and meditation for the holistic care of patients, as stress management forms a very important part of the overall care.
Our day care centres in Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Kochi and Madurai offer consultation, medication and therapies which are adequate for a large number of patients but some patients with severely active disease and those whose symptoms are chronic may require In-patient therapy at our hospital in Madurai. Follow-up treatment is possible at our centres and even at remote locations by continuation of medication and we offer tele consultation as well.