Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common inflammatory arthritis in women, and hence, an important cause of potentially preventable disability. Many of the clinical features and the management strategies in RA are relevant across the spectrum of inflammatory joint diseases. RA occurs throughout the world and in all ethnic groups. The prevalence is lowest in black Africans and Chinese and highest in Pima Indians of Arizona.
RA is characterised by persistent cellular activation, autoimmunity and the presence of immune complexes at sites of articular and extra-articular lesions. This leads to chronic inflammation, granuloma formation and joint destruction.
The diagnosis of RA can only be established by an accurate and careful history and physical examination. Only limited help is provided by laboratory tests. The clinical hallmark of inflammatory joint disease is persistent synovitis.
It is described as “Amavatha” in Ayurveda. The word ‘Ama’ means Toxic material generated as a unwholesome product in the body due to weakening of digestive fire. This ‘Ama’ is then carried by ‘Vayu’ and travels throughout the body and accumulates in the joints, which is the seat of ‘Kapha’. As this process continues, all the joints are gradually affected, which results in severe pain and swelling in the Joints. When ‘Pitta’ also gets aggravated, it causes a burning sensation around the joints.
Internal medicines and external therapies are mentioned in Ayurveda to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Some of these therapies are:
These are special types of oil massage in which various strokes are given according to the disease for 45 minutes per day for 14 days. This treatment is very useful for obesity, especially for diabetic gangrene, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid Arthritis, body aches, etc. In terms of promoting positive health, abhyangam can nourish the body, revitalise the nervous system, helps in overcoming fatigue, promotes undisturbed sleep, improve physical appearance, builds self-confidence, retard the ageing process in man and bestow long life.
This is a process by which the whole body or any specific part thereof is made to perspire by the application of certain medicinal pudding externally in the form of boluses tied up in a muslin bag. This is applied by 2 to 4 therapists for about 60 to 90 minutes per day for a period of 14 days. This treatment is for all types of rheumatism, pain in the joints, emaciation of muscles, high blood pressure, etc.