Musculoskeletal System

The musculoskeletal system provides support to our body and is made up of bones, muscles, and supporting structures like tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and other collective tissues. According to Ayurveda, when balanced Vata, is the originator of all musculoskeletal movements and it ensures synchronized movement between all the components of the system. When the Vata is imbalanced there is poor absorption of nutrients which can cause overall dysfunctioning and deficiencies in the body which can cause dryness in the muscles and connective tissues resulting in stiffness, inflammation, and pain.

Ayurveda has a preventative stance towards health and recommends yoga to promote flexibility and correct postural issues and a healthy diet along with herbal supplements to prevent stiffness in the first place. Patients with musculoskeletal disorders are directed towards a variety of treatments such as abhyanga, or more specialized massages to tackle partic ular areas as well as detoxifying regimes such as panchkarma to rid the body of toxins and correct the Vata imbalance.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition primarily causing inflammation and stiffness around joints but it can also affect other systems. It is referred to as amavata in Ayurveda. Amavata is attributed to pitha imbalance which leads to joint stiffness and eventually causes Vata imbalance which leads to pain. Patients are recommended diets that include foods like oats, lentils, leafy vegetables, and berries among other others that can reverse this imbalance and have anti-inflammatory properties. Treatments like manalkizhi, panchkarma, and podikizhi are also recommended.

Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative disorder of the weight-bearing joints of the body, which commonly affects the knee joint. It is caused by damage and eventual erosion to the cartilage at the end of bones leading to inflammation, stiffness, and pain. A vata imbalance-related disorder called sandhigatavata mentioned in Ayurveda can be correlated with osteoarthritis. Exposure to extremely cold temperatures, strain, and suppression of natural urges is considered some of the causative factors. Apart from dietary changes and yoga, practices like kizhi and specialized massages in the problem area such as Janu Vasty, Katee Vasty, Greeva Vasty or Hasthasekam among others are recommended along with Panchakarma. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome develops because of the compression of the median nerve, which runs down the length of the arm and provides functionality to most of the hands and fingers. It can cause weakness in the hand, accompanied by burning and tingling sensations.

According to Ayurveda, carpal tunnel syndrome is caused because of imbalances in Vata dosha and pitha dosha.  Therapeutic techniques like hasthasekam, which is a specialized treatment used exclusively to manage finger arthritis, hand tremors, and numbness, along with other techniques like panchakarma, kashayadhara, upanaha, lepam and kizhi are also utilized.

Tennis Elbow or lateral epicondylitis is a condition where there is inflammation of the exterior part of the elbow, where the tendons meet the bone, it results in joint pain and it can be traced back to the overuse of the muscles around the elbow. Description of the symptoms of snayugata vata mentioned in ayurvedic texts correlates with those of tennis elbow. Vata dosha is deemed responsible for this condition. Application of medicated oils using treatments like kizhi, Pichu therapy, and lepam is the recommended course of action.

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic autoimmune condition that typically develops as a complication of pre-existing psoriasis though it has developed in patients who do not suffer from psoriasis. It causes joint inflammation and the formation of itchy red patches around the skin. According to Ayurveda, this condition is due to a Vata imbalance with rakta ( blood disorders) and kushta (skin disorders) also implicated. This condition is tackled with the combination of lepam which is used for skin disorders, abhyanga, and panchkarma.

Osteomyelitis is known as antarvidradhi according to ayurvedic tradition. It is an infection of the bone or bone marrow of an individual. This disease typically develops in the long bones of the arms and legs primarily in people with open fractures, low immunity, or diabetes. Allopathy recommends incision, debridement, and draining of the infected bones however it can be managed through specialized lepam with punaranavadi lepa, detoxifying techniques including but not limited to panchkarma, dhanvantar taila dhara, kashaya dhara, etc.

Calcaneal spur or a heel spur develops when the heel bone is met with steady tension, calcium accumulation happens underneath this bone and takes on the shape of a spur when it is met with further strain. It is found most commonly in people who have to stand for a long time or walk across uneven terrain. In Ayurveda, this condition is referred to as vatakantaka or padakantaka and is attributed to Vata dosha. Paadapaalanam

It is often recommended as pain relief along with kizhi focused on the feet, Isbtika Sweda, pichu, etc are recommended in this condition.

It is a degenerative condition of the vertebrae which causes inflammation in the sacroiliac joint which is the lowest section of the lumbar spine. According to Ayurveda, this condition is caused due to imbalance of Vata dosha. The treatment is therefore focused on balancing the Vata and detoxifying ama. External therapy such as Pichu therapy, and Kati Basti in addition to panchkarma techniques to detoxify and relax the body are used.

 in addition to panchakarma techniques to detoxify and relax the body are used. 

Cervical spondylosis is a degenerative spinal disorder associated with the general wear and tear of the vertebrae and discs in the cervical region of the neck. It typically restricts the mobility of the neck joint and is observed in middle-aged and older adults. Ayurvedic treatment of this condition is focused on the removal of the imbalance of doshas, particularly Vata dosha which is most heavily implicated in this condition. The first step is the removal of Vata aggravating substances from the diet and external therapies like abhyanga nasyam, shirovasti, greeva Basti, and pizhichil among other alternatives to lubricate the joint, rejuvenate the underlying tissue and promote mobility.

Adhesive capsulitis or frozen shoulder is a condition where the shoulder girdle becomes so stiff that it becomes immobilized due to the formation of scar tissue around the joint. Frozen shoulder is referred to as apabahuka in ayurvedic tradition. It is considered to be the outcome of imbalanced Vata dosha. According to Ayurveda upanaha sweda greeva basty, prishta vasti, shiroabhyanga, and panchkarma therapies need to be used in tandem to both soothe and rejuvenate the joint and detoxify the body.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by muscle and connective tissue pain as well as fatigue. This disorder is also believed to have a psychological component and is often co-morbid with irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and anxiety disorders. According to ayurvedic literature, the roots of this condition lie in a Vata dosha with the involvement of pitha and Kapha.  An amalgamation of Udwarthana, shiro dhara, and panchkarma with adjustment for the individual features, is the recommended course of treatment.

Gout is the result of high levels of uric acids in the body, it causes flare-ups of pain and inflammatory arthritis. In Ayurveda, it is comparable to pithadhika vatarakta which is considered to be a vata-based disorder. Inclusion of herbs, particularly giloy which can help neutralize uric acid, along with Triphala, neem, and turmeric into the diet of the patient is considered vital. External therapies like kashayadhara, lepam and pichu are also recommended along with panchakarma therapy like Virechana.

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