Osteoarthritis Ayurvedic Treatment

This is a wear and tear disease affecting the protective substance called cartilage in joints. Big joints (like knee, arm etc) are the common victims. It is not a reversible condition, but manageable. 

Osteoarthritis Signs and Symptoms

Osteoarthritis develops slowly, and the difficulties caused by it often increase by time as it is a wear and tear disease. The common symptoms/ signs are pain over the affected joints, increased pain on touching or pressing the joint (tenderness), swelling, stiffness of joints after prolonged period of rest or inactivity (especially in the morning), reduced joint movements and cracking or popping sound from the joints. Gradually, joint spurs (excess growth of bones protruding over the joint) develop. 

Osteoarthritis Ayurvedic Analysis

Bones and joints are the sites of vata. When vata got aggravated, it will in-turn affect its residence. Vata vruddhi (increment of vata dosha) is natural as a person gets older and it is irreversible. As vata increases, kapha will reduce automatically. Here, kapha (mainly sleshaka kapha that lubricates joints) is reduced due to wear and tear caused by old age. It causes more friction between bone ends in a joint resulting in thinning of bones. On a long run, vatakopa produces abnormal growths on bones protruding over the joints. Various types of pain, tenderness, cracking sound from joints etc are the characteristic features of increased vata in body. Swelling and difficulty in moving the joints are other main signs. Individuals having vata prakruthi are more susceptible for this disease. 

The quality of asthi dhatu (bone tissue) also decreases which again contributes to vata kopa in joints. Increased vata affects the sandhi (joints) causes pain over legs, bones and joints along with severe reduction of joint strength (teevra balakshaya). This is called ‘Sandhigata vata’ in Ayurveda. 

Osteoarthritis Causative Factors (Ayurveda)

This condition is caused by increased vata and reduced kapha in joints. Reduced quality of Asthi dhatu (bone tissue) is also a causative factor. 

Old age, increased physical activities (excessive usage of joints), increased body weight, vata prakruthi, those who are residing at vata predominant locality (eg: hilly areas), constantly indulging in vata increasing activities (spending more time in cold atmosphere, constant travelling, avoiding oil application over body), occupations that result in vata kopa (eg: weight bearing, job that demands standing for a long period) and consuming vatala ahara (food that increases vata) are the common causes. 

Possible Complications of Osteoarthritis Disease

Severe joint immobility which interrupts even the day- to- day activities is the major complication of osteoarthritis. 

Other systemic conditions and precautions to be taken

Consider other systemic conditions like hypertension, diabetes, cardiac disease etc before planning the treatment procedures. The medicines of choice for OA should not worsen the pre-existing disease conditions of the patient. 

Osteoarthritis Disease Management with Ayurveda Treatment

If the disease is caused solely by vata, it is first treated with snehana therapy- snehapana (with appropriate lipid formulation or recipes like green gram soup, meat soup added with medicated lipid), anuvasana vasti (enema with medicated oil/ ghee), nasya (nasal instillation of medicated oil/ ghee) etc. Then Swedana is done using most suitable method (eg: steam bath, kizhi). Snehana and Swedana enable the joints to move freely. Anuvasana vasti eliminates deranged vata from koshta (large intestine), which is the main site of vata and hence produce immediate relief from symptoms. Mild virechana (purgation) with oily drugs is administered depending on the state of dosha. Kashaya vasti is recommended for people who are weak or not fit for virechana. 

 If dosha is in ama state (not in a state easy for elimination) treatment is started with rukshana therapy (drying up of the ama) like dhanyamla dhara, valuka sweda etc and the method of application of rukshana is determined by physician considering many factors such as patient’s health condition, associated diseases etc. Daily virechana with suitable drug is another option. Internal medication also differs from patient to patient. 


Do’s- Leafy vegetables, whole grain, Milk, sesame oil, water, sweet tasting fruits. The patient should follow the menu advised by physician as the diet is designed for supporting the treatment procedures and medications (eg: special gruel after vasti). 

Don’ts- excess intake of spicy/ bitter/ astringent tastes, alcohol. 


Mild to moderate exercise or yoga is recommended for those suffering from OA. Supportive therapies like physiotherapy and assisted yoga are helpful in regaining joint flexibility. Mild walking is also good. 

Osteoarthritis Preventive Aspects in Ayurveda

Preventing the chances of vatakopa is enough to stay away from osteoarthritis. Daily oil massage over body (especially joints), mild- moderate exercise, maintenance of healthy body weight, avoidance of food/ drinks that cause vatakopa (very hot food, salty and spicy food, alcohol etc) are should be followed. Avoid standing for long periods and take healthy balanced diet. 

Importance of Diet

Correct diet is the key to achieve balanced state of Tridosha. Selection of right food article and its consumption are much important even though the person is under best treatment. If the individual fails to follow a diet pattern which favours the efforts to bring back the deranged dosha to its normalcy, the result of the treatment cannot be maintained for a long time. The physician will suggest a particular pattern of diet which boosts the effect of the medicines and treatment procedures, and which prevent worsening of the condition. 


Exercise daily for maintaining flexibility and strength of all joints. Avoid excess intake of sweet, spicy and bitter tastes. Stay well hydrated. Daily oil massage over body is essential (at least twice a week) especially for those working in standing posture. Avoid weight gaining. Take food items that supports bone health (vegetables, milk, small sea fishes etc). 

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Matha Ayurveda Eye Hospital & Panchakarma Centre

Near Civil Station, Jayaprakash Ln, Kudappanakunnu, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695043

Reception: 04712731352

Matha Ayurveda Eye Hospital & Panchakarma Centre

Eye Hospital Road (Moongode - Meppukada Road), Moongode P O Near, Thachottukavu, Kerala 695573

Reception: 9562997799

Matha Ayurveda Eye Hospital - Eighteenth Stone

Near Tholicode, Trivandrum, 695541

Phone: 9847057575




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