Ayurvedic texts define a joint or ‘sandhi’ as ‘astisamyogsthana’ which literally means ‘union of bones’. However, some other references also mention ‘sandhi’ as ‘union or meeting place of two or more structures’ (not necessarily just bones) Practically a joint is union of two or more bony ends along with other structures like blood vessels, muscles, ligaments, tendons, fibrous capsule with synovial fluid, etc.
Joint pain is known as ‘sandhi shool’ and is classified as follows
Nija Sandhi Shool
Nija sandhi shool basically refers to joint pain due to the influence of dosha i.e. vaat, pitta and kapha.
Vataja Sandhi Shool – This is characterized by degenerative changes which manifest severe pain along with loss of muscle tone, loosening of ligaments / tendons or reduction in synovial fluid.
Pittaja Sandhi Shool – This is characterized by inflammatory changes which manifest severe tenderness, redness, raised temperature and swelling at the site.
Kaphaja sandhi Shool – This is characterized by non-inflammatory changes which manifest swelling and stiffness with local temperature at site not being raised.
Many a times, the sandhi shool maybe a combination of two or more dosha (viz. vaat-pittaja, vaat-pitta- kaphja / tridoshik / Sannipataja, etc.) in case of which, it manifests symptoms of doshas that are involved.
Agantuja Sandhi Shool
This joint pain is the result of an accident or trauma. Unlike the Nija Sandhi Shool, this is not caused by vitiated doshas but vaat, pitta or/and kapha could get involved later and exhibit their symptoms.
Amaja Sandhi Shool
Ama is a metabolic toxin which is a result of errors in metabolism, both at gut and cellular levels. Presence of Ama affects the digestion by making it sluggish and thus this vicious cycle continues to create more Ama.
This Ama creates blocks in the body due to its property of sticking to the surface of cells and channels (strotas) of the body. The main symptom of Ama in early stages is shifting pain. Which means that the pain keeps shifting its position from one joint to another, and is generally noticed at small joints like wrist and fingers. When amalodges itself at a site, it manifests tenderness, swelling and stiffness (especially in monsoon and in morning).
Other Sandhi Shool
Pain can be a result of improper nourishment of structures involved in joint (eg. bones, muscles, ligaments, etc. (strotovimargagaman or strotavrodh). It can also be due to low immunity (vyadhipratirodha Shakti khsyayajanya) or loss of strength (balakshayajanya). Many times joint pain may be of psychosomatic origin, in such cases patients reveal a history of a lot of worry, anxiety, depression and different range of mood disorders. These type of joint pain fall under category of ‘Manas Sandhi Shool’
Now that you know what joint pain feels like, let’s take a look at the ultimate ayurvedic guide for joint pain relief.
Simple exercises like walking, cycling and skipping help build immunity and reduce aam. Specific exercises like rotation of joints (clockwise and anti clockwise) along with its flexion and extension will improve the circulation as well as lubrication of joints. However, not indulging into exercises causes discomfort in the joints.
Simple pranayama and deep breathing can sustain the natural lubrication around your joints and thus are highly helpful. It also facilitates digestion and helps in the removal of Ama from the body. You can opt for Nadi Shodhana (Alternate Nostril Breathing), Yogic Breathing and Ujjayi (Breath of Victory). This is especially helpful in ‘Manas Sandhi Shool’.
Exercise when coupled with wholesome food, works well to maintain joint health. Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids like cold water fishes such as tuna and salmon are highly preferable. Other than this, you can also consume nuts and seeds like walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, almonds, etc. Even leafy green vegetables like kale, cauliflower and broccoli along with dairy products like cow’s milk and ghee prove beneficial. Also include seasonal fruits since they are rich in anti-oxidants.
When looking for Ayurvedic treatment for joint pain relief, along with ayurvedic joint pain tablets one must als3o consider thorough cleansing routine i.e. Panchakarma. These therapies include snehan (medicated oil massage), SarvangaDhara (Oil pouring all over the body), swedan (medicated steam), basti (medicated enema), pottaliswedan (hot fomentation with bolus made of herbs), lepa(application of herbal paste), etc. Since panchakarma helps to flush out impurities and support your digestive fire i.e. agni, you can always consult an Ayurvedic practitioner to know what kind of cleansing method best suits your body type.
Ayurvedic / Herbal supplement for joint care
GO365 Nutra from Charak Pharma is a Nutraceutical supplement that helps to keep your joints and cartilages healthy by preventing cartilage degradation. This powerful herbal supplement for joint care contains Ayurvedic herbs like Turmeric & Boswellia, along with essential Vitamins & Minerals. It is also an effective Ayurvedic joint pain tablet with ingredients like Glucosamine HCL and Chondroitin Sulfate which help in reducing inflammation, chronic joint pain, stiffness and swelling.