Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes pain, inflammation and deformities in the joints. It affects all joints including hands, feet, wrists, knees, ankles and elbows. Unfortunately, the symptoms are lifelong and eventually cause systemic problems that affect the skin, eyes, heart, lungs and nervous system etc. It can occur at any age, although it more commonly affects middle aged women.
Causes: Causes of rheumatoid arthritis are unknown. However, there are different theories. Some potential causes include genetic, dysfunction of immune system, attack of virus or some bacteria, hormonal imbalance, or smoking; these can trigger immune system and attack the joints, causing pain and inflammation.
Symptoms: Pain and inflammation in extremities such as finger and feet joints in initial stages followed by pain in all joints. Other symptoms include muscular weakness, morning stiffness which goes away as the day progresses, fatigue, mild anaemia, nodules under skin and deformities in joints as it becomes chronic.
Diagnosis: Blood test for ESR, C Reactive protein, RA factor, ANA (antinuclear antibody test) Treatment: There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis but early aggressive treatment can prevent disability, deformities and damage to tissues of joints. Pain killers, immuno-suppressant’s such as methotraxate, cortisones and topical analgesic ointments are used to relieve pain. Surgery is required in extreme cases. These drugs must be taken lifelong. Unfortunately, they can damage other organs and have many adverse side effects.
Ginger powder (Shanthi) is vasodilator. It improves blood circulation, reduces pain and inflammation. Include ginger in your diet e.g. drink ginger tea or take a teaspoon of fresh ginger slices or ginger powder, and boil in a cup of water. Ginger is a digestive and reduces constipation, which can otherwise aggravate pain and inflammation. Ginger can also be applied to stiff joints or used as a compress.
Soak thin slices of unpeeled potato in cold water. Keep it overnight and drink water on empty stomach in the morning. Grated potato can also be tied to painful joints for an hour; it helps reduce pain and swelling.
Drink lime juice with water in the morning, it helps remove uric acid from the blood.
Soak a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in half cup of water overnight. Drink the water and eat the seeds in the morning on an empty stomach. Alternatively, mix fenugreek seeds powder with ginger powder and jaggery in warm water and drink the mixture in morning.
The powder obtained from Romania and licoricey roots reduces stiffness. Licoricey acts as a natural cortisone. However, it is contraindicated in children, pregnant and lactating women and people with high blood pressure.
Drink warm milk with half teaspoon (dose depend upon severity of symptoms) of turmeric powder.
Eat papaya and pineapple regularly.
Apply boiled Nir gundi leaves or tincture on joints.
Salami guggul or Shalika, Guggul, Goole, Aashaadha, Garlic, coriander seeds are also very effective remedies for pain and inflammation.
Massage with mustard oil or flax seed oil.
Eat fruits containing Vitamins B, C, D and E, minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium.
A balance between exercise and rest should be maintained. Excess exercise may damage tissues and an excess rest causes stiffness. Exposure to sun for half an hour and a light massage also help. Drink adequate water to remove toxins and prevent constipation.
Contraindications: Regular medical check-up and blood test is necessary to prevent and cure side effects of medicines of arthritis.