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Ayurvedic treatment for Knee pain

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 10, 2017

   8 min     



Knee pain is a common condition that most of us have faced. It affects people, no matter what the age is. There are so many factors responsible for knee pain such as knee injury, degeneration, arthritis, infection, dislocated kneecap, osteoarthritis, bursitis, bone chips, torn cartilage, tendonitis and various other knee problems.

Knee pain varies in severity based on the type of disorder and the environment the patient is surrounded with. Some of the symptoms of knee pain include unbearable pain in the knee joints, tenderness, stiffness, locking and effusion in some instances. 

Modern medicine treats knee pain by providing medication that mainly helps with pain reduction and inflammation control. It addresses the symptoms rather than the condition; hence conventional medicine does not affect the disease. 

Causes of Knee Pain and Swelling

There are various reasons why a person suffers from knee pain. It could be because their ligaments were previously injured and not treated immediately, or there is a tear in the cartilage cushion or inflammation in the joints. 

Among the elderly, the common cause of pain in the knee joint is osteoarthritis. Other common conditions that cause knee pain include osteoporosis, gout, or infections.

Another common reason for knee pain is when a person overuses the knee and subjects it to varying amounts of stress. This could occur to an athlete who vigorously exercises but can be prevented or subsided if they begin to take care of it immediately.

Ayurveda’s Etiology of Knee Joint Pain and Swelling

Ayurveda, an old system of medicine originating in India, approaches knee pain differently. This dogma classifies knee pain into two types, based on causes.

In the first type, the pain occurs due to poor nourishment of joints, low density of bones or an overall weakness in the joints. This knee pain manifests with a feeling of discomfort then a cracking sound, which if not treated properly, will lead to the joints immobilising. Bones require nourishment, and when it doesn’t get the necessary nutrients, it tends to degenerate.

The second type of knee pain, according to Ayurveda, is attributed to toxic overload in the joints. The toxins, called Ama, accumulate in the joints, making them stiff and heavy. The joints swell up, causing pain if the Ama is there for an extended period.

According to Ayurveda, one of the main reasons for the first type of joint pain mentioned above is the aggravation of the Vyana Vata. Vyana Vayu is said to be a type of Vata dosha that is responsible for circulation and the distribution of essential nutrients, blood, air, minerals, as well as other necessary components that are required in the formation and maintenance of tissues in different parts of the body. 

Now when the Vyana Vata is aggravated, it could affect the way the body absorbs its nutrients and could weaken metabolism. Due to this, the tissues in the bone don't receive the necessary nutrition causing them to degenerate.

The imbalance in the Vyana Vata and its accompanying effects dry up the Shleshaka Kapha, which is said to be responsible for the lubrication of the joints. This lack of lubrication in the joints causes extreme discomfort, cracking sound, diminished flexibility, and pain in the joints.

Common Symptoms of Knee Pain

Knee pain is usually accompanied by certain other symptoms. It is crucial to identify these symptoms and get the condition treated. Some signs could be an indication of various types of arthritis or other bone disorders.

  • Redness in the surrounding area

  • Reduced mobility in the joints due to stiffness

  • Swelling around the knee joint

  • Tenderness in the field of pain

  • Crunching or crackling noises on movement

Risk Factors of Having Knee Pain

Although knee pain affects almost anyone, some people are at a higher risk of developing it than others. This could be due to some biological or lifestyle factors. Some of the risk factors include:

  • Overweight and obesity: Patients who are obese or overweight end up increasing the stress on the knee joints while performing basic activities like walking or standing. 

  • Weak muscle strength: People have varying levels of muscle strength based on the type of muscle fibre, age, gender, limb and muscle length, point of tendon insertion. Some people end up having a weak muscle tone due to which they have a high risk of knee pain.

  • Vigorous physical activities: Athletes and sports players are at a higher risk of developing knee pain as the activities they perform involves severe stress on the knees.

Ayurvedic Treatment

Ayurveda has various treatments for the pain in knee joints. Different herbs can be applied as a paste or crushed into a decoction or can be taken in various other forms to help relieve you of knee pain.

Ayurveda approaches the treatment of knee pain with three different purposes. 

  • It mainly focuses on reducing the pain and inflammation in the joints

  • It aims to strengthen the muscles and bone tissues to prevent further pain 

  • The ultimate purpose is to minimise the aggravation of Vata since that is one of the leading causes of knee pain. This means the treatment includes cleansing the body of toxins, which would help the medicines have a better effect on the body

The type of treatment, the combination of medications, and the schedule vary from patient to patient based on their condition & Prakriti. 

Types of treatment

The following are the various ways by which Ayurvedic Practitioners help treat knee pain.

  • Abhyangam: This form of treatment involves a full body massage done using medicated herbal oils. The massage will help stimulate the nerve endings around the area of pain, which in turn will improve blood circulation in the area. Besides, restoring proper circulation, the oil massage also helps to lubricate the joints, which helps get rid of the stiffness. According to Ayurveda, 

  • Kizhi: This form of treatment involves the use of small herbal boluses (potlis), which are herbs, sand or rice tied inside a muslin cloth. To treat the pain, the ayurvedic doctor heats the bolus and then lightly pounds it over the knee joint. The herbal ingredients or the rice when heated help reduces the pain and acts as an anti inflammatory agent.

  • Pizhichil: It is a form of Ayurvedic treatment that involves two classic treatment methods; Snehana (oil massage)and Swedana (sweat induction, fomentation, sudation). This involves dipping a cloth in medicated oil and then squeezing it onto the area so that it sweats while massaging the area at the same time. Pizhichil helps pacify the Vata, strengthen muscles and bone tissue and also lubricates knee joints.

  • Janu Basti: In simple words, this treatment is an oil treatment that helps with pain relief. The procedure involves constructing a containment in the knee area using wet flour or black gram paste. Medicated herbal oil is poured into this containment for a fixed period to help reduce the stiffness on the joints, increase lubrication, and improve the mobility of the knee. This form of treatment is mainly recommended for patients with osteoarthritis of knee joints, osteoporosis, arthritis of knee joints or chronic knee pain to help them manage the pain.

  • Upnaham: This type of therapy is performed by applying a medicated herbal paste onto the site of pain. Like most other forms of treatment, it restores proper circulation, reduces inflammation, initiates healing and strengthens the muscle and tissue.

  • Sneha Basti: This is an enema done using medicated oil to get rid of the toxins or Ama, which is one of the leading causes of pain in the knee joints. (According to Ayurveda)

  • Kashaya Basti: This is also an enema, but instead of medicated oil, the practitioner uses medicated decoction. This form of treatment helps detoxify the colon.

 Besides the above types of treatment, ayurvedic practitioners recommend certain home remedies like the use turmeric, ginger, ashwagandha, or various types of strengthening exercises to help get rid of knee pain.

Pirant Oil or Tablets

To deal with knee pain, Ayurveda prescribes a medicine for the knee pain, which is Pirant Oil and Tablets.

This medicine is a herbal formula that helps the bones and joints receive necessary nutrition and help strengthen the bone tissue. It is made up of Ginger, garlic, ashwagandha or Indian ginseng, Rasna flower, black pepper, long pepper, Ajwain, kuth, kudzu, vidanga, Ceylon leadwort, meadow saffron, and guggul gum resin in varying proportions.

Pirant Oil helps get rid of acute and chronic inflammation of joints and reduces the pain and stiffness in the knee. To prevent joint problems, Ayurvedic practitioners recommend a daily massage with Pirant oil as it helps settle Vata Dosha.

Pirant Tablets are also known to be muscle relaxants and also helps reduce the swelling in arthralgic or stiff joints. These tablets also strengthen the synovial membrane and cartilage tissues and thus reverses the toxic effect of Ama.

The best way to prevent or get rid of the pain and long term discomfort in the knee joints is by getting rid of Ama or toxins in the body. It is important never to let the body accumulate Ama.

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Tags:  Ayurveda,Better Living,Ayurvedic treatments ,ayurveda, joint pain, massage, medicated oils, inflammation, knee pain

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