Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It causes fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. Joint pain is often debilitating and can vary in duration. The disease shares some clinical signs with dengue, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common. The proximity of mosquito breeding sites to human habitation is a significant risk factor for chikungunya.
However, the most devastating aspect of these infections is the extended period of pain and swelling in the joints following the recovery from fever. This is due to the response of ones own immune system to parts of the virus which resemble the joint. This phenomenon is called as auto immune response. While the symptoms are less severe in younger patients, the older people and those with pre-existing arthritic tendency suffer badly.
Arthritis associated with Chikungunya:
Arthritis involving multiple joints associated with Chikungunya can leave a person debilitated for a very long period of time.
The Allopathic treatment options are largely symptomatic for mitigating pain and fever using anti-inflammatory drugs along with rest. While recovery from chikungunya is the expected outcome, convalescence can be prolonged (up to a year or more), and persistent joint pain may require analgesic (pain medication) and long-term anti-inflammatory therapy, sometimes even to the extent of requiring a continuing use of steroids.
The human immune system is a well-designed, complex set of components that combine to fight micro organisms and various pathogens. A healthy immune system identifies pathogens as “foreign invasion” and quickly destroys them, protecting the body from a multitude of diseases. A depressed immune system, by contrast, allows invading organisms to thrive, thereby leading to incapacitation.
Depression, stress, anxiety and a hectic lifestyle contribute significantly to a depressed immune system.
For the mild to moderately affected, effective treatments includes suitable medications – to fight against the viral infection, to improve immunity and to combat the severe multiple joint pains & appropriate
Ayurvedic therapies – such as Pizhichil, Abhyangam, Swedam, Ilakizhi(pottali) etc with Ayurvedic tailams and local applications like Pichu to provide quick relief from fever, pain and inflammation.
For those with a pre-existing arthritic condition, the aged & the severely affected, there are appropriate Panchakarma therapies to get rid from the accumulated toxins from the body and supportive medications and therapies to regulate the fever, pain, swelling etc. This provides a fast, safe & effective treatment for Chikungunya.
Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of life has a great deal to offer by way of relief from Chikungunya & other forms of post-viral arthritis. The principle of Ayurvedic treatment in such acquired infections is of immuno- modulation. The medications and therapies help to modulate the immune response of the body against viral antigens which inadvertently affect the joints. Hence, in addition to the symptomatic relief which is very quickly felt, the immuno-modulation helps to reverse the inflammatory process as well as prevent tissue damage. This results in a faster recovery and a shortened convalescent period.
This is followed by a rejuvenating regime of medications and therapies which bring back the lost drive and dynamism to bounce back to a regular routine. It helps the body to reverse the degenerative damage caused by the viral infection. The complete restoration of normal health is made easier and faster using the traditional principles of this age old science and this makes it a system of choice in such chronic inflammations.
Vaidya Ruchi Gulati
SukhAyurveda,D-17, Main Road, Sector 20, Noida(DelhiNCR) 201301 India http://www.sukhayurveda.com
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