By: Dr. Brahmananda Nayak
Sheila a 28 year old Software Engineer was admitted to a private hospital with severe joint pain. She was horrified when doctors treating her advised two weeks of complete bed rest. Her mind raced like a wild horse and jumped into a conclusion that she has been afflicted with a severe orthopaedic disease. On the contrary, doctors reassured her that although the pain is symptomatic of an orthopaedic disease, in her case, it is caused by the season’s viral flu.
Along with Sheila, hundreds of cases were reported by many hospitals.
The media has been calling it as the mysterious virus.Doctors across the city revealed that those who routinely fall ill due to viral infections, every year, were having tough time this season because of arthritis-like symptoms that cause swollen joints with severe pain.
The frequency of people who were being affected by Viral Arthritis, as it is known, was becoming a bigger nuisance than seasonal fever and cold. The virus that causes Dengue fever attacks blood vessels. Therefore, the city was alarmed with rising number of dengue cases last year.
Whereas this year the virus attacks are centred around muscles and joints, which make healing longer and tiresome. Added to this dehydration causes swellings in hands and knees which increase the pain. Doctors opine that about 50% of patients who have viral fever, complain of severe joint pain. While the symptoms are similar to that of the virus that causes chikungunya or dengue,Viral Arthritis is not as severe. However patients tend to panic, if the pain doesn’t reduce, switch doctors and forms of treatment looking for a quick relief.
Prolonged treatment is given to patients whose immunity levels are low and when the virus gains in strength. The immune system in our body gets activated when exposed to certain antigens present in the infecting virus/bacterium. The immune system’s response to such a virus will be to attack the body’s cells. This phenomenon also known as cross-reactivity, results in inflammation of tissues and damage to the cells. It causes muscle pain and inflammatory arthritis.
This year, especially, more and more children between 5 to 15-years are being affected with post-viral arthritis. It affects their tender, developing joints and causes high fever. Few doctors have reported that despite advising parents to get their children treated immediately for joints pains, they either neglect or give symptomatic treatment until the problems become severe.
Although doctors are unable to pinpoint the number one reason for this disease, mosquitoes are the main suspects. Sporadic rainfall and gloomy weather conditions too could contribute to the spread of the disease. While doctors are unable to conclude the reasons behind the fever, they suspect that primary reasons are sporadic rainfall, mosquitoes and viruses circulating due to existing weather conditions.
I have treated hundreds of cases with viral arthritis, this season alone. Ayurveda calls it as kaphavata jvara. The effective way to treat this disease through Ayurveda is to avoid vruddhikara ahara. It means avoiding hot, spicy, deep fried foods, bakery products, oily food, beverages, curd, buttermilk, cabbage, cauliflower, potato and tamarind. Cashew nuts, almonds, peas, fish, egg, meat and alcohol also must be stopped at least for a minimum duration of 20 days to get relief from the severe joint pain. Unless and until this strict dietary control is followed the pain will not subside.
As a precaution, I would recommend that the following safety tips should be followed:
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