Two years back I spent a month in an ayurveda hospital to recuperate from the side-effects of an accident. While lying in the hospital I saw many patients of different age groups suffering from various forms of arthritis. Since I was undergoing ayurveda massage the only activity I could do was to browse the net on my little mobile phone.
I read many online articles by medical practitioners and patients about the causes, symptoms and treatments for arthritis. There were many stories by arthritis patients about how they lived with the condition. Just like when you read the symptoms of any mental disease and you feel like you too got the mental disease, after reading about the symptoms of various forms of arthritis I felt I got one or all forms of arthritis. After reading the life stories of some arthritis patients, I imagined myself with a walking stick after few years. Then the doctor advised me to stop reading.
After returning to Delhi, I met rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients surviving on pain Killers and they felt doomed. One even described arthritis as a ‘dirty disease’. The online articles about arthritis and the experience of the patients in Delhi were similar. They all felt the same way;
- There is not cure for arthritis
- One day you are going to be bed bound
- The doctors only prescribe pain killer, which has side-effect
And so I concluded that there is no use in taking medicines for arthritis, and all you can do is learn to live with arthritis.
After two years when I went to Kerala last month, I met a few young rheumatoid arthritis patients in their early thirties who were mostly detected with the disease only after they fell paralysed. I found positivity in their and their care takers attitudes. The patients lead a normal life while still continuing with the medical treatment. Rewinding memories to my days in the hospital I remember meeting patients and hearing stories of recovery and how Ayurveda helped them stays active.
I saw some videos of interviews by ayurveda and allopathic doctors in Kerala who claim that if arthritis is detected at an early stage, the disease can be cured and that in the last two decades many medicines have been discovered to cure arthritis. What I understand is that the people in Kerala approach arthritis not as a deadly disease but as a lifestyle disease like diabetes or cholesterol, which can be kept in control. There is no fear or phobia about the disease.
Delhi and the western countries, from where most of the articles on arthritis originates, are developed place, where people lead a fast life and so they follow only the allopathy treatment. Kerala is the land of Ayurveda, where even the Keralite diaspora living in different parts of the world rely on Ayurveda for many ailments – especially medications post delivery. Nowadays some keralite patients combine ayurveda and allopathy, or allopathy and homeopathy etc.
- Maybe there is a difference in the way Keralites deal with pain and deformity.
- Maybe the lifestyle in Kerala helps them deal with the disease is a better manner.
- Maybe the authors of articles online are those with acute arthritis.
I could sense that the approach to arthritis was different in both part of the world, so an interaction between patients on two sides of the globe will provide new hope for arthritis patients.