1. Health Article
Preventing Arthritis and its Progression
“If you inhale the pure air of Sathya, Dharma, Shanti, Prema, your mind will be free from evil bacilli and you will be mentally sturdy and physically strong. As Vivekananda used to say, you should have nerves of steel and muscles of iron. That is, you should have hope and joy as an unshakable resolution, not despair and rejection”…Sathya Sai Baba1
1. What is arthritis?
It is a common disorder caused by inflammation or degeneration of the joints making it difficult to move or stay active, mostly painful.2
2. Know your joints!
Joints are junctions between the bones to provide structural stability, flexibility, and body movement. They are classified into three types based on their mobility – freely movable “synovial joints” in the hip, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and knee; less mobile “cartilaginous joints” in the intervertebral discs of spine; and the least mobile “fibrous or fixed joints” in the skull. The joints are cushioned and supported by soft connective tissues and cartilages (shock absorbers), tendons which connect the muscles to bones, and ligaments connecting bones to other bones. Synovial membrane, a padded pocket of fluid lining the joints, lubricates the synovial joints; articular cartilage and bursae (small sacs filled with synovial fluid) ensure their smooth movement without friction. Despite the coordinated skeletal structure of joints to ensure smooth mobility of the body, worldwide many are afflicted with arthritis.2,3,4
3. Types of arthritis - symptoms and causes
There are more than 100 types of arthritis, most of them fall within the spectrum of osteo or rheumatoid arthritis. Symptoms may vary in nature and intensity depending on age, gender, body weight, lifestyle, nature of occupation, exposure to stress, weather conditions especially humidity and cold, family history, overall health, or any injury.2,5
Though known as the “wear and tear” arthritis, it is a progressive disease of the entire joint characterised by breakdown of the cartilage, bony changes of joints, and deterioration of tendons and ligaments. Symptoms that build up over time could be mild to severe pain that worsen with activity and relieved by rest, burning sensation, tenderness, knobby swelling, thinning of the muscles around the joint, stiffness (usually in early morning hours lasting 30 minutes and recurring for some time after a period of inactivity), cracking or grinding noise with joint movement, and decreased function usually in the spine, hip, knees, hand joints, and big toes. It usually starts with an isolated joint. A major cause of disability in older people, it occurs due to repeated stress and biochemical changes within the body, mostly because of overuse, prior trauma or skeletal abnormality, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, post-menopause in women, or heredity. It can develop rapidly after an injury. 2,5-9
(ii) Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
An autoimmune inflammatory disorder where the body mistakenly attacks its own joint tissues like the synovium which then releases damaging chemicals. RA progresses in four stages during which stiffness, pain, and swelling gradually worsen. Classic RA may start with stiffness in several small joints of hands and feet in a symmetric fashion in the early morning hours lasting 1-2 hours and get better with movement. This may come and go now and then; one may tend to neglect. Sometimes only one joint may be affected with pain and swelling. Gradually the episodes will become frequent and of longer duration. In the second stage joints start swelling up. Rheumatoid nodules (painless bumps) may develop in elbow; other organs like lungs, eyes, and skin may get inflamed, and heart may also get affected. RA is known to cause anaemia. Do not ignore increased shortness of breath, fatigue, unexplained fevers, red painful eyes, and chronic dry eyes and dry mouth. Blood test along with imaging like X-ray, ultrasound or MRI may help to exactly diagnose RA at this stage. Symptoms become prominent in the third stage as joints get deformed causing nerve pain too. If not treated at this stage, fourth stage will set in where the joints get fused. Smoking and heavy manual occupations can aggravate the disease.2,6,10,11,12
Rheumatoid factor (RF) is an antibody, or blood protein, that can attack the healthy cells and is found in about 80% of RA patients, sometimes noticeable in the first stage itself. A positive RF blood test indicates that the body is producing higher than average amount of the antibodies. The normal range is 0-20 units per millilitre of blood (IU/ml). Healthy people may test positive for RA; those with symptoms may test negative too. Only very high RF level is associated with autoimmune disease. It can also indicate other autoimmune disorders like lupus or Sjogren’s syndrome that often accompanies RA. RF is done as one of the several lab tests for exact diagnosis of RA.2,12,13
(iii) Other types of arthritis
Ankylosing spondylitis is arthritis of the spine that inflames the sacroiliac joints between the base of the spine and pelvis. Symptoms can be redness, heat, swelling, stiffness, and pain in the lower back and buttocks, rib cage, and neck that come on slowly, get worse in the latter half of the night and on waking up in the morning; improve with exercise and worsen with rest. In severe cases, extra bits of bone start growing bridging the gap between vertebrae, and eventually fuse them making the spine curve forward more and become rigid (ankylosis). The disease usually starts during the age 17 to 45, more often in men; exact cause is unknown. It may lead to uveitis, a form of eye inflammation with pain and blurred vision, and also increase the risk of heart disease.2,6,14,15
Gout is a complex form of inflammatory arthritis where, due to extra uric acid in the body, sharp crystals are formed in the joints, first in the big toe, followed by other toes, ankle, and the knee, usually affects one joint at a time. Typical symptoms are sudden severe bouts of pain for 4 to 12 hours with swelling, heat, redness, and extreme tenderness. Gout flares can last days or weeks followed by long periods of remission from weeks to years without symptoms. Later attacks can be more severe and last longer, affecting more joints; progressively mobility may get affected. Gout can be diagnosed from symptoms, physical examination, imaging, and lab tests.2,6,16,17
Juvenile arthritis: the immune system attacks the tissue around the joints causing stiffness, pain, swelling, tenderness, and vision problems; typically found in children of age 16 or under.2
Psoriatic arthritis is inflammation of joints due to psoriasis, an autoimmune disorder, with symptoms of a typical arthritis, along with spots on the skin, pitting, and detachment of the nails.2
Reactive arthritis is caused by an infection in the body that typically results in pain and swelling of joints, eyes and urinary tract.6
4. Other joints-related disorders
Symptoms similar to arthritis arise when other components of the joints get affected.
- Bursitis is inflammation of bursae that can come up suddenly like an injury and last for days or weeks; large joints like the shoulder and the hip are common spots for its flare-ups.18
- Synovitis is inflammation of synovial membrane mostly associated with RA or psoriatic arthritis.19
- Tendonitis is inflammation of tendons, most common in and around the shoulder, elbow, wrist, knee, and heel, eg, pitcher’s shoulder, tennis elbow and jumper’s knee. It is caused by
- undue stress on the tendons due to repetitive movement over time, usually found in sportspersons, housewives, gadget users, who operate for long hours without rest.20
- Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by undue stress on the median nerve and tendons in the wrist, found in those whose occupation involves repetitive finger use. Early symptoms are numbness at night, weakness, tingling, and/or pain in the fingers, and difficulty in using the hand for small tasks. RA and gout may also give rise to this disease.21
5. Tips for preventing arthritis and its progression
- Movement is medicine for joints. Stay active. Make it a habit of putting your joints through their full range of motion, but only up to the point where it doesn’t cause more pain. Low impact exercises are suggested. Check with your physiotherapist. Gentle stretching, raising and lowering legs from a standing or seated position, daily walks and hobbies such as gardening can help. Listen to your body and never push too hard. Make sure to warm up and cool down when doing exercise. Balance periods of rest and activity throughout the day.2,5,8,9,22,23
- Avoid injury. Watch your posture, repetitive actions, as well as your steps to prevent falls. If need be, do not shy away from using supportive devices, like cane, or a crutch. If you play sports, protect joints with the right gear.2,5,9,22
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle with enough sleep, balanced anti-inflammatory diet, and healthy weight. Say NO to sugar and tobacco products. 2,5,9,22
- To alleviate pain, embrace natural remedies like ginger, green tea, and turmeric consumed with fat and black pepper for better absorption; hot and cold therapy or mild massage with oil or gel.24-27
References & Links
- Sathya Sai Speaks, volume 1, Chapter 28, The Best Tonic”, page 98: https://www.sssbpt.info/ssspeaks/volume01/sss01.pdf
- Types of Joints: Types of Joints - The structure of Skeleton and Bones - YouTube; youtube.com/watch?v=dg-632yS6T4
- Bursae: https://www.arthritis-health.com/types/bursitis/what-bursa#
- Types of arthritis: https://byjus.com/biology/arthritis/
- Osteoarthritis: https://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Osteoarthritis
- Dealing with osteoarthritis: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/osteoarthritis-treatment-beyond-the-basics
- Know and deal with osteoarthritis: https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/osteoarthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis: https://creakyjoints.org/about-arthritis/rheumatoid-arthritis/ra-overview/rheumatoid-arthritis-stages-progression/
- RA factor: https://creakyjoints.org/diagnosis/what-is-rheumatoid-factor/
- Ankylosing spondylitis: https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/conditions/ankylosing-spondylitis/
- Gout: https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/gout.html
- Bursitis: https://creakyjoints.org/living-with-arthritis/treatment-and-care/arthritis-vs-bursitis/
- Synovitis: https://www.arthritis-health.com/glossary/synovitis
- Tendonitis: https://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-arthritis-and-vs-tendonitis/
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4005-carpal-tunnel-syndrome
- Healthy habits for dealing with RA: https://creakyjoints.org/living-with-arthritis/healthy-habits-inflammatory-arthritis/
- Tips for warm-up: https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/physical-activity/other-activities/7-dynamic-warm-ups
- Herbs and Supplements for relief: https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/treatment/complementary-therapies/supplements-and-vitamins/5-ways-to-take-herbs-and-supplements-for-arthritis
- Home remedies: https://creakyjoints.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-home-remedies/
- Natural ways for relief: https://www.verywellhealth.com/natural-remedies-for-arthritis-in-hands-5095949
2. Camps & Clinics
Glimpses of group activities and new initiatives in India
Soon after the pandemic-related restrictions were lifted, teams of practitioners have come forward with renewed vigour to kick off additional seva activities. Some state-wise noteworthy initiatives are:
Andhra Pradesh & Telangana
Puttaparthi: An informal bimonthly vibrionics clinic at Kammavaripalli old age home has become a regular one run by a team of practitioners on a monthly basis since January 2022. In Prashanti ashram, Practitioner11604 has been serving more than 30 elderly patients in the old people’s shed with tremendous success. Worth mentioning are a 74-year-old female suffering from psoriasis for 19 years got completely healed and psychiatric issues of a 95-year-old woman got resolved successfully.
Two enthusiastic practitioners in Hyderabad 11626 &11632 have been visiting schools 10kms away every month regularly; on an average 20 patients have been treated every month including students, teachers, and locals at a local primary school since Feb 2022; in another school in April alone 100 girls were given remedies including learning booster for 30 Secondary Board students. A new seva centre was inaugurated in June at a Steel Plant in Vishakhapatnam. An awareness talk by Senior Practitioner 11567 followed by a QA session and IB distribution was attended by Sai devotees, local samiti office bearers, and general public. This led to a regular weekly evening clinic at the venue by Practitioner 11634 , such is his dedication that on the opening day itself, despite a disruption in power supply, the clinic continued beyond scheduled time until all the patients had been attended to.
Practitioners from Nagpur started regular vibrionics seva in May 2022 with the Sathya Sai Medicare Service in villages around Nagpur. In May itself, 750 patients from 19 villages were served in 36 camps. They intend to expand their area of seva.
Due to the relentless efforts of RC 10014 & 02817, regular (every Wed & Sat) vibrionics clinic was started in May 2022 at the Sai Medical Centre Dharmakshetra. A team of eight practitioners ensure uninterrupted service to the patients averaging 20 per session.
Regular monthly camps are being held in villages near Bengaluru in which 80 patients have been served by two practitioners in the past two months.
3. Interesting Anecdotes
3.1 Chronic allergy healed sans remedy 03604…USA
On 24 March, 2022, hearing about vibrionics from his practitioner friend, a 72-year-old, allergy-plagued patient exclaimed , “Wow! It would be wonderful if I could be completely healed of at least one ailment in this lifetime!” He was averse to using allopathic medications for his 37-year-old allergy with symptoms: nasal congestion, sinus inflammation, postnasal drip, sneezing and itchy eyes, all in addition to anxiety.
The practitioner mailed the following remedy: CC10.1 Emergencies + CC12.1 Adult tonic + CC15.1 Mental & Emotional tonic + CC19.2 Respiratory allergies + CC19.5 Sinusitis. The patient kept a small plastic bottle ready to prepare the remedy in distilled water. On 7 April, the practitioner phoned the patient to get feedback, only to be told that the package had not arrived but his symptoms had completely resolved shortly after their first conversation!! The practitioner was told, despite providing the tracking number, that the package could not be located within the US postal system, neither on the sending nor the receiving end. It had apparently vanished and there was no record of anyone handling the package!
The patient, a devout devotee of Swami, understood that he was cured instantly when the practitioner had prayed intensely for him while preparing the remedy. Interestingly in May, the package was returned to the practitioner with a printed label “Return to Sender". On 1 June, 2022, at the end of the allergy season, the patient writes, “This year for the first time since 1985 I did not have my usual symptoms and didn’t have to take any medication. When you prepared the remedy you sent a powerful intention. Thank you for all your efforts!!!!” Such are the wonders and glory of the Lord.
3.2 Overnight recovery from injury 11117…India
On 19 May 2022 the practitioner had a fall on her right side during a stopover while on a long road journey. This resulted in a sprained ankle and injury to her knee and head with a lot of pain. After the three-hour ride back home, she found the pain had increased substantially and there was swelling on the right knee, making it difficult for her to walk. It appeared that it was out of the question to attend the sevadal training program scheduled for 21 May. She immediately made CC20.2 SMJ pain + CC20.4 Muscles & Supportive tissue + CC20.7 Fractures in petroleum jelly to apply externally every hour. The pain vanished the same night and the swelling was gone the next day. Only later it dawned on her that she did not take the remedy orally! Needless to say on 21st morning, she happily attended the training program and a week later went to Puttaparthi for state seva.
3.3 Turmoil experienced from NM25 Shock 03518…India
A recently qualified SVP decided to try, due to past traumatic events in her life, the effect of NM25 Shock on herself. She took the first dose in the morning and by the afternoon she had bloating and discomfort which were somewhat relieved by acupressure and drinking ginger tea. The next day, after taking the second dose, the bloating increased exponentially and by the evening she had severe body pain, extreme restlessness, churning feeling in her entire body and loss of mental clarity and physical energy. Taking Eat Well and Move Well gave her some relief but it was short-lived. After spending a sleepless night, it suddenly hit her that she was experiencing a pullout – an awesome insight into the power of vibrionics! It was unbearable to think of going through another day of suffering. As she continued to chant the Gayatri mantra, recollection came to her in a flash – smell camphor. She did exactly that. Lo and behold, as if by magic, the sensations, the whirling and the pain subsided immediately!!! This was another incredible moment of experiencing how vibrations work. She stopped taking the remedy to let her body recover. She is now waiting for a quiet period, after the body has recovered, to attempt the next dose of NM25.
4. In Memoriam
Sri Shripad Narayan Lele 10087…India from Thane in Maharashtra left for his heavenly abode on 5 May 2022 at the age of 74. He had been practising vibrionics since 2008. An exemplary practitioner, in addition to running a clinic from home, whether in India or abroad with his children, he did vibrionics seva at temples and public places like the main bus depot. Regular in sending his reports, he even sent one for Apr 2022 just a few days before passing away due to a massive heart attack following an angioplasty. We gratefully acknowledge his many years of vibrionics service.