Ayurvedic treatment for Rickets

Rickets

Know More on Bone Diseases

  • Definition
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • FAQS
  • References

Definition

Rickets Ayurvedic treatment

Rickets is a condition where the bones in children, become soft and weakened. This is generally due to a long term and severe deficiency of vitamin D in the body.1

In Ayurveda, the symptoms of rickets are similar to that of Phakka vyadhi. Phakka roga is a special contribution of Kashyapa Samhita (that specializes diseases of children). Phakka is described as a nutritional disorder where a child of around 1 year of age is unable to stand up or walk on his/her feet. The feet show crookedness like that in rickets.2

Causes

Rickets

Rickets is primarily caused due to deficiency of Vitamin D that does not allow calcium absorption in the bones, thus making the bones weak. This is predominantly seen in children. The commonest causes of Vitamin D deficiency are poor nutrition and lack of exposure to sunlight. In some cases, a secondary cause such as a disorder of malabsorption or celiac disease may be the culprit.1

Symptoms

Rickets

The signs and symptoms of rickets include:

  • Crooked or bow shaped legs
  • Thick joints of hands and feet
  • Protruded chest bone
  • A delay in growth milestones

Muscular weakness

Diagnosis

Rickets

Your doctor will initially perform a physical examination on your child to look for rickets related symptoms. The doctor may gently press the bones to check for abnormalities. Some focus areas include:

  • Skull – Children with rickets have softer skull bones
  • Legs – Children with rickets have exaggerated bowing of legs
  • Chest – It is common to have abnormalities in rib cages in children with rickets
  • Wrists and ankles – Larger or thicker than normal wrists and ankles reveal rickets

Your doctor may also recommend additional tests to confirm bone deformities. These include:

  • X-rays
  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests

Management

Rickets

Rickets can be managed by correcting the nutritional deficiencies in your child. In most cases, this is done with the help of Vitamin D and calcium supplements. When there is a severe case of bowlegs or bone deformities, your doctor may recommend application of special braces to help improve the posture of your child’s body so that the bones can grow normally. In very severe cases, surgery may be recommended.1

Ayurveda recommends holistic treatment for both mother (Dhatri) and the child. These include2,3:

  • Snehana (oleation) – administering ghee, herbal oil, animal fat or bone marrow to expel the imbalanced dosha out of the body
  • Swedana (fomentation) – application of hot, moist substances to heal pain
  • Udvartana (Herbal massage)
  • Basti karma (medicated enema)

For mother whose milk is vitiated with Kapha dosha, Vamana (medicated vomiting) is indicated

For children  deepana dravyas (which increase the digestive fire) like Raasna, Madhuka are indicated

Additionally, Ayurveda also recommends a combination of healthy diet (ahar) and lifestyle changes (vihar) in order to manage rickets effectively.

Some diet and activities to be followed for children are :4

  • Consume calcium rich foods such as nuts, dairy, cheese, etc in diet
  • Consume foods that are rich in Vitamin C and calcium
  • Increase your child’s exposure to sunlight as it is a rich source of Vitamin D

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

FAQS

Rickets
  1. What is Osteoarthritis? How is it caused?

Osteoarthritis refers to a type of bone and joint problem in which a person suffering from it will have pains in joints. This happens due to the wearing down of the protective cartilage on the bones due to age or other factors. While any joint in the body can have osteoarthritis, usually it happens commonly in the joints of knees, hips, spinal column and hands.

Osteoarthritis is caused due to damage of the cartilages of the ends of the bones. This damage generally occurs due to multiple factors primarily being increasing age. Apart for age, the other factors that cause the damage to cartilage are Obesity, female gender and trauma to the joint.

  1. What is Rheumatoid arthritis? How is it different from osteoarthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) refers to an auto immune disorder where the body’s defense systems turn against the body and mainly affect the joints but may also severely affect the eyes, skin, lungs, heart and blood vessels. It generally manifests as pain in the joints along with swelling and difficulty in movements.

Unlike osteoarthritis which affects the weight bearing joints, RA affects any and most joints of the body. It generally presents with swelling (hot swollen joints) as a cardinal feature and also shows some systemic manifestations (such as affects the eyes, skin, lungs, heart etc) unlike OA.

  1. What is osteoporosis? How is it recognized?

Osteoporosis refers to the condition where the bone becomes weak. Instead of the strong tissue that support the body structure, bones become brittle from inside and are capable of breaking with a minor jerk or fall. This leads to fractures in the hands, hips and legs with minor falls or injuries.

It can be recognized based on specific signs and symptoms and a BMD test. Symptoms are as follows -

  • Easily having a bone fracture
  • Pain in the back
  • Height becomes lesser than usual
  • A dropping posture
  1. What first aid should I offer to a person with a fracture?

If you witness a person developing fracture, take these actions immediately -

  • Urgently call for medical help or arrange for an ambulance
  • Stop any bleeding if there is an open wound. This can be done by applying pressure with a clean cloth or tight bandaging.
  • Avoid moving the injured area.
  • Apply ice packs to the injured part
  • If the person faints of is short of breath, put their head at a lower side and legs at a higher angle
  1. How does one know if a child has rickets?

The signs and symptoms of rickets are as follows –

  • Crooked or bow shaped legs
  • Thick joints of hands and feet
  • Protruded chest bone
  • A delay in growth milestones
  • Muscular weakness
  1. How does one have a dislocated joint?

Dislocations are usually caused due to a trauma or as a sports injury. Falls associated with contact sports such as football, basketball etc can lead to a dislocation.

Additionally, a fall on the outstretched hand and trauma due to a motor accident, too can cause dislocation.

  1. What is a Tennis elbow? How is it caused?

Tennis elbow refers to the pain in elbow due to swelling of the tendons which may occur due to repetitive movements of the wrists. Unlike the name suggests, the condition affects non-athletes as well.

It is caused due to overuse of the tendons resulting in a muscle strain injury. Any activity that requires repeated motions of the elbow and wrists can cause tiny injuries in the tendons leading to tennis elbow.

  1. What is frozen shoulder and how is it caused?

Frozen shoulder refers to a condition where the shoulder seems to be frozen in its movements. This condition cause pain and stiffness in the shoulder and restricts any kinds of movements. Medically, this condition in also known as adhesive capsulitis.

While the exact cause of frozen shoulder is not understood, it is believed to be caused due to a swelling of the joints covering called as capsule. This may happen due to long periods of immobility or trauma to the underlying nerve.

  1. How does a hip get fractured?

Generally hip fractures can be caused because of a trauma due to accident, falls, injuries or rarely violence. Hip fracture is very common in the elderly as it often happens due to a fall from height or sometimes even with twisting of the foot in people with weak bones. Younger people often have hip fracture as an outcome of a motor vehicle accident.

  1. What is meant by slipped disc?

A slipped disc refers to the swelling in the cushion between two bones, most commonly the vertebra (individual bones of the spine). This cushion is supposed to provide mobility and flexibility to the spine. This cushion between the vertebra is called as a disc and is filed with a gel like substance that provides the flexibility.

Slipped disc is the swelling of this disc which causes pain and obstructs mobility of the spine. A swelling in the cushion leads to some of the gel in the disc to protrude out between the bones.

References

Rickets
  1. Mayo clinic. Rickets. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/rickets/home/ovc-20200467 accessed Sept 17th 2016
  2. Gupta S et al. A critical review of Phakka roga s.r to impaired growth and delayed milestone development in children. WJPPS. 2015; Vol. 4(4): 603-609
  3. Kashyap samhita (Hemraj Sharma) & http://www.boloji.com/index.cfm?md=Content&sd=Articles&ArticleID=16223
  4. Medline plus. Rickets. Available at https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000344.htm accessed Sept 17th 2016

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