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Muscle pain, also known as angamarda or myalgia, is not a condition in itself but is an indication of underlying health conditions, muscle disorders or injuries. Autoimmune conditions, obstructed blood flow, neurological diseases, stress, overuse of muscles or side effects of medications are some of the other causes of muscle pain.

Ayurveda describes panchakarma (five therapies) methods of snehana (oleation), swedana (sudation or sweat therapy) and abhyanga (oil massage) to alleviate mamsa gata vata or muscle pain by pacifying vata, improving circulation and eliminating ama (toxins) from the body. Herbs like guggulu (Indian bdellium-tree), ashwagandha (Indian ginseng) and yasthimadhu (mulethi) along with herbal formulations like dashmoolarishta are used to reduce muscle pain caused due to muscle diseases like fibromyalgia. The analgesic properties of these remedies reduce muscle pain effectively. Practising yoga along with following a healthy diet and physical therapy further aid in achieving good health.

  1. Ayurvedic view of muscle ache (myalgia)
  2. Ayurvedic treatment for muscle ache
  3. Ayurvedic herbs and medicines for muscle ache (myalgia)
  4. Dietary and lifestyle changes for muscle ache (myalgia) patient as per ayurveda
  5. How effective are ayurvedic medicines and treatments for muscle ache
  6. Side effects and risks of ayurvedic medicine and treatments for muscle ache
  7. Takeaway
  8. Doctors for Ayurvedic medicine, treatment and remedies for Muscle Ache

As per Ayurveda, aggravation of vata is considered to be the main cause of all types of pain. It causes hypersensitivity in the body, which leads to tenderness and pain. Therefore, treating aggravated vata and strotorodha (blockage of circulatory channels) and eliminating ama from the body are effective in the treatment of vatavyadhi (diseases caused due to vitiated vata) like fibromyalgia that are associated with muscle pain.                                         

However, the Ayurvedic principle of avaran says that pitta and kapha dosha might also be involved along with vata dosha in generating pain in the body.

In Ayurveda, there is no specific category for analgesic medicines. They are listed under different categories of medicines such as madak (intoxicant), angamardaprasmana (body pain–relieving) and nidraka (sedative). Acharya Sushruta recommends the use of bhanga (Cannabis sativa) as a painkiller. Vatanashak (vata-destroying) drugs are essential Ayurvedic remedies for treating muscle pain.

  • Snehana
    • The procedure of snehana involves the use of lubricants to induce internal and external oleation in the body.
    • Snehana is a part of panchakarma therapy. However, it is commonly employed as an independent treatment method for vatavyadhi.
    • For internal lubrication, oils are given via the nasal or oral route or in the form of enemas. Oil applications to the skin and scalp, eardrops, and massages are some methods of external lubrication.
    • Dehydrated butter, vegetable oils, fish oil, animal fat and milk are some of the oleating agents used for snehana.
    • Snehana is also useful in the treatment of fibromyalgia.
  • Swedana
    • Swedana therapy aims at inducing sweat and liquefying toxins in the body, so they can be easily eliminated.
    • It one of the major cleansing procedures in Ayurveda and is commonly indicated for the treatment of vata-dominant diseases.
    • Apart from improving disease symptoms, it also promotes overall improvement in health.
    • Valuka sweda (generating sweat using a heated sand pack), bashpa sweda (generating sweat using a steam chamber) and pariseka sweda (generating sweat by pouring warm liquids or oils on the body) are some of the swedana techniques used in Ayurveda.
    • The vata-pacifying effects of this herb make it useful in the treatment of muscle pain.
  • Abhyanga
    • Abhyanga procedure involves application of oil to the skin and using specific massaging techniques to improve blood circulation.
    • This procedure can improve the body’s resistance to diseases. Therefore, it can help reduce muscle pain caused due to viral conditions like respiratory infections.
    • Abhyanga procedure also improves nerve conduction and musculoskeletal function. The oil massage done in this therapy alleviates stiffness and heaviness and promotes healing.
  • Virechana (purgation)
    • Virechana is indicated for the treatment of jaundice, skin conditions, insanity, gastrointestinal tract disturbances, asthma, chest diseases, epilepsy, rectal prolapse and diarrhoea.
    • Internal oleation might be performed before virechana.
    • Mridu virechana, a procedure where castor oil, draksha (grapes), warm water or milk are given for purgation in small quantities, is beneficial in treating mamsa gata vata.
    • The herbs used for this therapy are chosen on the basis of individual physiology and the purgative nature of the herb.

Ayurvedic herbs for muscle ache

  • Ashwagandha
    • Ashwagandha is one of the best herbs for improving immunity.
    • It has aphrodisiac, nervine (relieves stress), sedative (induces sleep), rejuvenating and tonic properties.
    • It is an astringent herb that is known for improving muscle strength and reducing inflammation. Togather, these properties make it useful for alleviating muscle pain caused due to fibromyalgia.
    • Ashwagandha is also used to treat other health conditions such as nerve exhaustion, insomnia, sexual debility, paralysis, general debility, anaemia, lumbago and alcoholism as well.
    • You can take ashwagandha in the form of powder, decoction, herbal wine, ghee (clarified butter), oil or as per your physician’s directions.
  • Yasthimadhu
    • Yashtimadhu is a sweet-tasting herb with laxative, tonic, ulcer-healing, rejuvenating, nervine and sedative properties.
    • It is beneficial in treating vata disorders, sore throat, general debility, weakness, muscle sores, cold and flu, inflammation and pain during urination.
    • This herb improves nerve conduction and provides relief from body pain. It is also beneficial in reducing muscle pain caused due to fibromyalgia.
    • You can take yasthimadhu in the form of ghee, decoction, powder, milk decoction or as per your physician’s direction.
  • Guggulu
    • Guggulu acts on the nervous, circulatory, digestive and respiratory systems.
    • It has rejuvenating, expectorant, stimulant and nervine properties.
    • Guggulu is used to treat piles, nervous disorders, gout, skin conditions, neurosis, leucorrhoea, throat ulcers and swelling.
    • It is also beneficial in the treatment of fractured bones.
    • The anti-inflammatory properties of this herb also aid in alleviating muscle pain.
    • This herb is known as the best herb for treating vata conditions and improving metabolic rate.
    • You can take guggulu in the form of a pill, powder or as per your physician’s direction.
  • Nirgundi (five-leaved chaste tree)
    • Nirgundi acts on the nervous and reproductive systems.
    • It has pain-relieving, aromatic, nervine and tonic properties.
    • Nirgundi is useful in the treatment of swelling, malaria, ulcer, ear disorder, hemicrania, inflammatory joint swelling, contusion, diarrhoea, muscle sprain and headache.
    • This herb is also helpful in treating rheumatic and neurological pains. Therefore, it can help alleviate muscle pain caused due to these conditions.
    • You can take nirgundi in the form of oil, powder, pill or as per your physician’s direction.
  • Daruharidra (Indian beriberi)
    • Daruharidra has fever-reducing, diuretic and stomachic properties, and it acts on the digestive and circulatory systems.
    • It is effective in destroying and eliminating toxins from the body and regulating liver function.
    • This herb is used to treat many health conditions like fevers, enlarged spleen and liver, neuralgia, jaundice, malaria, diabetes, brain disorders, pelvic congestion, high blood pressure and vomiting during pregnancy.
    • Daruharidra also has anti-inflammatory properties; therefore, it can provide relief from muscle ache caused due to rheumatoid arthritis.
    • You can take daruharidra in the form of medicated ghee, decoction, paste, powder or as per your physician’s direction.

Ayurvedic medicines for muscle ache

  • Triphala guggulu
    • Triphala guggulu is prepared from triphala (a combination of amalaki [Indian gooseberry], vibhitaki [belleric myrobalan], and haritaki [chebulic myrobalan]), guggulu and trikatu (a combination of the three acrids – pippali [long pepper], shunthi [dried ginger] and maricha [black pepper]). This mixture is then infused with a triphala decoction.
    • It is useful in treating urinary conditions such as sciatica, vatavyadhi, osteoarthritis, urustambha (painful stiff thighs) and amavata (rheumatoid arthritis).
    • It can also help alleviate muscle ache caused due to rheumatoid arthritis and aggravated vata.
  • Dashmoolarishta
    • Dashmoolarishta is prepared from 65 ingredients including musta (nutgrass), honey, amalaki, jaggery, pippali, turmeric, ashwagandha, raisins, guduchi and dashmoola (10 roots).
    • This medicine can reduce muscle pain caused due to rheumatic disorders. It also provides physical strength, vitality and vigour to the body, which aids in improving muscle function and reducing pain.
    • It is indicated in the treatment of many health conditions like vomiting, anaemia, gastric disorders, cough, dysuria, bronchitis and dyspnoea.
    • Dashmoolarishta is also recommended as a general tonic for postnatal care.

As treatments vary based on numerous factors and an individual’s prakriti (constitution), you should consult a qualified Ayurvedic doctor for the appropriate medications and treatments for your specific complaints.

Since pain is predominantly a vata symptom, the following do’s and don’ts will help manage the muscle pain when followed along with the treatment.

Do’s

  • Eat healthy and oleating foods
  • Include milk, meat dishes, sour and sweet-tasting foods, the red variety of sali rice, bitter gourd, buttermilk, shunthi, black pepper, barley, drumstick, fennel, lukewarm water and castor oil in your diet
  • Perform light exercises like walking
  • Practise yoga

Don’ts

  • Do not take mental stress
  • Do not suppress your natural urges like urinating and emptying the bowel
  • Do not consume black gram, heavy foods, curd, fish and incompatible food combinations

The efficacy of Ayurvedic herbs and panchakarma therapies was studied in a patient who developed rheumatoid arthritis one month after a full-term delivery. The patient was given dashmoola katutraya kwatha formulation along with shunthi, guduchi and other Ayurvedic medications for 4 months. Bashpa sweda and abhyanga were also performed for 10 days. Significant reduction in symptoms was noted after 75 days of the treatment. It was concluded that the application of Ayurvedic principles showed excellent results where conventional medications options were limited due to lactation.

  • Pregnant women, individuals who are weak and tired, and children and the elderly should not undergo virechana therapy.
  • Daruharidra might cause tissue deficiency.
  • People with congestion should not consume ashwagandha.

Muscle ache is a symptom associated with many health conditions. It can also occur due to a sprain or an injury. Conventional painkillers are effective in reducing the pain; however, they don’t provide long term relief and often have side effects. Ayurvedic herbs and medicines have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that provide effective relief from muscle ache without causing any severe side effects. Procedures like abhyanga, snehana and swedana eliminate toxins and aggravated vata from the body, thereby targeting the root cause of pain and preventing relapse.

Dr. Hariom Verma

Dr. Hariom Verma

आयुर्वेदा

 Dr. Sarita Singh

Dr. Sarita Singh

आयुर्वेदा

Dr. Amit Kumar

Dr. Amit Kumar

आयुर्वेदा

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