Osteomyelitis – Ayurvedic Treatment, Diet, Exercises, Research Papers, Yoga & Pranayama


   Rarely, infections from several body parts reach a bone by roaming through the bloodstream or after being dispersed from the adjacent tissue. Sometimes the infection may start within the bone itself succeeding injuries and is termed Osteomyelitis. Staphylococcus aureus is the causative organism of osteomyelitis. They usually get into a bone via bloodstream (from an infected organ or tissue), direct injuries (closed or open) and even by direct contamination during surgeries.  A physician should be consulted when a noticeable bump, tenderness, warmth and reddish discoloration appear over a particular area of infection along with pain, limited range of motion, night sweats, fever and weakness. But it will become riskier when the signs and symptoms are literally absent or hard to detect, especially among infants, older adults or immuno-compromised individuals. The condition is generally acute amid children but is comparatively easier to treat. Hip and spine are the bones that are more susceptible to infection in adults.

Causes of osteomyelitis

There are many other factors that may make the bones more vulnerable to osteomyelitis which include: recent injuries like animal bite; infection following prosthesis implantation; damaged circulatory system due to uncontrolled diabetes, peripheral artery disorders, sickle cell anaemia etc, causing derangement in body’s infection preventing mechanism; insertion of catheter or intravenous lines; usage of tumour necrosis factor inhibitors. The risk of bone infection upsurges among smokers and persons suffering from chronic ailments, like Diabetes Mellitus. Osteomyelitis usually involves the ulcerated foot among diabetics.

Treatment of osteomyelitis

Although once thought-out irredeemable, osteomyelitis is now mendable. Surgical removal of infected bone parts or surgical replacement of bone is well suggested, but one should follow intravenous antibiotics after the same at least for 6 weeks.

 Complications of osteomyelitis

 If left untreated or un-noticed, conditions like bone death, impaired bone growth in children, septic arthritis or even skin cancer may arise as a complication.

Preventive measures of osteomyelitis

Osteomyelitis can easily be prevented by strictly following physician’s instructions by those who are vulnerable to infection.  Simply dodging the chances of getting injured or infected can prevent osteomyelitis. Use protective measures while handling sharps, be aware while dealing with pet animals etc. Wash the wound immediately after an injury and apply a clean bandage. Check for any signs and symptoms of osteomyelitis frequently. Ayurvedic preventive measures such as medicated fumes of neem, commiphora mukul, turmeric etc on the site of wound are found to be useful. In the case of respiratory infections or even as a daily regimen we can advise nasal administration of medicated fumes. For diabetics, immersing the feet in tepid saline water (2 teaspoon salt in 1 litre of water) or Triphala decoction (boiled and cooled to maximum tolerable temperature) is helpful. Several other drugs are suggested for fumigation in wounds and fractures.

Ayurvedic Concept of osteomyelitis

Diseases of bones are explained in detail in Ayurvedic classics. The clinical presentation of osteomyelitis resembles the disease Asthimajjagata vidradhi explained in Ayurveda. All the three doshas will be involved with a dominance of Kapha and Pitta vitiation. Dushyas include Rakta, Asthi Majja and Kandara. There will be Agnimandya especially in dhatvagni. If associated with constipation and emaciation, Vaata kopa due to dhatukshaya should be considered. Signs and symptoms include ruk(pain), sotha(swelling) raaga(redness) and restricted movement of the joint affected. In some cases, there will be supti(numbness), pipeelikavat charana(tingling sensation or ltered sensation of skin), and daaha (burning sensation).

Ayurvedic Nidana of osteomyelitis

Kshata – injury

Srotosanga – obstruction to body channels

Krimija – microbe infection

Ayurvedic treatment for osteomyelitis

In acute & severe cases Samana chikitsa is advised for symptomatic management.

They include

Aama pachana – removing the toxins and metabolic wastes from the system

Sothahara – reducing the swelling

Agnideepana – enhancing the digestive fire

Rujaahara – reducing the pain

Ballya – strengthening the joint

Many a times internal medicines with Tikta rasa and Ruksha guna help reduce the infection and clears the Rakta dhatu vitiation. This can help in reducing the inflammatory signs. People with extreme Vaata vitiation get benefitted with Vaata hara and Brumhana type of herbal formulations.

After the first line of treatment as symptomatic management, whole body therapies as Ayurvedic Panchakarma are advised to cleanse the body channels and to strengthen the joints. It can be done with Sneha-sweda(oil application and sweating therapies), Virechana(purgation) and Vasti(herbal enema). In severe Pitta-Rakta vitiation, Raktamoksha(bloodletting) is indicated.

Herbal Preparations for osteomyelitis

Kokilakshakam kashayam

Patolakaturohinyadi kashayam

Tiktakam kashayam

Mahamanjishthadi kashayam



Diet & Regimen

Diet dominant with Madhura & Tikta rasa.

Avoid excess salt, chillies, spices, oil, and curd.

Avoid dairy products in severe conditions.

Yoga & Pranayama

No yoga postures are advised in severe and painful conditions with swelling.

Sookshmavyayama can be done after regaining the normal state of the joint with proper treatment & medications.

Nadee suddhi praanayaama helps in improving the circulation, causing increased blood flow, letting the body fight the infection in a better way, resulting in feeling better.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, United States. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please consult your GP before the intake.

Dr. Rajesh Nair Consultant, Ayurveda Medicine, India

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Dr. Rajesh Nair, the co-founder and chief consultant of Ayurvedaforall.Com, is a graduate of prestigious Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda College (affiliated with the University of Calicut), Kerala, India. Additionally, he holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy from Annamalai University.

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