How Ayurveda Can Help Treat Ataxia

Dr. Vikram Chauhan, MD
Ataxia and Ayurveda

Ataxia is defined lack of muscle coordination resulting in impaired coordinated voluntary movements. It affects speech, movements of the eye, swallowing, picking up the objects, walking, and other voluntary movements. Damage to the part of the brain that controls the voluntary movements causes ataxia. This condition can arise due to many reasons like trauma to head, multiple sclerosis, excessive intake of alcohol, cerebral palsy, tumor in brain or genetics. Certain infections and defects in the inherited genes can also cause ataxia. Its diagnosis can be challenging and may require several tests. 

Some might be born with it and others may develop it during their life, depending upon the cause of the disease.  Partly cause may define whether it will progress or stabilize with time.

Types of Ataxia

Cerebellar Ataxia

Dysfunction of cerebellum results in cerebellar ataxia. The cerebellum is the part of the disease which regulates the coordination, sensory perception, and motor control. This may result in certain signs and symptoms:

  • Improper coordination of limbs, muscles, organs or joints
  • Difficulty in estimating how much has passed
  • Floppiness, i.e. not able to hold a firm position
  • Not able to perform the alternating movement, especially rapid one
  • Impairment of control over the movement of leg, hand, arm or eye

The severity of the symptoms depends upon the part of the cerebellum that is damaged, whether the lesion is unilateral (one side) or bilateral (both sides). 

Sensory Ataxia 

In this, there is a loss of proprioception, i.e. awareness of movement and position of the body parts. In this type of ataxia there is unsteady gait, striking of the heel every time it touches the ground, instability in the postures, cannot stand with closed eyes and feet kept together. Closing the eyes worsens the instability due to the loss of proprioception. It makes a person more reliable on the visual data. Properly coordinated movements of the limbs, trunk, larynx, pharynx, and eyes become hard.

Vestibular Ataxia

Its onset is usually sudden and the lesion is unilateral resulting in the patient having episodes of nausea, vomiting, and vertigo. In case if the lesion of bilateral and onset in slow than the patient may experience unsteadiness.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Ataxia?

Depending upon the severity of the ataxia, symptoms may vary:

  • Coordination of the limbs is poor
  • The slow and slurred speech may be difficult to produce
  • Difficulty in controlling the rhythm, volume and pitch of the speech
  • Difficulty in swallowing causing coughing or choking
  • Less apparent expressions of the face
  • Trembling of body parts, tremors or shaking
  • Repetitive, rhythmic, involuntary eye movements which are called nystagmus
  • Lack of activity of muscles
  • Cold feet
  • Problem in balancing
  • Hearing and visual problems
  • Difficulty in walking
  • All the above symptoms can cause depression in the person

What can be the causes of Ataxia?

Ataxia can be inherited or non- inherited and reasons for both might be different.

Inherited Ataxia

Inherited ataxia is caused due to the defect in genes that can be inherited from any of the parent or both of them. In this type, the disease gets worse from every passing generation and onset also becomes earlier than the last one.

Non-Inherited Ataxia

Non-inherited ataxia can be due to various reasons:

  • Head injury
  • Surgery of brain
  • Excessive use of alcohol or drug
  • Tumour in the brain
  • Chickenpox or other certain infections
  • Long exposure to toxic chemicals
  • Cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and other certain neurological conditions
  • defective formation of cerebellum

How can Ataxia be treated?

Conventional treatment involves certain speech therapies, orthopedic care, occupational therapy, counseling, supplements, and nutrition.

Ayurvedic Approach to Ataxia

According to Ayurveda diseases are caused due to the imbalance of humor, i.e. Vata, Pitta, and Kapha dosha. Balance of these three doshas defines health and their imbalance causes disease. Ataxia is also the result of the vitiation of these doshas. Ayurvedic treatment is done by the use of herbs and medicines prepared from them. These natural herbs help to restore balance and health as well.

Brahmi Capsules

These herbal capsules are prepared from Bacopa monneiri herb which is known as the tonic for the nerves. It helps to sharpen the brain and enhances memory. Regular consumption of Brahmi capsules helps to detoxify the body and relaxes the muscles. Any kind of brain disease can be treated with the help of the Brahmi capsules.

Dosage- Take 2 capsules twice daily after meals with plain water

Gotu Kola Capsules

Centella Asiatica also is known as Mandukaparni is the herbs used to prepare Gotu kola capsules. It helps to improve memory, treat diseases of the brain like injury or tumor, increases concentration and relieve anxiety and stress. These capsules prevent nervous exhaustion and improve the vitality of the body.

Dosage- Take 2 capsules twice daily after meals with plain water

Mandukaparni works as anti-aging and rejuvenation. It increases the age and provides strength to the body. Increases memory, concentration and is a Rasayana.

Ashwagandha Capsule

These herbal capsules are prepared from standardized extracts of the Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) which works like a general health tonic. It reduces stress and increases memory. It helps to increase the coordination of the voluntary movements of the body and gives power to the body parts preventing unsteadiness of the gait.

Dosage- Take 2 capsules twice daily after meals and with plain water

Boswellia Curcumin Capsules

Two amazing herbs Curcuma longa and Boswellia serrata are used to prepare these herbal capsules and consist of all the qualities of these herbs. Boswellia curcumin capsules help to treat inflammation and all its symptoms. Ataxia is caused due to the damage to the brain part, these capsules will help to treat that damage which results in ataxia, naturally.

Dosage- Take 2 capsules twice daily after meals with plain water

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