As you grow old, your low back pain grows with never ending pathology. You did not have back pain when you were a child and not may be around your teen age but since you entered your 20’s and 30’s the low back pain may be getting worse day by day. I am talking about chronic low back pain and not due to some severe pathology or injury. In this article Dr. Vibhuti Rao is going to explain what a person with low back pain should expect form an Ayurvedic treatment.
Almost everyone suffers with low back pain in their lifetime. For some people it is terrible & for some it is part of their life. Many people live with low back pain. It is a common painful problem which affects your lower portion of your spine (back bone).
Almost 10 million Indians suffer with this every year despite the best diagnostic tools available, modern medicines may not be in position to help patients with low back pain. Unfortunately still today people struggle with low back pain and live with pain. And whatever they do leaves them in pain.
Moreover, such patients spend lot of money to manage their pain with different pain killers and try to avoid surgery. Now days, we see that people are aware about their condition & search for an alternative medicine and they find Ayurveda’s non-surgical approach to various back pain issues is their destination. Indeed, Ayurveda has shown ways to manage many chronic ailments including lifestyle disorders very effectively without causing any discomfort to the patient.
What is low back pain?
The lower back is a fascinating and intricate part of the body that is home to the colon, intestines, uterus, bladder, prostate, kidney and spine. Pain in any one of these areas can masquerade as a back ache. For example, pain in your colon can feel like lower back pain. Colic, inflammation, and irritation of the colon is a common cause of lower back pain in Ayurveda. Flushing stagnant bowels can relieve this type of pain in your lower back. (Low Back Pain) is pain felt in the lower back that usually originates from the muscles, nerves, bones, joints or other structures in the spine.
Let me now tell you about how Ayurveda looks at low back pain - Ayurveda holds that LBP (katigraha) is a result of vitiation of one the principle physiological functions - 'vata'. Back pain arises when vata in the back gets aggravated & may damage the surrounding tissues. 'vata' controls & directs the body movements. Ayurveda calls it "kati-shoola" kati means-lower back & shoola refers to pain. if you know Sanskrit, you will easily understand this terminology, under 'kati-shoola'-all types of low back pain falls, or 'kati-shoola' can be an umbrella term under which other modern terminologies seems to fall in - such as - lumbar - spondylosis or lumbago.
ADVANTAGES OF AYURVEDIC TREATMENT IN LOW BACK PAIN
In managing chronic low back pain, Ayurveda has upper hand. Ayurveda has a unique understanding of physiology, pathology and management of low back pain. Arrests the process of degeneration & helps in regeneration of soft tissue damages. Prevention of disc prolapse or disc ruptures. Ayurvedic drugs do not produce hyper acidity, stomach or duodenal ulcer etc.
CAUSES OF LOW BACK PAIN (KATISHOOLA/ KATIGRAHA )
Due to lack of physical activity, improper posture of spine, sitting wrongly and moreover sitting improperly for long time may affect your lower back. This disturbs your routine & causes pain. Other issues such as disc prolapse, bulge & sciatica are other common causes of severe low back ache.
* Unwise physical activities - binding over too sharply, lifting things unwisely.
* Exaggerated physical activities - too much of bending, lifting or twisting.
* Less physical activities - improper posture.
* associated with osteoporosis, OA & other female related issues.
* External trauma - fall, accident or injury.
* being overweight.
* Wearing high heels or uncomfortable shoes etc.
WHAT IS THE SOLUTION? AYURVEDA INDEED
1. Understand your pain beyond a feeling-
Ayurveda has a different perspective to your pain. Ayurvedic theory is to understand the pain beyond just a feeling. You need to look deeper into your pain. Many people because of severe pain do not get to know their underlying pathology and keep taking pain killers for many years. This is wrong and brings more inflammation and pain. Pain is just a message send to us by the deeper problem of our low back which says to us that we are using our low back improperly in an unhealthy way.
Our toxic lifestyle creates an environment in our body to accumulate more toxins which imbalance our dosha – Vata. Vata is body energy responsible for all body functions, movements and activities. So take a step back and understand what wrong you are doing which is increasing your Vata. And try to correct that. Remember taking pain killers is not the solution. Removing pain from its root is the remedy.
2. Visit an Ayurvedic Vaidya, take Panchakarma and Ayurvedic formulations
If you have been experiencing low back pain for a while now and it is disturbing your day today activities then you need to see an Ayurvedic doctor who is experienced and exposed to treating such problems very well. Everyone’s body is different and thus the pathology and treatment plan- Ayurveda too believes in this.
Ayurvedic doctor may first take a proper history of your illness and diagnose it according to Ayurveda principles. If the diagnosis is proper then treatment would be fruitful. So tell your Vaidya how much you can tell about your health issues related too low back pain and even other health issues. This will help your Vaidya to understand the pathology involved and based on that treatment will be planned.
The treatment may have Panchakarma (cleansing procedures), some oral medicines, external supportive therapies, Ayurvedic medicated oils, dietary and lifestyle suggestion and few home remedies too.
3. What you should expect in Panchakarma in low back pain
Prepare yourself for unique natural cleansing procedures. Panchakarma are five various methods of body cleansing and removing aggravating dosha’s out. It will require may be an admission to the Ayurveda hospital or frequent visit if you do not want an admission. So choose a clinic which is near to your house and have all the facilities to offer you these cleansing procedures. Read the following steps further-
a. Agni balance- First your Agni will be corrected. Agni is very important to burn all those toxins in your gut which are triggering your pain. Also, a balanced Agni is a sign of good health. So take those oral herbal mixtures given to your to balance your Agni.
b. Snehana karma- After removing digestive toxins and seeing that there is no Agni related issues, then your body should be lubricated with ghee and oil internally and externally to help loosen up your toxins for easy expulsions.
c. Swedana Karma- Along with this, fomentation will be performed which is going to help you a lot with your pain. Low back pain is best managed by Ayurvedic fomentation procedures. Fomentation is also useful in relieving pain, restricted movement in low back region. It can be done in entire body or in affected part of the body like only low back etc. alone. Among the different forms of Ayurvedic fomentation procedures, Avagaha Sweda, Pizhichil, Nadi Sweda, Patra Pinda Sweda, Pinda Sweda, and Upanaha Sweda, Kati Basti may be performed efficiently in Kati Shoola. These therapies may range between 3 – 6 weeks and can expect maximum recovery with in this period. Duration may vary further based on the underlying cause So get on to this, they are your pain killers.
d. Virechana- And here comes the final step where you will undergo body cleansing via loose motion (Virechana). Virechana has an important role in chronic low back pain. In Vata imbalance most of the Ayurvedic ancient authors mentioned non-complicated, easy purgation (Mridu Virechana). Follow the procedure as instructed by your Vaidya. By this time your pain will be half gone and you will feel much better. Your Vaidya may give castor oil to drink for daily purgation therapy in a low dose to help you not collect those pain toxins.
e. Ayurvedic Enemas (Basti): For chronic low back pain, another panchakarma is taking Basti (Nirooha and Anuvasana Basti)regularly. This will be a 1-2 hour of procedure. Follow the instructions properly. Ayurveda offers a unique anal therapy called 'Basti' - enemas for managing 'vata' energy in the body & thus, help to manage your LBP. The liquid medication is given through your anal route. there is a growing evidence that medicines given through mouth is not the best route to give drugs in conditions like - neurological issues, intestinal problems & live disorders. So get these Ayurvedic enemas regularly.
BENEFITS OF VIRECHANA AND BASTI IN LOW BACK PAIN -
AYURVEDIC HERBS FOR LOW BACK PAIN -
Some Ayurvedic herbs are like magic in managing your LBP. There is a huge list of them and they work differently from person to person. So your Vaidya will give you what suits you and work effectively the best. Some single herbs are Nirgundi , Eranda, Bola, Guggulu, Rasna, Gokshura and Agnimantha.
USEFUL SPICES FOR LOW BACK PAIN -
* Garlic - consume 2-3 cloves of garlic every day.
* Cloves - it is a very good anti-oxidant & anti-inflammatory, which helps in managing pain.
* Cinnamon - it helps can swelling.
* Ginger - it reduces swelling & pain. Take ginger tea.
* Turmeric - use it fresh.
8 TIPS TO KEEP SPINE HEALTHY
NAIL THE BAD HABIT OF BACK-PAIN
That is Recurrence. It comes & come back again. And therefore, it requires your face & doing cleansing procedures especially Basti & Virechana once in a year & taking supportive Ayurvedic fomentation therapies helps a lot & keeps your lower back healthy. Remember the following-
So folks, do not let your back pain overtake you and your life, Stay healthy and enjoy with Ayurveda.
Dr. Vibhuti Rao is clinically experienced in managing various female related disorders and mental health issues. She writes regularly for various magazines in India and Australia.
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