Ayurvedic Back Pain Treatment
Back pain is one of the most common medical problems affecting 8 out of 10 people at some point during their lives. It can range from a constant diminished ache to a sudden sharp pain or burning sensation. The discomfort can even radiate to arms and hands as well as legs or feet and the person may even experience numbness or weakness in arms or legs.
Depending on the area of pain, the pain may be referred to as neck pain, middle back pain, lower back pain, or coccyx /tailbone or sacral pain. The occurrence of pain may be acute, sub-acute, or chronic.
The human back is composed of a complex structure of muscles, ligaments, tendons, discs, and bones which work together to support the body and its movements. Problems with any of these components can lead to back pain. Problems to these structures can happen due to strain, medical conditions, bad postures, etc.
Major Causes of Back Pain:
- Poor posture
- Lack of exercise results in stiffening of the spine and weak muscles
- Muscle strains or sprains are usually from repeated heavy lifting or sudden awkward movements
- Bulging or ruptured disks: the disks act as a cushion between the bones forming the spinal cord. Bulging or rupture of these cushions results in compression of nerves causing back pain.
- Arthritis : can lead to degenerative changes and can cause back pain
- Osteoporosis causes thinning of bones
- Spinal stenosis
- An infection
- A tumor
- Inflammation of the back, etc.
- Age: Incidence of back pain is more after the age of 30.
- Weight: people with extra weight or obesity are more prone to back pain since the excess weight puts more pressure on the joints and the disks.
- Structural problems: Such as scoliosis causes change in spine alignment which results in severe back pain.
- Medical conditions such as arthritis or cancer may cause back pain
- Mental Health: back pain may occur due to depression or anxiety
- Lack of Exercise: weak, unused muscles in the back and abdomen can lead to back pain
- Improper Lifting: people who lift heavy objects using their back are at a higher risk of back pain.
- Smoking: Smokers are at a higher risk of back pain as smoking may lead to decreased blood flow to the spine.
Symptoms of Back Pain:
- A dull aching sensation in the back usually in the middle or upper back
- Inability to stand up straight without pain
- Decreased range of motion and reduced ability to flex the back
- Stabbing or shooting pain that radiates down to the leg or foot
- Physical Examination to test
- Spine’s range of motion
- Ability to stand and walk
- Leg strength
- Blood and Urine Tests to check underlying causes
- X-Rays of spine-to check alignment of bones and fractures
- CT Scan or MRI: to assess disks, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels
- Bone Scan for abnormalities in bone tissue
- Electromyography to check nerve signals
Preventing Back Pain:
- BEAR LESS: Carrying heavy briefcases, bags, etc. can cause strain to your back. Reduce what you carry or use bags that uniformly distribute weight.
- BUILD YOUR CORE: strengthening the muscles of the back and abdomen can reduce the chances of damage to the back
- CORRECT YOUR POSTURE: while walking, standing, and sitting. This reduces the unnecessary strain and pressure on the spine.
- STRETCH OFTEN: this improves circulation and reduces the risk of back pain.
Managing Back Pain:
- Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and topical applications are usually advised
- Physical therapies: to increase flexibility, strengthen your back and abdominal muscles and improve the posture
- Surgical Correction if the pain is due to structural abnormality
- Cortisone injections for pain relief
- Implanted Nerve Stimulators to block pain signals.
Back Pain in Ayurveda
Ayurveda calls this condition different names depending upon the area of pain. As per Ayurveda, Vata is the Dosha that causes pain. Back is therefore a vataja disease which is listed under nanatmaja vataja vikaras.
- GREEVA SHOOLA: if the pain is localized to the upper back and neck
- PRISTASHOOLA: pain in the middle back
- KATI SHOOLA: Pain in the lower back
Apart from this, these diseases can also be listed under back pain:
- VISWACHI: here pain from the back of the neck radiates to the shoulders, arms, and hands.
- ABABAHUKA: pain is localized to the back of the neck and shoulders.
- GRDRASI: Pain from low back radiates to the thighs, knees, calve muscles, and foot.
Excessive indulgence in exercises, sexual activities, excessive thinking, dry and cold foods, deficit intake of food, etc causes Vata dosha to aggravate and the aggravated dosha along with build-up toxins gets accumulated in the minute channels and leads to back pain.
Management in Ayurveda:
Ayurveda management of back pain is very effective with high success rates in almost all cases. The management in Ayurveda focuses on diverting to a more healthy lifestyle which starts with:
- NIDANA PARIVARJANA: finding the root cause and avoiding all the activities, food habits, and living conditions leading to the cause.
- SHODANA: to further act on the damage that happened, the toxins build-up needs to be eliminated. Elimination is done by Ayurveda’s detox procedures known as Panchakarmas. The special focus is on the Vasti procedure which is best to eliminate the aggravated Vata dosha.
- SAMANA: after the major aggravated doshas and toxins are eliminated, the remaining damage is corrected by palliative therapies which include external therapies such as Dhanyamladhara, Kashayadhara, Podikizhi, Elakkizhi, etc to treat inflammation and further treatments such as Abhyangam, Kativasti, Greevavasti, Pichu are used to reduce pain and stabilize the joints.
Along with external therapies, internal medications are also started to quicken the healing process. Also, special focus is given to diet during the time of treatment.
- RASAYANA and DHATUPUSTIKARANA: by the above therapies, the disease progression is arrested and the next focus moves to the nourishment of the corrected region.
External therapies such as Tailadhara, Pizhichil, Njavaratheppu, etc come under this category. Internal medications called rasayanas are usually started during this period. Thus Ayurveda has a very scientific and holistic method for the management of back pain.
Herbs That Help For The Management Of Back Pain:
- Adarak / Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
- Haldi/Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
- Ulatkanta/Devil’s claw (Martynia annua)
- Mulethi/Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Yogasana’s For Back Pain Management:
- Nadishodani Pranayama
- Bramari pranayama
- Sitali Pranayama
What Do We Do At AGNI?
With a more than 90 percent success rate in the management of back pain and related complications, AGNI offers treatment plans for each patient approaching us. Strictly based upon the traditional Kerala Ayurveda system we offer the best for your condition. Among the wide range of treatment plans available, we choose your plan depending on your lifestyle, health habits, the level of pain after a detailed consultation and examination.
The treatment plan comprises our 3 main motives:
- ELIMINATE Detox by Panchkarma to remove the accumulated toxins to correct the damaged system and metabolism. Depending upon the patient’s condition the detox method is decided:
VIRECHANA and VASTI karma is the most chosen methods of elimination.
- ARREST: Here the area of pain;i.e back is concentrated and damage control and further progress are arrested by using our specialized external therapies, internal medications, personalized yoga sessions, and custom-made diets. Our therapies include:
- Dhanyamladhara and Kashayadhara: Pouring warm herbal liquid on the affected area.
- Podikizhi: A kind of potali massage where the potali is prepared out of powdered herbs.
- Elakizhi: here the potali is prepared out of medicinal leaves that have Vata pacifying properties.
- Swedana: Sweating out using steam made of medical herbs.
- Abhyanga: Warm oil massage mainly focuses on the area of pain so as to energize the body cells.
- Kativasti: Keeping lukewarm medicated oil over the area of pain.
- Pichu: Cotton soaked in medicated oil is kept on the area of concern and the oil is replaced frequently.
- REJUVENATE: after arresting the progression of pain and repairing the damage that happened, we further move to the rejuvenation of the body in general and the back region in particular. The purpose is achieved by our various nourishing therapies which include:
- Pizhichil: A squeezing kind of massage using warm oil.
- Njavarakizhi: medicated rice is used for the therapy.
Along with the therapies we include certain internal medications also for the purpose of rejuvenation.