Managing Back Ache

Editor’s Note

Dear Readers,.    Back pain is one of the most common health complaints. Almost everyone will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. This pain can vary from mild to severe. It can be short-lived or long-lasting. However it happens, low back pain can make many everyday activities difficult to do. We cannot avoid the normal wear and tear on our spines that goes along with aging. But there are things we can do to lessen the impact of low back problems. Having a healthy lifestyle is a good start. Most back problems will get better with proper medical help and proper self-care measures.

Ayurveda differentiates low back pain into three basic sub types or doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. These categories are used to both classify a patient individual body type or prakriti and the individual’s disease state or vikriti. Treatment in Ayurveda is to bring the vitiated ‘dosha’ back to the state of equilibrium and thereby to the state of health. For treating low back pain, internal as well as external treatments are done. All pain is associated with Vata dosha as Vata is responsible for all movement in the body – the impediment of which causes pain. Low back ache is termed as katigraha (kati refers to the lower back area and graha refers to stiffness due to pain). It is effectively managed by suitable internal medicines and external therapies. In this Article, we will see the external treatments which help in relieving back pain and simple lifestyle changes which will prevent its recurrence and maintain the spine health.

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Vaidya Lakshmi Anoop

Managing Back Ache

External Therapies for back ache

The two effective therapies for back pain are Kati vasthi and Pinda swedan.

Kati vasthi is the treatment where warm medicated oil is kept at the low back region for a prescribed period of time. Black gram flour is well mixed with sufficient quantity of warm water to make a thick paste or dough. It is then made into flat slab like structure. The patient is made to lie in prone position and black gram dough is pasted encircling the region of pain or discomfort, ensuring there will be no leakage of oil. Now suitable medicated oil is made warm and poured slowly with a help of cotton piece and retained for a prescribed period of time (30 min. – 45 min.). The temperature of the oil is maintained warm throughout the treatment. Once the treatment is over, the oil should be removed with cotton and then the dough should be removed. After 5 – 10 min., the body part is cleaned with lukewarm water and the patient is advised to take rest.

Benefits – It releases muscle tension and stiffness. It is helpful in treating all lower back ailments including acute and chronic back pain, prolapsed disc, lumbar Spondylitis, sciatica, degenerative disorders of disc, osteoporosis, arthritis and spinal cord compression.

 Pinda Swedan is a treatment where the affected area is given fomentation with a bolus of medicated leaves. Fresh leaves (300- gm approx.) that mitigate Vata dosha are washed and chopped into small pieces and fried in oil along with chopped lemon and other medicinal ingredients. Then this medicated leaves are tied in a piece of Kora cloth to make a bolus. The patient is made to lie down and the bolus is dipped in suitable warm oil and applied on the affected part with moderate pressure for prescribed period o f time (30 min. to 45 min.). Every time before application, the temperature of the bolus has to be checked. This procedure can be done on whole body or on localized body part affected with pain. After the procedure, the patient is wiped with dry towel and covered with a blanket for 10 min. Then the body is cleaned well with lukewarm water and the patient is advised to rest.

Benefits – It is one of the best pain management techniques and it relives stiffness and pain. It is beneficial in cervical and lumbar spondylitis, sciatica, arthritis, frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, and knee pain

Tips to Prevent Back Pain :

One should always sit in a comfortable chair with proper back rest.

One should avoid adopting improper sitting or sleeping postures.

Restrict excess ride in two wheelers.

Prolonged standing for long hours is not advisable.

Make sure your work surface is at a comfortable height for you.

Wear comfortable and low-heeled shoes.

Don’t try to lift objects too heavy for you.

Quit smoking and alcohol.

Simple stretching exercise or Yoga postures can be done. But do not overdo exercise.

Bhujangasana (Cobra pose), Salabhasana (Half locust pose) are beneficial.

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