Ayurved Doctor

backache

Backache: Ayurvedic management and home remedies

Backache or more commonly known as back pain is one of the commonest troubles of mankind since ages. Earlier it was considered as a senile or age-related disorder but now it is more seen in young generations. The presentation of low backache may be similar in many cases but the underlying cause will differ from each individual. Let’s have a look at the common causes of low backache.

Causes of Low back ache (LBA)

Backache maybe because of the problems with any of the structure in the pelvic regions like bone, muscle, nerve or tendon. It may also be due to other external factors such as trauma or physical strain. Some of the basic causes are:

  • Herniations or prolapse of the intervertebral disc
  • Sciatica
  • Stenosis (narrowing) of the spinal cord
  • Abnormal spine curvatures as in Scoliosis, kyphosis etc.
  • Fibromyalgia (muscular pain)
  • Lumbar spondylosis and arthritis
  • Cancer of the spine or other pelvic structures.
  • External factors like falling from a height, lifting heavy weights or any injuries to the area.
  • Poor or inappropriate sitting and lying posture
  • Obesity or weight gain

Low back ache may be seen as secondary to other conditions such as

  • Kidney stones and uterine infections
  • Pelvic appendicitis
  • Ovarian fibroids and uterine prolapse
  • Endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • As a part of menstrual cramp
  •  Pregnancy

Ayurveda considers back pain as a symptom to other diseases rather a specific disease entity. Katishoola is generally considered as back pain but the term Katigraha is also seen equally used in similar cases. But the words itself give a clear distinction of terms as Katishoola literally means pain in Kati (hip or lower back) whereas Katigraha is moreover a stiffness in the lower back.

In general, it is a Vata predominant condition; Vata in association with another dosha will give respective symptoms. As per Ayurveda, Pakvashaya (lower abdomen) and Kati are invariably the sthana of Vata dosha, thus any simple Vataprakopaka nidanas (causative factors) can easily provoke the condition. In the ayurvedic view, Katishoola may be due to Gudagata Vata, pakvashayagata Vata and even Vibandha (constipation) can cause pain in the lower back due to improper movement of Vata or stagnation of doshas. Gridrasi in Ayurveda can be correlated to Sciatica of conventional medicine system, presents with pain in the low back which eventually radiates down to thighs and toes.

Ayurvedic way of managing Katishoola

As it is a Vataja disorder, the first line of management is obviously to tackle the vitiated Vata dosha. Eliciting the exact cause of pain, and differentiating the doshas involved is the first step. Look for any other dosha or dushya association and manage accordingly. The basic line of management is through the following measures:

  • Snehana– applying any suitable oils.
  • Swedana– give fomentation to remove the localized doshas.
  • Lepana– applying the paste of vatahara churnas or paste.
  • Basti-(the golden treatment for Vata disorders) enema with vatahara kashaya or taila.
  • Virechana– purgation, to remove ama( unwanted waste or toxins of metabolism).
  • Kati Basti– keeping the medicated oil in situ in a specially prepared black gram dough at the lower back.
  • Pichu-keeping cotton swabs soaked in medicated oil over the lower back.
  • Kizhi aka pottali sweda-heated medicated powders are made into a bundle and kept over the painful area.

Some of the common taila used in Katishoola (backache) are Sahacharadi taila, Mahanarayana taila, Bala taila, Balaswagandhadi taila or simply sesame oil is sufficient.

Internal medications are a must as the ideal way to cure a disease is not just by giving symptomatic relief but also treating from the roots and preventing the recurrence. Classical medications like Rasna saptaka kashayam, Rasnerandadi kashayam, Dhanvantaram kashayam, Sahacharadi kashayam, Gandharvahastadi kashayam are found beneficial since ages.

Do’s and Don’ts

Initially, an individual with LBA should correct his or her posture while sitting and lying.

  • Always lie on a flat and regular surface, never go for irregular beds.
  • It is very much advisable to keep a small pillow or folded bed sheet under your knee when lying supine or in between the knee on lying laterally.
  • Better to avoid pillow for head
  • While standing for a long time always make small movements in between as it may help to remove the strain on nerves and veins.
  • Always keep a cushion (doughnut cushions) or pillow while sitting if you have tail bone pain.
  • Support your back with a pillow or cushion, if you have to sit and work for long, try to keep the spine straight
  • Totally avoid two-wheeler as well as any animal rides( e.g. horse)
  • Always try to give support to the lower back with a lumbar belt or by simply tying a thick folded cloth around the hip, especially in case you have to lift any weight or while bending down.
  • Avoid lifting heavyweights

HOME REMEDIES

  • Take some lukewarm sesame oil and apply over the low back area
  • Boil water with Chincha (tamarind) leaves, and give good steam or fomentation
  • Apply paste prepared from  vatahara leaves like Chincha, Nirgundi ( Vitex nigundo), Shigru( Moringa oliefera), Karanja( Pongamia pinnata),Eranda (Ricinus communis), Agnimantha( Premna integrifolia,) Bala( Sida cordifolia) and Vatamkolli(Justicia gendarussa). This can be used either as a single herb preparation or as a mixture based on the availability.
  • Heat leaves of Arka (Calotropis gigantea) and ties it over the low back or lie over it.
  • Applying a paste of garlic and ginger will give relief. Daily intake of the same will open all the obstructed channels. ( Beware of the dose!!).
  • In case of pain with stiffness valuka sweda (heated sand) or lavana sweda (heated salt) is very ideal.
  • Take a small amount of any oil, heat it by adding camphor and apply over the painful area
  • Practising yogasanas like Bhujangasana, Shalabhasana, and Kati chakrasana are good (perform only after the guidance of a qualified doctor).
  • Massage to the area is good, but do only after finding the exact cause.

# Stay healthy # stays happy

Author:

Dr Arya Raveendran, BAMS,
With experience in treating skin disorders, pain management, lifestyle disorders, hair and cosmetic problems.

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