The human body is one of the world’s most fabulous creations. The human body is built using multiple marvelous structures that make up the entire figure enabling us to perform various tasks in a much easier way. The vertebral column is one such structure that is customized for the human body as it connects the top (head) and bottom (hip) to make a complete figure. What if I say, there is another such avascular organ that is equally important just like the spinal column?
That’s the vertebral disc – a jelly-type organ present between each vertebra that provides cushioning to the spinal cord. Thus, the vertebral disc becomes so essential for the human body. And minor damage to this disc creates a massive loss for our body, which is initiated by lower back pain.
Causes of lower back pain
Lower back pain can be caused due to any damage in the disc, lower spine, or lower muscles. Apart from these, there are some psychological factors too that can affect the lower back.
Some disc problems leading to lower back pain are;
- Disc dehydration
- Disc degeneration
- Disc inflammation
- Bulging Discs
- Herniated discs
- Thinning discs
Dislocation of the vertebral disc immediately causes lower back pain. If this symptom is ignored then the dislocated disc moves further apart causing nerve damage too.
In the same way, lower back pain also occurs due to spine degeneration (reduction of spine bone density) or injury in the lower spine.
Other factors that can cause lower back pain;
- Suppression of nerves present in the lower back (eg: sciatica).
- Shrinking of the spinal canal.
- Nerve damages or irritation.
- Germ infection or inflammation in the spinal column or the vertebral disc.
Lower back pain can be stimulated by a simple muscle cramp or even by any serious diseases like cancer, etc. Psychologically, mental stress, depression, anxiety, and fear can also cause lower back pain.
Ignoring such chronic low back pain symptoms lead to damage of the spine, and vertebral disc, and even lower muscles become weak reaching a stage where there is no gate for self-healing. So getting the immediate attention of a doctor for diagnosis and treatment helps the patient survive the crisis.
The Ayurvedic aspect of treating a disease
Getting to the root cause of any disease is very important for its treatment. For example, we have three patients with a low back pain condition. And we went around asking them, “When and how did you encounter this pain?”. Each of them had different answers to it.
- One said, “I am experiencing this pain since I got an injury in the lower back in an accident”.
- Another said, “I have been suffering from this pain ever since I got diagnosed with a germ infection in the vertebral disc”.
- The last one said, “Now and then, I feel something grabbing my back tight from the inside and it irritates me a lot”.
In the above cases, lower back pain is caused due to low back injury, germ infection/inflammation, and nerve irritation respectively. All three have the same low back pain symptom, but the reason for its origin or the root cause for the pain is different. Here comes the crucial role of Ayurveda. It identifies the root cause of the disease. Any medicine or treatment is provided according to the body type and strength of the patient only after getting to the root cause of the disease and identifying the stage of the disease the patient is suffering from.
Ayurvedic treatment/therapy for lower back pain
A full body oil massage. Using suitable oil based on the patient’s condition a complete body massage is given. Abhyangam helps in reducing body dryness and muscle stiffness. Thus, aids in relieving lower back pains.
A medicated steam bath. It is usually done immediately after abhyangam. The heat produced in the steam bath dilates the pores thus helping in the absorption of the herbal oil applied during abhyangam. Moreover, a steam bath helps to relax the muscles relieving the lower back pain caused due to muscle contractions.
Ela Kizhi – It contains a mixture of fresh leaves of medicinal plants and herbal ingredients that are packed and dipped into a warm herbal oil and applied to the lower back where the pain is experienced.
Podi Kizhi – It contains powdered herbal ingredients which are packed and applied to the body either dipped in warm oil or without oil using dry heat.
This Kizhi therapy reduces pain, reduces inflammation, and reduces muscle stiffness. Patients with mild lower back pains can go with the above three therapies.
A very popular therapy meant for lower back pain in Ayurveda. Kati means “lower back region” and vasti means “something that holds”. Accordingly, a medicated oil based on the patient’s body type is prepared and retained hot in the lower back region for a specific period.
Benefits of Kati Vasti:
- Reduces pain and inflammation.
- Relieves muscle stiffness or cramps.
- Improves blood circulation.
- Strengthens and nourishes the skin, muscles, tissues, ligaments, and bones.
Here, warm oil is poured or squeezed into the painful region of the lower back from a specific height. Again the herbal oil is prepared based on the body type and strength of the patient.
Benefits of Pizhichil:
- Relieves back pain and inflammation.
- Reduces muscle stress.
- Regulates blood circulation.
- Helps in keeping the skin healthy.
- Aids in nerve strengthening.
This therapy involves the preparation of herbal paste by mixing certain herbal powders with a specific medium such as curd, water, or usually herbal oil and is applied in the painful region.
Benefits of Lepam:
- It relieves pain and absorbs swelling or inflammation.
- Improves blood circulation.
In this therapy, the patient’s body is immersed in a warm medicated solution which is prepared by adding medicinal herbs or oil to warm water in a bathtub; making sure that the painful region comes in contact with the medicated water.
Benefits of Avagaham:
- Reduces inflammation.
- Strengthens muscles and bones.
- Relieves joint pains.
Other than the above therapies, based on the patient’s condition they can also undergo panchakarma therapies like vasti or virechanam if required.
Lower back pain is easily treated at its initial stage. So never ignore your primary body signs like pain and inflammation. Get immediate attention from a doctor to stay healthy as always.