Back pain especially lower back pain can be unbearable and very distressing. If left unattended it can lead to immobility of the person. In Ayurveda lower back pain is caused due to excess ‘apana’ in the body. Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine is based on the universal law of nature. The five elements namely air, ether, water, fire and earth inside and outside the body and aims at bringing back the balance when they go out of balance giving way to diseases.
According to Ayurveda, back pain is also the result of the aggravation of one or more of the three doshas, the life energies namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha. The aggravation of vat normally causes bone and muscle degeneration and weakness. The disease comprises of slip disc, Sciatica and Lumbar Spondylosis. Ayurveda also suggests specific yoga postures and stretching exercises that can restore the natural position of the spinal card and the muscles. The treatment includes herbs, massages using herbal oils besides diet recommendations to correct the imbalance in the dosha, in the body constitution.
Some Ayurvedic Treatments for Back Pain
Ayurvedic Massage: Medicated oil, Mahanaryana Oil is used for massaging the area where pain is intense. This can relieve the pain effectively. A deeper massage on the surface alleviates kapha dosha that causes back pain. Another method is to apply a paste made of ginger power and water on the painful surface. After leaving it for about 15 minutes wash it off with water and rub eucalyptus oil. Warm herbal organic oil can be used in a full body massage known as Abhyanga massage.
Enema: Constipation often accompanies back pain in most individuals. It cannot be decided which of these occurred first as either of these can induce the occurrence of the other. Chronic constipation can be a major cause of back pain in some patients. In the same way anxiety and the resultant muscle spasms may induce back pain. In either cases enema using Dashamoola tea mixed with sesame oil produces the desired relief.
Herbal Hot Bath: Ginger powder and baking soda should be mixed with hot water in a specific ratio. After applying Mahanarayan Oil on the painful back, soak in the hot water tub for about 15 minutes. It relieves pain and the patient feels relaxation of the muscles. This is recommended twice or thrice a week.
Yogic postures involving back bending exercises are very useful in providing relief in back pain. The postures include Cat pose, Sunbird pose and Locust post. These poses must be attempted under the guidance of a trained yoga teacher. These exercises are so powerful that they can stop any further damage to the back. Inhaling deeply in such a way that the breath reaches the end of the spine will relax it and give relief from lower back pain significantly.
Aromatherapy: The use of aromatherapy works both internally and externally as a remedy for back pain. The herbs used in this process are henna, basil, cinnamon and frangipani etc.
Some home remedies also provide immediate relief to back pain. Ayurveda suggests many home remedies that are simple, easy to follow and effective without side effects.
Drinking the ginger extract mixed with honey is highly effective. It works as a anti-inflammatory agent to give the effect of an mild aspirin to relieve back pain.
Ice pack: If the back pain is due to injury or strain, apply ice packs immediately on the painful surface to numb the pain. Crushed ice cubes packed into a plastic bag and wrapped up in a towel works as an effective ice pack. It should be applied on the back for about 20 minutes and can be repeated every half an hour.
Epsom salts: Soaking for about 30 minutes in hot water bath tub in which Epsom salt is mixed is highly effective in relieving back pain.
Other Ayurvedic Tips for Relief from Back Pain
- Avoid exposure to cold winds and very cold weather.
- Avoid vata increasing foods such as black beans and raw and cold salads.
- Exercise regularly to keep muscles strong. Avoid strenuous exercise.
- Adopt favorable sleeping habits by lying straight facing up on a firm mattress.
- Keep warm by eating hot food.
- Taking 2 or3 cloves of garlic aids in relieving back pain.
- Get rid of excess ‘apana’ the toxin by taking castor oil.
- Panchakarma treatment using herbal preparations like ‘Asthavrgam’ is suggested in some cases.
- Avoid wearing very high healed shoes.
- Meditate for overall relaxation of body and mind.