AYURVEDA IN BACK PAIN MANAGEMENT
Chronic back pain can lower the quality of one’s life, whatever one’s age. Back pain can arise from different reasons, from sitting in uncomfortable positions for long periods to lifting heavy objects, and exerting undue pressure on the back. The good news is that back pain can be managed, lessened and stopped from progressing further with Ayurveda without undergoing the knife. Here is how.
According to Ayurveda, every ailment is caused by an imbalance of one of the three doshas – vata, pitta and kapha. Back pain is caused by an imbalance of vata, and it is considered one of the worst of ailments, as it affects the entire body and causes immense pain. Vata imbalances can be regulated with Ayurvedic medicines that are known for the muscle relaxing and imbalance restoring properties. Drinking water soaked with Ajjwain seeds is also said to be beneficial for muscle-related ailments and pain.
External treatments are recommended for back pain than medication, just as physiotherapy is an integral part of treatment for spinal and back-related aches and injuries. There is a range of Ayurvedic massage therapies for every kind of body pain. Massages such as kati vasti specifically address the degeneration of the spine. It involves the massaging of heated medicated oils on the affected area to relieve inflammation, increase blood flow and relax the muscles and tendons.
All kinds of back problems like spondylosis, spinal problems and those caused by abnormal postures find relief from kati vasti. Abhyangam with potali sweda and Kerala-based massage therapies like elakizhi, pizhichil and navarakizhi are also recommended for back aches. A complete Panchakarma therapy can restore a sense of well-being and vitality to the body. Regular application of Aswagandha oil is also said to ease muscle pains and soreness.
Ayurveda never treats a particular body part or disease; it always considers the entire body and the past history of the patient for effective solutions. Since back pain is a consequence of the imbalance of vata, which is essentially linked to the cold, Ayurveda recommends that patients avoid cold foods, cold drinks and also cold climates. One should always keep warm and consume hot foods while avoiding spicy and pungent foods. In order to keep warm, massage the body regularly with heated sesame oil before bath. Apart from all these, one should avoid a sedentary lifestyle, avoid stress and also sleep in a comfortable position to keep off back problems.
Yoga and Breathing Exercises
Ayurveda recommends daily yoga for everyone, not just those affected by any ailments, as it can keep the body supple and healthy, and the mind clear and calm. There are specific yogasanas for back pain; some of which are padahastasana and adho mukha swanasana, or the downward dog. Regular practice of yoga strengthens the muscles and the body, and a few rounds of Suryanamaskar every day itself can do wonders to the body. Analoma viloma or breathing through alternate nostrils, can combat vata-related ailments and bring balance and calm to the mind and body.