Low back pain (LBP) is a very common situation that affects almost 80% of the male and female population at some point in their lives and the main reason for visits to the orthopedic surgeon.
This discomfort with a focus on the lower back area can vary in intensity and duration, from feeling a dull and constant pain to a sudden and sharp sensation that can render the person incapacitated.
Back pain can be caused by a variety of problems from any part of the complex interconnected network of the spine: muscles, nerves, bones, tendons, or discs of the lumbar spine. It is basically a symptom of an underlying condition or injury.
Common Causes & Types Of Low Back Pain
1. Sprains: It is explained as the most acute back pain. They are caused by excessive stretching of the ligaments and strains, tears in the tendons or muscles.
2. Disc degeneration: It is one of the most common causes and occurs when the intervertebral discs lose their buffering capacity.
3. Herniated or broken discs: This occurs when the discs are compressed and project outward, causing great discomfort and pain.
4. Radiculopathy: It is caused by compression, inflammation, and/or injury to the spinal nerve root. Pressure on the nerve root produces pain, numbness, or tingling sensation that moves or radiates to other areas of the body that are served by that nerve.
5. Sciatica: It is a type of radiculopathy caused by compression of the sciatic nerve; the large nerve that runs through the inside of the buttocks and extends to the back of the legs.
6. Spondylolisthesis: spondylitis occurs when a vertebra in the lower spine slides out of place, pinching the nerves that leave the spine.
7. Traumatic injury: it is caused by sports, accidents, or falls that can injure the tendons, ligaments, or muscles.
8. Spinal stenosis: It is a narrowing of the spinal column that puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. It can cause pain or numbness when walking and, over time, can lead to weakness and sensory loss in the legs.
9. Skeletal irregularities: Like scoliosis, a curvature of the spine that does not usually cause pain until middle age; lordosis, an abnormally accentuated arch in the lower back; as well as other congenital anomalies of the vertebral column.
1. Infections: These are not a common cause of back pain. However, infections can cause pain when they refer to vertebrae, osteomyelitis; intervertebral discs, discitis; or to the sacroiliac joints that connect the lower spine to the pelvis, sacroiliitis.
2. Tumors: They are a relatively rare cause of back pain. Occasionally, tumors start in the back, but they often appear in this area as an evolution of cancer that has spread from any part of the body.
3. Cauda or Tail Syndrome: This is a serious but rare complication of a broken disc. It occurs when the disc material is pushed into the spinal canal and compresses the bundle of lumbar and sacral nerve roots, causing loss of bladder and bowel control.
4. Abdominal aortic aneurysms: This occurs when the large blood vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs becomes excessively dilated.
5. Kidney stones: They can cause sharp pain in the lower back, usually on one side.
- Inflammatory joint diseases such as arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as spondylitis, an inflammation of the vertebrae.
- Osteoporosis, a metabolic bone disease characterized by a progressive decrease in bone density and strength, which can lead to painful fractures of the vertebrae.
- Endometriosis, accumulation of uterine tissue in areas outside it.
- Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain syndrome that involves widespread muscle pain and fatigue.
- Acute low back pain: It often resolves in a short time. It is treated with muscle relaxants or with anti-inflammatories. The application of hot or cold compresses also helps with pain relief.
- Chronic pain: It requires a thorough diagnosis to detect its root cause and thus be able to effectively deal with it. Patients, in this case, are treated with a combination of medications, physical therapy, and incorporating changes in lifestyle.
Physical therapy for chronic low back pain generally includes regular exercise to improve physical condition and flexibility. For more severe cases, tractions, epidural injections, or even surgery recommended by the specialist can help mitigate pain.
Ayurveda treatment to relieve LBP generally depends on whether the pain is acute or chronic. To prescribe adequate therapy, Ayurveda takes into account the three constitutional components or Dohas ( Vata, Pitta, and Kapha ) of the individual body, as well as those of the world around us; each of them composed of a different combination of the five great elements: ether, air, fire, water, and earth.
We must achieve the balance of Vata (the dosha that regulates the principle of movement and, by extension, nerve impulses) which is composed of ether and air. Therefore, we will take special care in:
1. Keep us warm: One of the main qualities of Vata dosha is cold. If we listen to our bodies, when we feel sick, we want to be in our beds, comfortably. An important message of this comfort image is the heat factor. The heat is also applied to relieve pain.
2. Reduce the consumption of very spicy spices: Consuming extremely spicy spices at meals, such as red and green chilies can have a very drying effect on the body. As drying is another of the main qualities of the dosha Vata, if we increase substance drying, constipation may occur, and pain resulting from the lower back, due to the stagnation of feces in our gut.
3. Take hot food: According to the principle that what we eat acts on the doshas, the consumption of cold food and drinks causes an increase in the Vata, which leads to pain. The cold generates constriction and congestion in the body, while the appropriate amount of heat provides the extension and allows the channels (s) that are broken in the body to remain open, favoring the optimal elimination of what our body does not need. Healthy evacuation equals less pain.
4. Practice Padahastasana: Padahastasana is a great Yoga posture for low back pain because it allows Vata to flow optimally throughout the body, eliminating the constriction of the channels that carry feces that cause constipation and back pain.
5. Oil the body: Back pain always intensifies during stressful periods of our life. Ayurveda teaches how stress, overexertion, exhaustion, and fatigue increase the dosha Vata, and as its accumulation leads to premature aging, as well as involve pain in various parts of the body, especially at the base of the back.
The skin, Vata’s primary organ, can be compared to a leather bag. If this bag becomes too dry, it will crack and may even rupture completely.
The same bag, however, when greased is capable of holding. “Grease” the body with sesame oil before taking a hot shower, the skin becomes healthy and strong, preventing aging and reducing back pain.
Note: All therapies and treatments must always be prescribed and supervised by Ayurvedic doctors
Apart from Ayurvedic treatments with medication oil applications are often sufficient for back pain related to the muscles. The most severe pain that requires surgery also responds well to Ayurvedic massages and therapies such as:
- Podikkizhi: Massage based on micronized medicinal herbs
- Ilakkaizhi Kashaya Vasthi: Massage based on medicinal cooking
- Ksheera vasthi: Oil massage with shuddha bala taila
- Kativasthi: Application of a mixture of medicinal oils on the back
- Pizhichil: Pouring of medicinal oils throughout the body
- Nhavarakkizhi: Pouring of medicinal milk throughout the body
It is very important to know that all the therapies and treatments are effective for the relief of the symptoms, the strengthening, and also the prevention of back pain in the most serious cases – must always be prescribed and supervised by experienced Ayurvedic doctors.
The treatments with anti-inflammatory and preventive properties of the degeneration of the body tissues are generally made from natural products.
It can be such as dried leaves of herbs, coconut, ginger, mountain salt, and other herbal powders mixed with different oils and are applied with the hands or with different therapeutic supports, such as the pindas or sachets of cloth.
All Ayurveda treatments must be carefully personalized since the oils or other products to be used can vary according to the energy of the patient’s body.