You are not alone
Author: Linda Sinden Date Posted:8 August 2019
Did you know that eighty percent of people in the western world suffer from back pain at some stage in their life? And it accounts for 11 million lost working days per year. Back pain, also known as dorsalgia, is sharp pain felt in the region of the back. The pain usually originates from the surrounding nerves, muscles, bones, joints or connective tissue in or around the spinal structure.
Back pain may result from the stomach, back, a duodenal ulcer, cancer of the pancreas or aneurysm (large bubble in an artery). Pain is often lumbodorsal (lower back) and is present while moving or at rest. Other causes are spine neoplasia (cancer), infection, spondylotic (curvature of the spine) or mechanical back pain, disc lesion, arthritis, osteoporosis or osteomalacia (bone disease).
On the bright side, you can prevent most back pain. If prevention fails, there are a number of simple Ayurvedic home treatments you can do and along with proper body mechanics you will often heal your back within a few weeks and keep it functional for the long haul. Surgery is rarely needed to treat back pain.
Maharishi Ayurveda approach to back pain
When Vata dosha, which is responsible for all movement in the body, becomes congested or blocked then pain naturally arises. As Vata moves through the nerve, muscle and blood channels, if Vata is prevented for any reason from moving correctly, both Pitta and/or Kapha symptoms of imbalance can arise. This is especially true in the condition of back pain. Therefore, pain is classified by the three doshas, while bearing in mind that Vata is always implicated.
Vata-Kapha pain is dull, aching and stays localized in one place. It takes 6 to 24 hours to reach full intensity and can last for several days at a time. It peaks in the evening and morning. It tends to be located deep in the body.
Back pain can be due to stress, physical tension, injury, menstrual imbalance or inflammation. Pulse diagnosis can determine the underlying cause of back pain and the overall treatment would depend on this.
- Vata back pain is typically sharp, can throb and often migrates or changes it location with a variable level of intensity while localising more on the surface of the body. The changeable quality of Vata dosha is seen in these tendencies. In the case of Vata related pain, keeping warm, resting and doing a full body warm oil massage using sesame oil or Vata Massage Oil is key. Favour a Vata balancing diet
- Pitta back pain tends to stay in one place and is often in the middle of the body. The pain is often described as burning, intense and lancing with increased intensity being experienced over 1-2 hours and peaking around midday or midnight. It is best to avoid stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol, spicy and acidic foods. Rub ghee, coconut oil or Joint Soothe II Oil into the painful area. Favour a Pitta balancing diet
- Kapha back pain in contrast can take 6-24 hours to peak, last for several days and is often localised in one place deep in the body. It is quite common for Kapha pain to peak in the evening and morning during Kapha times of the day 6-10 am and pm. Kapha related back pain benefits most from yoga postures and gentle exercise and herbs to help reduce the build up of ama deep within the physiology. Taking Digest Tone 2 tablets prior the evening meal and 1-2 at bedtime is recommended along with the following helpful herbals. Favour a Kapha balancing diet
Helpful herbals include
- Joint Assist helps to clear toxins and supports healthy joint and muscle function.
- Apply Joint Soothe II Oil over sore area 2-3 times a day as per bottle, followed with a warm pack is often very soothing and beneficial for Vata and Kapha types of pain, while applying heat is better avoided for Pitta types of pain.
- Take 1-2 Digest Tone at bedtime to help gently cleanse impurities from the whole body, gently overtime.
Yoga postures are good for preventing back problems as well as easing the pain of existing conditions. The plough, cobra, locust and spinal twist help to relieve back tension, but should be learnt from a yoga teacher particularly if back pain already exists. Regular walking helps to keep the back muscles supple and swimming is a good non-jarring form of exercise. It is best to avoid jogging, especially on hard surfaces.
A daily oil massage is great for both preventing and relieving back pain. Abhyanga (daily oil massage) lubricates the muscles, tissues and joints and improves their flexibility. You can do self-massage before a shower in the morning. Sesame oil is suitable for most people however if inflammation is present it is best to use ghee, almond or coconut oil. The oil massage also helps to draw out impurities out of the tissues and joints which may have been contributing to the pain.
Back pain is often due to mental stress and tension so having some relaxation time is very important. Schedule regular breaks from sitting at a desk or computer. Even a short walk around the office can help ease stiffness in the back. Although a mental technique, Transcendental Meditation gives the body deep relaxation and can reduce tension and pain in the back. Consider learning more about Transcendental Meditation.
Wishing you the bliss of balance.