Backache is medically known as lumbago. It is the disease which afflicts any region of the vertebral column or the associated muscles. Each of the 32 vertebrae can develop sudden pains which could become a chronic condition. Although we use the term backache in general, actually it is a collection of various types of pains of the vertebral column.
People find these kinds of pains to be more common as they grow older. Although there are no gender specifics, lumbago may be a bit more in men than in women.
In Ayurveda, backache is called as Nithamba Shoola. Ayurveda treats this pain as a vata disorder, which causes both the types of weaknesses, ie the bone weakness and the muscle weakness. Here when deciding on a proper treatment pattern for backache, one needs to consider the vitiation of the vata dosha.
Let us see some of the common treatment patterns used in Ayurveda for the treatment of lumbago.
(1) Use Herbs in the Treatment of Backache
1 Betel (Areca catechu)
Betel is one of the traditionally used herbs in the treatment of backache. The juice of the betel leaves is mixed with refined coconut oil. When this juice is applied on the loins, it provides relief from the mysterious pains.
2 Garlic (Allium sativum)
Among the many benefits that garlic has, an important one is relieving pains of lumbago. An extract of garlic provided to the patients provides relief from the pains without having any undesirable side effects.
3 Indian Aloe (Aloe barbadensis)
The pulp of a single leaf of aloe consumed on a daily basis provides relief from backache problems.
4 Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citrates)
Lemon grass is mixed with twice its bulk of coconut oil and applied externally on the affected regions. This eases the pains.
(2) Dietary Treatment for Backache
Since backache is a condition caused due to vata vitiation, any food that can aggravate the vata further must not be taken. Sour and fried foods must be totally avoided. Even pulses must be eliminated from the diet. Rice must be reduced; rather food grains such as wheat, millet and sorghum are better.
3 Ayurvedic Treatments for Backache
1 The Ayurvedic preparation, Prasarani, is the drug that is most commonly used for the treatment of backache. Prasarani is Paederia foetida, which is a plant species. The method of use can be either external or internal. For better effects the oil of the plant is used. Massaging with this oil about two or three times a day provides immunity relief from backache problems. Even if the pain subsides, the treatment must be continued for a month so that the pain does not recur.
2 Other oils available for massaging the affected parts are the Narayana and the Mahanarayana oils. These oils must be used for fomentation or mixed in warm water to give a hot tub bath.
(4) Home Medications
1 Mix equal proportions of limestone and honey. Apply this paste on the region where the pain is the severest.
2 Grind some sesame seeds in water. Warm this solution and apply it repeatedly on the part where it pains the most.
3 Put two teaspoonfuls of cumin seed powder in a glass of water and warm the solution. Soak a towel in this water and then use it to foment the affected parts. Relief should be obtained within a couple of hours.
4 Roast about 100 grams of fenugreek seeds. Then grind them roughly and mix in them a quarter portion of rock salt. Put two teaspoonfuls of these in hot water every morning and evening and let the fumes come in contact with the region where the pain is persistent. This treatment provides relief in fifteen days.
5 Take 1 gram of pure asafetida and mix it with egg yolk. Apply this paste on the affected spinal region. This is a quick method of getting relief from the pains, but it is a temporary method.
6 Mix two or three pieces of cardamom in warm milk. Introduce about a pinch of turmeric in it. This is to be drunk every night before going to sleep. Immense relief will be obtained in the morning.
5 Preventive Methods
1 Instead of sleeping on a soft mattress at night, use a hard mattress. If you can, sleep on the ground with the back straight; that is, with the spine touching the ground as much as possible.
2 Use ergonomic chairs in your workplace. See that the chair makes contact with the spine fully when you sit on it.
3 Do not cramp yourself in one position. Shuffle your position often. When traveling, try to get up and move about whenever you can.
4 Exercise often, but do not stretch your back. Perform gliding motions when exercising.
5 Yogic asanas that can be used to prevent lumbago pains are: