Lumbago – Low Back Pain – Ayurveda

Lumbago is a seldom used term to mean mild to severe low back pain. The pain can be acute or chronic and affects young and old people.

Lumbago is a common symptom of musculoskeletal disorders or of disorders involving the lumbar vertebrae and related soft tissue structures such as muscles, ligaments, nerves and intervertebral discs. It can be either acute, sub-acute or chronic in its clinical presentation.

Years ago doctors associated lumbago with rheumatism seemingly brought on by exposure to cold damp surroundings. Poor posture, sudden movement, coughing and sneezing were also thought to inspire episodes of lumbago. Not to discredit the reputations of yesterday’s doctors, but medicine has since greatly advanced and the term lumbago has been replaced with accurate diagnostic terms.


There are many things that cause low back pain or lumbago. Listed below are some of the more common conditions

  • Herniated Disc (sometimes called a slipped disc)
  • Osteoarthritis or Spondylosis (spinal arthritis)
  • Osteoporosis (brittle bone disease, spinal fracture)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (progressive, sometimes destructive arthritis)
  • Scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine to the left or right)
  • Spinal Stenosis (compression of the spinal nerves)
  • Spinal Tumor (benign or malignant/cancer)

Symptoms of Lumbago

Listed below are common symptoms of lumbago. Keep in mind that the primary symptom is low back pain.

  • Low back pain may radiate into the buttocks, back of the thigh, into the groin.
  • Back pain (lumbago) may be aggravated during movement. Pain from bending forward, backward or side-to-side may limit activity.
  • Spinal muscle spasms cause the back to feel stiff and sore.
  • Back pain and muscle spasm can be so acute that posture is affected. The patient may appear to be listing to one side.
  • Lumbago may cause tingling sensations to be felt in the low back, buttocks, and legs.

Rarely does lumbago cause serious symptoms that require immediate medical care. However, the following warning signs are good to know:

  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Leg numbness
  • Loss of leg strength.


Conservative treatment is the most likely course of action for most patients. Treatment options include rest, Traction, Short wave diathermy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, weight control, and steroid injections in step by step order.

If a patients does not get relief after 8 to 12 weeks of conservative therapy surgical intervention is considered.

As per Ayurveda Lumbago is called as Kateeshoola, with “Kati” referring to the lower back and “Shula” referring to pain and is classified under Kateegraham or Prustashoola. Vitiated ‘Vata’ is considered to be the principle dosha involved and the treatment in Ayurveda is aimed at to bring the vitiated ‘dosha’ back to the state of equilibrium.

Treatment comprises of three approaches, Elimination (Sodhanam) of the accumulated toxic products of digestion, metabolism and the disease process, Pacification (Samanam) and correction of the entities responsible for altered functioning and Rasayanam (Rejuvenation) of the bodily tissue to regain and maintain natural strength and vitality.

The strength of Ayurveda in the area of spinal ailments is globally appreciated. Since it addresses the root cause of the issue the results are better than surgical procedures.

The therapies like Abyanga swedam, Pathrapotala swedam, Choornapinda swedam, Pizhichil, Kativasthy, Navarakizhi, Vasti (Kashaya and Anuvasana) etc. are done as per the necessity and severity of the condition. These therapies are directed towards relieving the inflammatory changes, releasing the spasms and nerve compressions in the affected area, strengthening the supportive tissues holding the spine/joints, nourishing the joints through improving the circulation. Usually the treatment period is 3 – 5 weeks according to the severity of the disease.

Apart from medical management Diet, Life style modifications and Yogasanas if required are advised according to the necessity.

In four to six weeks, the majority of patients find their symptoms are relieved without surgery. If patient can come for the treatment in early stages, even total cure without recurrence is also possible.