Disease Info

Back Pain

Back pain can be felt in the back and originates from the structures in the spine of a human body, e.g. joints, muscles, nerves and bones and other spinal structures.Being the most common reason for doctor’s visits, back pain, especially lower back pain, in most of cases cannot be traced to any specific pathology, there are secondary back pain cases, where the source of the pain lies in the serious disease.
One can feel the back pain anywhere from neck, upper back, to lower back and tailbone. The back pain can be felt in a different region, when it radiates to the arm, the leg and foot it can easily be mistaken for other symptoms like numbness, sudden weakness or tingling.If you experience pain for less than a month, this is called an acute pain, subacute (1-3 months) and chronic back pain (more than 3 months in duration) can be identified. The back pain can be caused by different factors, for example, infections can cause a pain, as well as certain diseases like cancer, musculoskeletal disorders (herniated discs) etc.

Main causes of the lower back pain

Most common cause of the lower back pain is the strain on backbone, which many people are suffering from due to lifting heavy objects, quick movements or poor postures. One can easily control this kind of pain by avoiding unnecessary activities.

Skeletal disorders like ostheoporosis, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, herniated disc, degenerative disc diseases can put pressure, disturb or constrict the nerves, which can lead not only to painful conditions, but also to the difficulty of movement.

So called referred back pain can be a result of infections and diseases in urinary bladder, pancreas, kidney, ovaries, pelvic region. This type of mainly lower back pain is not associated with any deformities in a spine or nerves. Conditions like kidney infections, stones in kidney, haematoma, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, uterine fibroids. Although explained by Aurveda to be mainly caused by inflammation in the body, tumours can be a cause of severe back pains, when they either originate in pelvis or spine or spread metastasis into this area. This can also result in loss of nerve and muscle function. Same loss of nerve function can be associated with such neurological disorders as Cauda Equina Syndrome, when the inter-vertebral tissue expands and pushed into spinal cord, blocking the nerves.

There are a number of uncommon back pain inducing factors: aneurysm of the aorta, shingles, infection of the bone or cartilage of the spine, infection in the pelvis, Paget’s disease of bone. The last one will cause strong pain radiating into sciatica, which originates from thickening of bone sin lumbar spine. This is the disease of unknown nature, either caused genetically or due to some viruses, which will interfere with the normal bone formation process, especially common in people of the age of over 50. Another uncommon cause of lower back pain is bleeding in the pelvis. This can be find in patients on blood-thinning medications, infectious complications of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative olitis, diverticulosis, pelvic inflammatory disease of the Fallopian tubes, appendicitis. Septic discs or osteomyelitis in the spine region can be infrequent, but result ion strong localize pain along with a fever. One of the main bacterial infection causing infection is brucellosis, which can be easily transmitted via goat’s milk.

Aneurism of the aorta found in older patients caused by weakened wall of the aorta in the abdomen, in some cases this conditions will be associated with pulsating lower back pain. The medical solution in many cases is a surgery to repair the abnormal region of the aorta. Herpes zoster or shingles very common in elderly people is an infection, localized in the nerves, which will result in rashes in one side of the body or at several spinal levels (belt-like). Patients with chickenpox at earlier age will have higher chances of acquiring this condition, as the herpes virus will stay in a dormant state in spinal nerve roots for the whole life. Before the outbreak of shingles patients can experience back pain. The postherpetic neuralgia can stay with shingles patients for a longer time.

Risk management in prevention of back pain can render positive results, when performed on time and as a routine. There are several multiple factors inducing back pain, hence more than 85% of population experiences back pain at some point of their lives sooner or later.First, ageing can trigger disc degeneration, spinal stenosis and similar disorders. In between 30 and 60 years old most humans will develop disc-related back conditions, while elderly people will have osteoarthritis induced back pain. Being a construction worker, a surgeon , a hairstylist or a nurse is one of the common risk factors in back pain conditions, due to long standing hours and lifting heavy weights with bending, as well as sitting for a prolonged periods of time can become a risk factor as well. There are cases of hereditary factors which will develop into deformed spine and degenerative disc disease. Obesity as well as the lack of exercise and wrong posture during sitting can result in back pain. Pregnant women can complain about frequent back pains, which is due to baby positioning in the abdomen and squeezing the nerves in the lumbar. Many researchers suggest that smoking habit is one of the common risk factors in back pain along with being a male, having had a back surgery, having had a compression fracture and any previous back injuries.

Upper back pain : causes

Unlike lower back pain this type is mainly due to muscular irritation of joint dysfunction. Usually no inflammation involved in upper back pain. Sudden trauma or injury or poor posture especially due to prolonged hours before computer or driving, can trigger upped back, neck and shoulders pain. Muscular irritation is mainly due to lack of strengths in large upper back muscles or overuse injuries due to repetitive motions. The numerous causes of this include muscle strains, sport injuries, car accidents and other cases of injuries. Because of its simple nature (no infection involved), Ayurvedic treatments can be very helpful in treating upper back pain, especially those involving massage techniques, stretching and strengthening exercises.Trigger points responsible for upper back pain can be localized in skeletal muscles thus can be easily worked out by professional massage procedures. Joint dysfunction occurs in the two joints that connect ribs with vertebrae on each side of it. Mobilization of joints is very responsive to Ayurvedic manipulations and this can be treated just by massage and other joint moving procedures.

How Ayurveda treats back pain

According to Ayurveda it is the vitiation of doshas that causes the back pain. For example, lower back pain or “Kateegraham” is associated with too active Vata along with the weakness of muscles and bones. As in treatment of other diseases back pain can be treated by harmonizing the balance of vata, kappha and pitta. The complex of treatments would include internal and external treatments, for example, Asthavargam should be performed internally, the aim of the complex of treatments is to purify one’s body, namely, the intestines. The patient can be asked to follow the diet and perform certain exercises to ease the pain, along with herbs and herbal oils application (in this oil massage Abhyangam or vasti (herbal enema), intake of Mahanarayana thailam can help) or oral intake (medicine like Yogarajaguggulu, Lakshadiguggulu, Triphala guggulu).Ayurveda can deal even with the ruptured or slipped discs without any surgical invasions. However, it is crucial that a patient follows the vaidya’s prescriptions thoroughly, including a strict diet. Specifically, a several month diet of baked eggplant with spices can be very helpful in eliminating toxins, which cause Vata disorder, responsible for back pains. Spices for alleviated Vata: dry ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, galangal. Ginger can be very efficient in combating pain and inflammation, as Some examples of treatment for special cases include a complex of Shamana and Shodhana for osteoarthritis and sciatica. This can be amplified by Matra vasti with sahacharadi thailam or gugguluthiktaka gritham. Pizhichil can be very helpful in severe cases of limited movement. Some ayurvedic medicine prescribed in case of back pain problems include Sahacharadi Kashayam, Hinguvacahdi Choornam Rasnadi Kashyam, Astavarga kashayam, Mahayogaraja Guggulu, Rasnadi Guggulu, Lashunadi vati, Tryodangsha Guggulu, Prasaranyadi Kashyam

A number of traditional ayurvedic remedies can provide a constant relief from the back pain. These include such a herb as Boswellia serrate (shallaki), which has been well-known in India for its anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties, as well as speeding up the formation of cartilage and better circulation, which all help healing the troubled joints. Another plant from the potato family Ashwagandha (Withania somniferum) has been used by ayurvedic doctors to treat rheumatism, immune system disorders, erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure. It can also be anti-inflammatory. Due to these characteristics it is sometimes called Indian ginseng.