Back Pain (Low Back Pain) is pain felt in the lower back that usually originates from the muscles, nerves, bones, joints or other structures in the spine. It is a common complaint. Most people will experience low back pain at least once during their lives. Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work.
Men and women are equally affected. It occurs most often between ages 30 and 50, due in part to the aging process but also as a result of sedentary life styles with too little (sometimes punctuated by too much) exercise. The risk of experiencing low back pain from disc disease or spinal degeneration increases with age.
Back pain may have a sudden onset or can be a chronic pain; it can be constant or intermittent, stay in one place or radiate to other areas. It may be a dull ache, or a sharp or piercing or burning sensation. The pain may radiate into the legs or feet, and may include symptoms other than pain. These symptoms may include tingling, weakness or numbness.
Acute or short-term low back pain generally lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Most acute back pain is mechanical in nature — the result of trauma to the lower back or a disorder such as arthritis. Pain from trauma may be caused by a sports injury, work around the house or in the garden, or a sudden jolt such as a car accident or other stress on spinal bones and tissues. Symptoms may range from muscle ache to shooting or stabbing pain, limited flexibility and/or range of motion, or an inability to stand straight. Occasionally, pain felt in one part of the body may “radiate” from a disorder or injury elsewhere in the body. Some acute pain syndromes can become more serious if left untreated.
Chronic back pain is measured by duration — pain that persists for more than 3 months is considered chronic. It is often progressive and the cause can be difficult to determine.
Ayurveda Management of Backpain
Ayurveda refers this condition as ‘Kati shoola’. Kati refers to ‘low back’ (hip) and shoola refers ‘pain’. Kati vata or Prishta shoola or Kati graha or Trika shoola or Trika graha are other names or conditions mentioned in the classics. Vata is the predominant dosha causing these conditions and are categorized under Vataja nantmaja vyadhis.
Vata, one among the tripod of human living being is said to be superior most in all aspects, for every guna, lakshana, kriya (properties and actions), health benefits and the strongest in its ability to produce diseases and worst mortality.
Diseases related to Vata are innumerable and presentation of it is in the whole body. Even though a large number of symptoms suggest the abnormality of Vata, the cardinal symptom of vitiation of this dosha is ‘pain’ which is known as Shoola in Ayurveda. This pain is universally understood as a marker of the disease and it is the most common symptom that makes a person to seek the physician’s advice.
At CHARAKA, the treatment for Back pain or Kati shoola will be planned according to the presentation of the dosha predominance and underlying cause. Treatment may include Panchakarma therapies for Shodhana, internal medicines, external applications and advise on diet and life style modification.
Therapies like Abyanga sweda, Dhanyamla dhara, Snehapana, Vamana, Podikizhi, Elakizhi, Pizhichil, Vasti, Navarakizhi, Kati vasti, Pichu etc. are done according to the severity and nature of the disease. Therapies may range between 3 – 6 weeks and can expect maximum recovery with in this period. Duration may vary further based on the underlying cause.