Chronic back pain? Blame it on poor posture

Chronic back pain results from a bad posture while sitting or standing. It can also be the result of continuous hours of sitting in front of the PC, laptop, television or any other digital devices. In this article, Dr. Pathrose Parathuvayalil tell us how Ayurveda can help us overcome this disorder without surgery and antibiotics.

Spine is a strong, yet flexible structure in the human body.  It acts as the pivot to the whole body and the discs interposed between vertebrae acts as shock absorbers.  Its most important function is to protect the spinal cord that runs through the whole spinal column.

The spine has four natural curves which help to distribute mechanical stresses as the body moves.  The spinal cord is the core of the communication system between the brain and the body.

A great deal of recurring or chronic back pain arises from poor posture.  Posture that has developed over many years tend to remain fixed and alters the muscular pattern.  This results in tense muscles and may even restrict your breathing.

The common problems of the spine related to daily activities includes disc problems, muscular dysfunction, facet joint arthritis, sacroiliac arthritis and  degenerative conditions of spine leading to instability and causing neural problems of varying intensity.  These subset of spinal problems which affects the majority of the population can be very well treated based on Ayurvedic and Marma Principles with a combination of herbal medications and spinal manipulative therapies.

The medicines deal with the inflammatory part where as the spinal manipulations take care of the mechanical aspects of spine in correcting malpositioned disc, facet joints involving the whole spine.  The advantage of these manipulations in expert hands can give immediate relief from pain and rigidity of spine.

Ayurveda recognizes this cable network system of the spine. It states that if this disorder is treated at an earlier stage by properly repositioning the progression of the disc, degeneration can be minimized.

The philosophy of ayurveda lies in recognizing the spine as a whole unit.  The present standard treatment consisting of drugs, physical therapies and surgery cannot optimally treat a degenerative spine as it focus solely on relieving symptoms and not rehabilitation.  Surgical decompression of spinal cord nerve roots followed by stabilization and fusion of certain segments will certainly relieve extreme neurological symptoms but does not fully help in restoring the spinal mobility or reducing inflammation of the nerves completely.  This is because the micro circulation pores and channels which nourish the spine and its nerves can still be in a diseased condition.  That is why we came across many patients who suffer from a failed back surgery syndrome.

Moreover, the four natural curves of the spine especially the lumbar lordosis has to be maintained for a proper spino pelvic balance in sagittal and coronal plane.  Fusing more number of lumbar segments during surgery may later affect the balance of the entire spine causing junctional kyphosis (forward stoop) at thoraco lumbar junction.  Therefore, surgery is the only way to deal with certain kinds of tumours, infections and fracture of spine causing severe cord compression.

For degenerative conditions of spine which affects majority of the population ayurveda is known to work well.

The following sanskrit words of wisdom were quoted by Susrutha the great ayurveda physician in his literature as the general principle for treating spine.

“Sandheen chira vimukthamsthu

saighdha  suvinnan

Mrudu krudhan

Ukthair vidhaaniar buddhiaja

Yadhaswam sthana aanayen

Karodhi bandhana”

The underlying meaning is that a wise physician would first make the spine supple realign its connecting joints and binds up the spine to maintain its natural alignment till it becomes strong and flexible.

The above principle is followed after an accurate diagnosis of the disease stage and considering a patient’s physical constitution. The patient then undergoes ‘panchakarma therapy’ which consists of many procedures to affect his whole body and to make the spine supple and improve its nutrition.  After a two week course of treatment the spine can be easily manipulated under mild sedation and then a moulded plaster corset is bound along the entire thoraco lumbar spine up to the iliac crest.  Special care is used in plaster application to maintain lumbar lordosis and to relieve abdominal compression.  This cast is maintained for about 30 days during which the spine becomes strong and flexible again. Herbal concoctions (kashayam) are given meanwhile to relieve inflammation of nerves during this period

In my experience I have seen many patients recovering from their pain and leading a normal life following treatment.   Some basic spinal exercises, yoga and activity modification will prevent the condition from recurring.  After all we believe all diseases are healed by God and that we are mere channels of his blessings to the patient.

Dr. Pathrose Parathuvayalil

Chairman & Managing Director

Dr. Pathrose Parathuvayalil Group

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