Lumbar Spondylosis -Ayurveda
Low back pain is a major health complaint of the elderly with an estimated 30-45% of the elderly population suffering from it. It is said that about 60-85% of the adults would have suffered low back pain during some point of their lives. But thankfully for a huge majority, the problems are mild and transient with recovery achieved in 6 weeks with medicines, rest or exercises. But chronic low back pain where the episodes prolong for more than four months is known to affect 15-45% of the population. Apart from the severity of symptoms, this puts a huge impact on their lifestyle, occupation, and finances.
Lumbar Spondylosis is a collective term to describe degenerative conditions of the intervertebral discs, body of the vertebrae and joints of the vertebrae in the lumbar or the lower back region. It differs from cervical spondylosis where the affected vertebrae are in the neck or cervical spinal region.
The effects of lumbar spondylosis are due to herniated discs, bulging discs, formation of bone spurs or arthritis of the intervertebral joints. All these conditions have the capacity to reduce the diameter of the spinal canal as well as to impinge on the spinal nerves as they exit the spinal cord. This can create a wide range of painful symptoms that can make life difficult for the sufferer.
Lumbar Spondylosis causes:
Being a degenerative disc disease, overuse or natural wear and tear of the vertebrae is known to be the prime cause for lumbar spondylosis. Some of the factors that contribute to lumbar spondylosis include ageing, genetic abnormalities, traumatic injury to the spine or the lower back, occupation that requires lifting of heavy objects frequently, occupation that requires repetitive bending of the lower back, sports and other activities that put pressure on the lower back.
Lumbar Spondylosis symptoms:
The most common symptoms of lumbar spondylosis are:
• Persistent lower back pain
• Shooting pain in the back extending to the legs
• Numbness of the legs
• Tingling sensation in the legs
• Weakness of the muscles of the legs
Modern treatment techniques for Lumbar Spondylosis:
The usual conservative approaches for lumbar spondylosis management are:
• Exercise therapy intended to strengthen the muscles and to increase mobility of the joints
• Drug therapy for pain relief
• TENS ( Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation)
• Lumbar supports, tractions, spine manipulation to ease joint movements
• Massage therapy to relax the joints
• Injection therapy to reduce the inflammation of the joints
Any or all these approaches are tried out to relieve the symptoms. Surgical approach is usually reserved only for those who don’t respond to conventional treatments because the outcome is highly debateable. The major problem in treating the disease is the identification of the cause. Also, all the treatments are general in nature.
Ayurvedic treatment for Lumbar Spondylosis:
Lumbar Spondylosis treatment in India is not confined to modern medical approaches but also extends to Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine. Ayurvedic treatment for this is available in all major ayurvedic hospitals in India.
Ayurveda has got specific treatment plans for both lumbar spondylosis as well as cervical spondylosis. Ayurveda as we know stresses on the balancing of the three doshas namely vata, pitta, and kapha into a state of equilibrium in the body. This helps to control or cure the afflictions and to improve general health of the individual by rejuvenating the body.
According to Ayurveda, spondylosis is due to the aggravation of the vata dosha and ayurvedic treatment for spondylosis aims to bring this dosha back to a state of equilibrium and thereby curing or controlling the disease. The ayurvedic approach for treating spondylosis include a combination of panchakarma treatment, other types of rejuvenation treatment, administration of internal medications and modification of diet and changes in lifestyle.
The most common ayurvedic therapies prescribed for lumbar or cervical spondylosis treatment in Ayurveda are:
• Dhanyamla dhara- fermented liquid obtained from cereals and other medicinal herbs is poured over the body of the patient in metered doses for specific duration. This therapy is very effective in controlling pain and inflammation arising due to arthritic conditions.
• Abhyanga - warm oil is applied all over the body followed by a gentle but thorough massage in various directions. It is followed by warm bath. This is a kind of rejuvenation therapy aimed at cleansing the body of toxins.
• Elakizhi- leaves of various herbs are bundled together and covered by a cloth to resemble a poultice. This is then dipped in warm oil and is applied all over the body. This treatment is very effective in controlling conditions like spondylosis.
• Sarvangadhara- medicated oil is poured all over the body and massaging is done to enable it to seep into the skin. This helps to eliminate the toxins that have accumulated in the skin resulting in the rejuvenation of the body.
• Vasti involves pouring of medicated oil into specific areas of the body where it is retained by using specific mechanisms. The retention of the oil in that particular region for a stipulated time helps to improve the mobility and provides relief from pain.
• Navarakizhi- It is similar to elakizhi but instead of herbs a variety of rice called navara is used to make the poultice. This is very effective in controlling the disorders of the body due to the aggravation of the vata.
• Kati Vasti - Kati vasti involves retention of medicated oil in the lower back region for a stipulated time. Wet and thick dough of black gram is usually used in demarcating the area in which the oil needs to be pooled.
Internal ayurvedic medicine for cervical spondylosis and lumbar spondylosis include Yogaraja Guggal, Rasnairandadi kashaya, Ksheerabala, Trayodashanaga Guggulu, Dashamoola rasayana etc. External application of ayurvedic medicine for spondylosis includes Sahacharadi tailam, Bala tailam, Vishagarbha tailam, mahanarayana tailam etc. The treatment duration in Ayurveda for lumbar or cervical spondylosis can range from 3-6 weeks depending upon the condition of the patient. Those who are ready to abide by the principles of Ayurveda and ready to follow the advices of ayurvedic physicians to the fullest will definitely benefit from undergoing the treatment.