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Article: Low Back Pain | Back Pain Supplements | Lower Back Pain Treatment

Low Back Pain

Author:

Dr. Veena Deo

Low back pain, commonly known as backache, affects 60% to 80% of people at some point in their lives. In the UK, 7% of adults seek medical advice for back pain annually. This article explores the specific causes, symptoms, and management of low back pain, as well as herbal and home remedies.

Specific Causes of Low Back Pain

  • Spondylolysis: Disintegration or dissolution of a vertebra.
  • Spondylolisthesis: Forward displacement of a lumbar vertebra, often causing nerve root compression and pain.
  • Spinal Stenosis: Narrowing of the vertebral canal.
  • Prolapsed Intervertebral Disc: Age-related reduction in proteoglycans within the nucleus pulposus, diminishing its viscoelasticity.
  • Arachnoiditis: Chronic inflammation of nerve root sheaths in the spinal canal.
  • Scheuermann’s Disease: Osteochondrosis of the vertebrae, associated with pain and kyphosis.
  • Vertebral Fracture

Common Causes

  • Lack of exercise
  • Stress and strain
  • Lifting heavy weights
  • Overweight
  • Sitting in uncomfortable postures

Types of Pain

  1. Mechanical Pain: Often affects individuals aged 22-55 years and is common among those involved in heavy lifting and twisting. Psychological factors like depression, anxiety, and job dissatisfaction can exacerbate acute low back pain.
  2. Non-Mechanical Pain: Constant and often progressive.
  3. Inflammatory Pain: Due to conditions like spondylitis, characterized by axial, symmetrical pain spreading over many segments, particularly in the thoracic region. It is associated with morning stiffness and improves with activity.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the lower back
  • Severe pain when changing posture
  • Stiffness in the back
  • Pain radiating to the buttocks or groin
  • Increased pain after movement
  • Pain triggered by lifting weights
  • Recurrent episodes of pain
  • Pain varying with physical activity

Back Pain in Women

Women frequently suffer from back pain, particularly in the lower back, sacrum, lumbar spine, and coccyx, due to various gynecological problems:

  • Uterine prolapse causing sacral back pain relieved by lying down.
  • Endometriosis of the uterosacral ligament causing back pain during menstruation.
  • Premenstrual back pain.
  • Benign and malignant ovarian tumors.
  • Advanced stage cervical carcinoma.

Orthopedic issues are also a common cause of back pain in women.

Management of Low Back Pain

  • Stay Active: Advise patients to remain active and discourage prolonged bed rest.
  • Avoid Lumbar Supports: These should not be routinely recommended.
  • Medications: Paracetamol and NSAIDs can be used for pain relief, although NSAIDs may have side effects.

Herbal Remedies

Boswellia serrata: Known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties, it inhibits leukotriene synthesis, which mediates inflammation. It also counteracts the COX enzyme, reducing prostaglandin synthesis and thereby alleviating pain.

Curcuma longa (Turmeric): Curcumin, derived from turmeric, is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, acting through multiple pathways to limit the inflammatory response in conditions like rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.

Pluchea lanceolata (Rasna): Reduces inflammation and stiffness of joints, maintaining flexibility and the health of connective tissues.

Home Remedies

  • Avoid prolonged sitting.
  • Use heat pads for fomentation.
  • Sit on firm chairs.
  • Ginger Decoction: Boil fresh ginger pieces in water until reduced by half. Take twice daily.
  • Basil Leaf Decoction: Take once daily.
  • Vitamin C-Rich Foods: Include tomatoes and strawberries in the diet.
  • Garlic Milk: Boil crushed garlic cloves in milk until reduced by half. Take twice daily.
  • Garlic Oil Massage: Boil garlic cloves in sesame oil, filter, and use for massage.
  • Avoid sedentary lifestyle and use a hard bed.
  • Proper Lifting Techniques: Bend knees when lifting objects.
  • Hot Fomentation with Rice: Apply rice cooked in milk wrapped in cloth to the affected area.
  • Ginger and Honey Drink: Boil ginger pieces in water, add honey, and take twice daily.
  • Avoid cold baths and high-heeled shoes.
  • Lemongrass and Coconut Oil: Apply externally.
  • Hot Water Towel Fomentation: Provides temporary pain relief.
  • Turmeric Paste: Apply on the affected area if inflammation is present.
  • Herbal Powder Mixture: Mix powders of Rasna, Turmeric, and Boswellia serrata and take with water twice a day.

Conclusion

While the quantities for some natural remedies are specified, it is essential to consult an Ayurvedic physician for precise dosages and professional guidance.