Lumbar Spondylosis and Natural Treatment

PE-Spond_Figure2Ayurveda and yoga can help alleviate the pain associated with lumbar spondylosis and eventually cure you of this debilitating ailment.

 

But,  first let’s understand what Lumbar Spondylosis is.

Lumbar Spondylosis

Lumbar region is the lower back region of the spine and lumbar spondylosis is the disorder of this region as a result of the degeneration of the vertebrae of this area. This is also quite common as the lumbar region suffers most during the life of a person. It is the main load bearing point of the body as well as the portion which experiences maximum twisting and bending. So it is quite natural that this portion will get affected mostly in case of spondylosis.

A form of lumbar spondylosis is spondylosis of the L5 vertebra or at the L5 vertebra. This is degeneration that takes place at the point where the lumbar spine or the back spine joins the tail bone. This condition may not be serious in itself but it gives rise to various other conditions that can be painful.

Approximately 60–85% of adults suffer from low back ache during some point in their lives. Among musculoskeletal disorders in India, the prevalent morbidity of lumbar spondylosis is 4.16%.

Causes of Lumbar Spondylosis

  • Aging – As the human body ages, spinal disc and cartilage deteriorate decreasing the amount of space present between each vertebra. Nerve exposure can lead to nerve inflammation or irritation.
  • Genetic abnormalities – Due to genetic abnormality there may be thin and weak vertebra, making them more susceptible to lumbar spondylosis.

 

  • Injury  – Injury to the spine, may be due to a fall or an accident, leads to dislodgement of the vertebral disc causing lumbar spondylosis.

 

  • Overuse – Repetitive stress or strain due to heavy weight lifting, sports or physical exertion can result in vertebral injury such as fracture or slip disc, which precipitates lumbar spondylosis.

 

  • Abnormal spinal movement  – Increased abnormal spinal movement leads to development of bony spurs, known as Osteophytes. These spurs pinch the nerves causing nerve irritation.

 

  • Other causes – includes prolonged sitting in front of computer in abnormal position, increased two-wheeler driving and travelling.

Signs and Symptoms of Lumbar Spondylosis

  • Pain and stiff back in the morning
  • Sitting for a long time increases pain
  • Pain gets worse with repeated movements, such as lifting and bending
  • Variation in sensation, may be numbness and tingling sensation
  • Radiating pain from lower back to legs
  • Loss of balance and
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control, occurs only in very advanced stage.

Diagnosis of Lumbar Spondylosis

By physical examination, X-ray or CT scan or MRI your doctor will diagnose Lumbar spondylosis.

Management of Lumbar Spondylosis:

  • Bed Rest: Severe cases of spondylosis may require bed rest for no more than 1-3 days.
  • Braces or Belt Use: Temporary bracing (1 week) may help relieve symptoms.
  • Lifestyle Modification: Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight, eating nutritious foods, regular exercise, and not smoking are important.
  • Muscle Relaxants: Muscle relaxant medication helps to alleviate muscle spasm and pain.
  • Narcotics: Narcotics (opioids) may be prescribed for short periods of time to reduce acute pain.
  • NSAIDs: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) relieve inflammation that often contributes to pain.
  • Physical therapy: Helps to strengthen the muscles, increases flexibility and range of motion.
  • Spinal Injections: There are many types of spinal injections including epidural steroid injections and facet joint injections. These injections combine a local anesthetic and steroid medication to reduce inflamed nerve tissues and thereby often help to reduce pain.
  • Surgical procedure: includes laminectomy (small portion of the bone compressing the nerve is removed) and spinal fusion.

Limitations of Modern Treatment

  • Long-term bed rest is avoided as it puts patient at risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT, blood clots in the legs).
  • Prolonged use of braces is discouraged. Braces worn long-term weaken the spinal muscles and can increase pain if not constantly worn.
  • NSAIDs cause adverse effects such as gastritis, renal toxicity, hypertension, liver abnormalities, and bleeding.
  • Opioids may lead to addiction and mood disorders.
  • Muscle relaxants are sedatives that can make you feel dizzy and drowsy.
  • Spinal injections have potential side effects of steroids. Moreover it only manages the pain, does not cure lumbar spondylosis.
  • Surgical procedure are costly. There are numerous risks and possible complications with surgery. Even after surgery there may be continued pain, nerve damage and degeneration of adjacent segment may occur.

Treatment Modalities According to Ayurveda

In Ayurveda, Lumbar spondylosis is termed as kati shoola or kati graha or prushta or trika shoola. It is mainly caused due to vitiation of Vata dosha.

The aim of treatment is to rehydrate the dehydrated disc, reduce pain, inflammation and muscle spasm. Also to strengthen the muscles and nerve roots.

Internal Medicines

  • Yogaraja guggulu, Maha Yogaraja guggulu,Trayodashang guggulu, Simhanada guggulu, vatari guggulu, Dhanvantara vati – Relieves pain and inflammation.
  • Gandha taila, ksheerabala 101, Dhanwantharam 101, Guggulu tiktaka ghrita – Hydrates and rejuvenates the disc and joints.
  • Rasna saptaka kashayam, Maharasnadi kashayam, Dhanwantharam kashayam, Sahacharadi kashayam, Astavarga kashayam, Dashamoola kashayam – Pacifies the vitiated vata and kapha.
  • Lakshadi guggulu, Kukkutandatvak bhasma, pravala and mukta pishti – Strengthens the bone.
  • Narayana taila, Murivenna, Kottamchukkadi taila, Karpuradi taila, Ksheerabala taila, Dhanvantara taila – Used for abhyanga which improves blood circulation, strengthens the muscles and alleviates the vitiated vata dosha.
  • Ashwagandharishta and Balarishta to strengthen the nerve roots.
  • Ashwagandha, bala, dashamool and lasuna ksheera paka – Rejuvenates the disc, vertebra and joints.

External Treatment Modalities

Abhyanga – Full body and localised massage. It tones up the muscles and improves blood circulation.Stretching technique followed during massage acts as traction and helps to reduce stenosis by increasing intervertebral space. Thus reduces the nerve irritation.

Swedana – Fomentation by patra pinda sveda, Bashpa sweda, nadi sweda or churna pinda sweda. Sudation reduces pain,stiffness in ligaments, muscle spasm and improves blood circulation.

Kati vasti – Retention of oil on lower back, Which helps in replacement of hydration in the affected disc.

Vasti – Medicated oil and decoction enemas. Through vasti the medicine reaches the large intestine, where the essential nutrients for the bones and joints are absorbed and also reduces the bulging of intervertebral disc.  According to Ayurveda large intestine is considered as Vata stana, hence vasti plays a very major role to control the vitiated vata in lumbar spondylosis

Upanaha or Lepa  – Local application of medicated paste or poultice, to relieve pain, stiffness and numbness.It also retains warmness around the affected area, and sustains good circulation.

 

All these treatments must be done for minimum 7 days and may extend up to 14-21 days depending upon the severity.

Do’s

  • Maintain proper sitting posture while working on computer and laptops.
  • Sleep in a comfortable position avoiding strain on the lower back.
  • Avoid unnecessary travelling and minimise driving. Go for car pooling.
  • Regularly do smooth massaging without putting pressure with appropriate medicated oil, under the guidance of an ayurvedic doctor.
  • Attend physiotherapy classes.
  • Practise Isometric exercises to strengthen the muscles.
  • Do yoga and pranayama to reduce weight and stress.  But if you are in acute stage of spondylosis avoid yogasana. After complete recovery from pain, you can gradually start exercise and yoga.
  • Avoid foods which causes gaseous distension of the abdomen like potatoes, legumes, bread, pizza and other junk foods.

Don’ts: 

  • Travelling in bumpy roads should be avoided
  • proper and full back support should be avoided
  • straining, lifting heavy weights
  • pressure jobs should be avoided
  • Proper posture has to be maintained.
1.Yogasanas beneficial in cervical spondylosis:

– Ardhakati chakrasana

– Ardha chakrasana

– Pada hastasana

– Matsyasana

– Vakrasana (sitting in a chair)

– Ustrasana

– Savasana and

– Viparitakarani with wall support.

– Cobra Pose

-Cat and Cow

– Setubandhasana

-Pavanamuktha Asana

– Bhujanga Asana

– Salabha Asana

– Uttanpada Asana

– SHAVASANA

2. Pranayama :

Rechka Purak 

3. Physical therapy measures can be adopted suitably.

*** Ref: many medical and Ayurveda studies, internet etc.

 

Advertisements

The Shunya Mudra or Sky Mudra

The word Shunya means zero or sky in Sanskrit. This Shunya Mudra or Sky Mudra is supposed to work on the basic element of ether that permeates all space.

Shunya-Mudra
Shunya Mudra or Sky Mudra

Steps:

  1. Bend the middle finger so that its tip rests on the mound of your thumb.
  2. Bend your thumb until it presses lightly on the middle finger. All other fingers should point straight up to the sky.
  3. Keep the middle finger at the mount of Venus and press it with the thumb.
  4. This Mudra can be performed for 45 minutes every day or can be performed in three sessions of 15 minutes each.
  5. The Shunya Mudra is usually performed with both hands.

Time Duration: One can practice it for 40 to 60 minutes daily until to be cured from the disease.
Benefits:

  • It relieves an earache within 4 or 5 minutes.
  • It is useful for the deaf and mentally challenged, but not for inborn ones.
  • It reduces the dullness in our body.
  • Cures mental illness (if not inborn )

The Gyan Mudra steps and Benefits

DSC_0709.jpg
Gyan  or Chin Mudra 

The word Gyan means wisdom in Sanskrit. Thus, practicing the Gyan Mudra is believed to help instill wisdom and spiritual enlightenment.

This is why the Gyan Mudra is widely used in many yogic meditation poses such as Pranayama. The Gyan Mudra is also known as the Chin Mudra.

Steps of doing Gyan Mudra :

The Gyan Mudra should ideally be performed along with meditation asanas and Pranayama. Here are the steps of Gyan Mudra:

  1. Sit down in a meditative pose such as the Sukha Asana (Easy Pose), Vajra Asana (Diamond Pose), or Padma Asana (Lotus Pose). You may even perform the Gyan Mura while standing in the Tada Asana (Mountain Pose) or sitting comfortably on a chair.
  2. Ensure that your back is held straight and your chest and head held up high.
  3. Rest your hands on your knees with your palms facing upwards.
  4. Touch the tip of the index finger to the tip of the thumb.
  5.  The rest of the finger should be held straight and parallel to each other. This Mudra is performed with both hands.
  6.  Close your eyes and focus on your breath.
  7.  

     

    To further enhance the effectiveness of the Gyan Mudra, you may chant the word Om (Aum) in conjunction with every exhale.

 

 Benefits: Effective in cases of mental ailment, imparts happiness, the intellect develops, memory is sharpened. It also helps to relieve stress and transcend worldly problems.

Mudra Science : Hand Alignments for Holistic Health

images
Sadhu is showing Gyana(Wisdom) Mudra 

Believe that your health is in your hands!

Our hands are particularly blessed with virtues of wellness. The four fingers and the thumb represent the five major building blocks or the ‘Panchamahabhootas’ of which the entire universe is made viz. Sky (Ether), Air, Fire, Water and Earth.

According to natural sciences, disease is nothing but a limitation that emerges in the continuity and balance of these five elements.

Philosophy of Mudra Therapy

The natural sciences of Mudra therapy believe that the five fingers correspond to the five basic elements viz. Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth.

  • Thumb – The fire (Agni)
  • Index finger – The air (Vayu)
  • Middle finger – The ether (Aakasha)
  • Ring finger – The earth (Prithvi)
  • Small finger – The water (Jala)

In order to bring back the balance in the five elements, there are some specific methods of touching and aligning the fingers with each other. These are referred to as ‘Hast-Mudras’ and this easy and doable therapy may be practiced anytime as an augmented relief from your malady as well as a handy tool for restoring your wellness.

Learn various Mudras in my next write up:

The Concept of Self in Ayurveda

The Self, as this inner dimension of our nature is called in Ayurveda, is the central point of our being, the hub of the wheel. It is the true inner center of our diversified lives. Thought, feelings, speech, action, and relationships all originate here, deep within the personality. The whole person-and the whole field of interpersonal behavior-can be spontaneously enhanced by the process of self-referral, or looking within to experience the Self. This is analogous to the natural process by which all the branches, leaves, flowers, and fruit of a tree can be simultaneously nourished and enlivened by watering the root.

The Self can be directly experienced. Those who do experience it find it to be deeply peaceful, yet a reservoir of creativity, intelligence, and happiness that spills over into all phases of living.

https://herencyclopedia.com/2016/06/12/the-five-great-elements/

The Five Great Elements

Ayurveda believes that everything in this universe is made up of five great elements.These are earth, water, fire, air, and ether.

Earth represents the solid state of matter. It manifests stability, permanence, and rigidity. In our body, the parts such as bones, teeth, cells, and tissues are manifestations of the earth. Earth is considered a stable substance.

Water characterizes change and represents the liquid state. Water is necessary for the survival of all living things. A large part of the human body is made up of water. Our blood, lymph, and other fluids move between our cells and through our vessels, bringing energy, carrying away wastes, regulating temperature, bringing disease fighters, and carrying hormonal information from one area to another. Water is a substance without stability.

Fire is the power to transform solids into liquids, to gas, and back again. In other words, it possess power to transform the state of any substance. Within our bodies, the fire or energy binds the atoms together. It also converts food to fat (stored energy) and muscle. Fire transforms food into energy. It creates the impulses of nervous reactions, our feelings, and even our thought processes. Fire is considered a form without substance.

Air is the gaseous form of matter which is mobile and dynamic. Within the body, air (oxygen) is the basis for all energy transfer reactions. It is a key element required for fire to burn. Air is existence without form.

Ether is the space in which everything happens. It is the field that is simultaneously the source of all matter and the space in which it exists. Ether is only the distances which separate matter. The chief characteristic of ether is sound. Here sound represents the entire spectrum of vibration.

Every substance in our world is made up of these five substances. All substances can be classified according to their predominant element. For example, a mountain is predominantly made up of earth element. A mountain also contain water, fire, air and ether. But these elements are very small compared to the earth. So, its classification is the earth.

Ayurveda defines a human as the assemblage of the five great elements plus the “immaterial self.”