Back pain is a common problem today. The main culprits are stress, poor posture, unhealthy diet and lifestyle and weak digestion and muscles. Fortunately, Ayurveda offers many solutions to soothe back pain. Here are 6 things that you can do on your own to begin the healing process!
The first thing to ask yourself when you're experiencing any health problems is: how is my digestion? Gas and the consequential bloating apply pressure to the spine, which in turn can cause back ache. To help your digestion to strengthen and heal, drink fresh ginger tea or a tea made of equal part cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. Eat warm, spiced, cooked foods. Avoid most beans, raw and cold food and cold drinks.
The next thing to work on when wanting to relieve back pain is improving your posture. If you spend many hours sitting during the day at work, you may find yourself slumping and not paying attention to your body. Experiment with working at a standing desk, exercise or stretch while you are watching TV and most importantly, focus on sitting up straight in your chair. It is best to sit with your hips higher than your knees and your feet flat on the floor. Try placing a rolled towel at the back of your chair and sitting on that.
Practicing Hatha Yoga can reduce back pain. As you stretch and strengthen your muscles, you develop a good physical foundation to withstand what you ask your body to do. Cat cow, downward dog, triangle, upward dog, child’s pose, plank, pigeon, low lunge, seated or standing forward bend, and seated or supine spinal twist are particularly good for releasing stress in the spine. Be especially mindful of bending from the hips and not rounding your lower or upper back. Beginning a regular yoga practice to strengthen your muscles and improve your posture will go a long way to prevent back pain from occurring in the first place. Practice Yoga in a calm and gentle way - this is not the time to be intense or competitive in your workout.
Stress increases your chances of experiencing back pain. Meditation can help you to manage your stress and has been shown to decrease the sensation of pain. As meditation has so many health benefits, consider starting or strengthening your practice today.
Ayurvedic massage can help your back pain tremendously! Abhyanga can be a very powerful healing tool, no matter your constitution. Below are simple instructions for practicing Ayurvedic self-massage. For more detailed instructions and oil recommendations, please contact me.
Begin by applying warm, organic sesame oil to your entire body. Use Maha Narayana Oil (or Sahacharadi Oil) on any painful or inflamed areas. Maha Narayana Oil is made from a blend of sesame oil and a variety of herbs and is highly effective in soothing sore muscles.
After applying the Maha Narayana Oil, let it soak into your skin for at least a half an hour and then take a hot bath or shower. If you take a bath, add 1/3 cup of ginger powder and 1/3 cup of baking soda to the bath water to further relax and detoxify your muscles.
After your bath, keep yourself warm, cover your ears if it is windy outside and treat yourself gently for the rest of the day as you heal.
There are also many Ayurvedic herbal remedies which are effective for relieving back pain. For instance, Yogaraja Guggulu Vatika can be very useful in a general way.
However, it is best to seek the care of an Ayurvedic practitioner who can determine exactly what is out of balance in your Doshas and prescribe very specific products and dosages. A practitioner will also help you to improve your digestion, teach you stress reduction techniques and offer many therapies like abhyanga that can soothe back pain.
Most back pain is not caused by a serious medical issue. However if your pain lasts more than a few days, be sure to see a medical professional.
Thank you for reading and Namaste,
Janet Shivani Chase
- NAMA certified Ayurvedic Practitioner who has been practicing Hatha Yoga for over 40 years and Ayurveda for over 25.
One of the most senior Ayurvedic experts of our time, Padma Bushan Dr. P.K. Warrier the Managing Trustee and Medical Director of the 118-year-old Arya Vaidya Sala, Kottakkal, India talks briefly on the Ayurvedic potential for the current coronavirus pandemic.
Herbal steam inhalation is a great way to help open congested sinuses and bronchial airways caused by a cold, flu, or allergy. Herbal steams are also used before Nasya therapies to help open the nasal airway.
The steam from the boiling water is often sufficient to help congestion; however, by adding herbs that help respiratory disorders, the effect is far more notable.