Joint Pain & Spine Problems

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Spine Problems

Theory of Evolution says, the present modern man have his ancestors in the species of Apes. The ability to stand straight on two legs differentiated him from his primordial ancestors giving him freedom to use his hands for more intricate functions. The spine, by performing as his major axis had also given him the luxury of making complex movements possible for him.

Many of the ailments associated to spine are mainly owing to the present way of life and man's lack of exercise. Extensive studies are done to unearth the cause and cure for these, but the prevalence of spinal disorders are alarming.

Today, a large population of the modern world faces the nemesis of back pain in its variant forms. Many of these ailments are getting neglected as minor complaints and do not even require a visit to the Medical Doctor, whereas many others will stretch the affected to the extent of crippling him.

The search for an answer in this regard usually leads one to take many medications which relieve the pain, but does not provide any sort of cure for the problem as such. Otherwise he will have to opt for surgical options, which may in turn open up a plethora of complications. Adding to these are the mental strain and the financial burden afflicted on him, especially when surgical interventions are required.

All these direct us to the need for a serious approach towards a treatment protocol which gives relief and that too, if possible, in a non-surgical way, which will then become the greatest boon to the ailing humanity.


Causes

The malady for spine can vary from a general low back ache to a neoplasm which may be incurable. The causes for these can also be of a broader spectrum from a minor twist or turn to a major accident. These causes play a pivotal role in determining the strength of the disease, the duration of treatment or even the survival of the patient. Some of the common causes are:

  • Age
  • Habits
  • Genetic
  • Postoperative Complication
  • Way Of Living
  • Neoplasm
  • Trauma
  • Congenital
  • Deformities
  • Pregnancy
  • Diseases
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Ailments of Backpain

The spine is a complex network of interconnecting bones, nerves, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments. This allows it the freedom to get engaged in different functions especially the movements of the body. An abnormality or malfunction of any of these can cause pain. These pain are not only limited to its site of origin, but the nerves which originate in the spine and supply to the other parts of the body can make pain radiate to other areas.

Few of the common ailments which compel many, to frequent a physician or hospital are

  • Spondylosis
  • Cervical reticulopathy
  • Dehydrated disc
  • Lumbago
  • Ankylosing spondylosis
  • Deganerative disc
  • Disc prolapse
  • Spinal canal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Sciatica
  • Osteoarthritis of spine
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Anatomy & Physiology of Back

Everything you do during the day, once you stand upright, begins to test the spine's ability to support your body weight. Over time these repeated daily stresses and minor injuries could add up and begin to affect the discs in your spine.

Anatomically, the backbone or spinal column is a collection of bones that form the axial skeleton and that bond the skull to the pelvis. This sturdy, yet flexible componant provides support for the trunk as well as the delicate spinal cord housed within it.

The shape of an adult spine looks like an inverted double `S’. The thoracic and sacral regions are concave anteriorly, while the cervical and lumbar regions are concave posteriorly. This unique shape of the spine allows it to support the weight of the human body.

The spine consists of 33 vertebrae vertically linked to each other and separated by inter vertebral disc filled with a jelly-like substance, which also functions as a shock absorber. Further stabilized by ligaments, it allows movements between the bones of the spine.

These joints encloses a canal right through them and the tender spinal cord arising from the brain stem runs through this space and extends to the lumbar region of the spine.

Spinal cord has 31 pairs of spinal nerves leaving the respective vertebrae as :

  • 7 Cervical vertibrae - 8 pair of spinal nerves
  • 12 Thoracic vertibrae - 12 pair of spinal nerves
  • 5 Lumbar vertibrae - 5 pair of spinal nerves
  • 5 Sacral vertibrae - 1 pair of spinal nerves
  • 4 Coccygeal vertibrae - 5 pair of spinal nerves

A trauma or injury can cause a protruded or herniated disc or a ruptured disc, from the spinal column, which in turn press the branching nerves. Millions of nerve fibers extend from the brain into the arms, legs and other parts of the body through the branches of spinal cord, to send messages to the muscles or skin.

Pressure on a nerve can be extremely painful, and because these nerves pass through to other parts of the body, pain, tingling or numbness can be felt in other parts of the body which is also termed as Referred Pain.

Spinal Anatomy

Back and neck Pain is the price human beings pay for poor posture, prolonged sitting, repeated bending, and other stresses placed on the lower back and neck.

Disks are soft, rubbery pads, which act as shock absorbers between the hard bones (vertebrae) of the spinal column. The disks between the vertebrae allow the back to flex or bend. Disks in the lumbar spine (low back) are composed of a thick outer ring of cartilage (annulus) and an inner gel-like substance (nucleus). In the cervical spine (neck), the disks are similar but smaller in size.

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The annulus can become stressed and with time,small tears can form in the annulus.This outer ring normally keeps the soft, gel-like center of the disc contained.The gel center, known as the nucleus, can be ejected from the disc through an annular tear. This is called a disc herniation. Protrusion of the nucleus posteriorly causes pressure over the nerve roots, spinal cord & other internal contents, which is responsible for pain in the limbs, motor & sensory deficit.

Millions of nerve fibres leave the spinal cord and branch outward to other parts of of the body such as muscles and skin.

Pressure on a nerve can be extremely painful, and because these nerves pass through to other parts of the body, pain, tingling or numbness can be felt in other parts of the body which is also termed as Referred Pain.

A strained nerve by a herniated disc or bone spurs due to a spinal arthritis reduce or blocks the flow inside causing the nerve start to lose its healthy ability to transmit electrical charges and the nerve fiber may die. When more fibers stop working, a muscle may not contract and skin may feel numb. Movements may result in low back pain and also feel like the pain is coming from the buttocks area and even down into the upper region of the thigh.

Sometimes, nerves can be strained and the only symptoms may be numbness and weakness in the arm or leg without pain. Other symptoms include tingling, burning, electric, and a hot/cold sensation.

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Stages of Disc Herniation

  • Disc Degeneration

    Chemical changes associated with aging causes discs to weaken, but without a herniation.

  • Prolapse

    The form or position of the disc changes with some slight impingement into the spinal canal. Also called a bulge or protrusion.

  • Extrusion

    The gel-like nucleus pulposes breaks through the tire-like wall (annulus fibrosus) but remains within the disc.

  • Sequestration or Sequestered Disc

    The nucleus pulposus breaks through the annulus fibrosus and lies outside the disc in the spinal canal (HNP).

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Symptoms of a Strained Nerve
For example:
  • 1. Cervical Spondylosis
    • Pain that comes and goes
    • Pain that spreads into your shoulders, arms, hands, or fingers
    • Morning neck or shoulder stiffness or a limited range of motion after getting out of bed
    • Neck or shoulder tenderness or numbness
    • Weakness or tingling in your neck, shoulders, arms, hands, or fingers
    • Headache in the back of your head
    • Loss of balance
    • Difficulty swallowing (This is rare, but it may occur if the spinal cord is compressed.)

  • 2. Sciatica

    Sciatica is a pain that radiates from your back to buttocks and down the legs to the feet. For patients with this condition, forward movements of the spine, posture, coughing, sneezing, and all movement can influence pain coming from the spine. Patients may experience numbness, tingling, burning, or a pins-and-needles type sensation in the legs.

Ayurvedic view

According to Ayurveda, bones and thighs are mainly occupied by Vata (Vishesh stanam vatasya). Vata controls and directs the body movements. Spine problems occurs when vata in this region gets aggravated due to unwise physical activities (mithya yoga of karma), exaggerated physical activities (Ati yoga of karma) or less physical activities (hina yoga of karma).

  • Backache usually arises from spasm of muscles that support our spine. The muscles supporting spine go into spasm when we lift things unwisely, bending over too sharply, sitting in a unsuitable chair, etc. These type of movements are called as "Mithyaa yoga of karma or action" in Ayurveda.
  • Back pain can be triggered when we sneeze, climb into a car, or bend down to pick up the newspaper.
  • Osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, viral infection, bladder or kidney infection, gynecological problems in women, tumors and trauma may also cause back pain.
  • Lack of motion or hina yoga of karma and bad posture may affect us when we sit or stand for long periods of time. On the other hand repetitive motion or Ati yoga of karma like too much of bending, lifting or twisting also affects our back.
  • Other potential causes for back ache are: Overweight, Wearing high heeled shoes, Carrying heavy weight.

Ayurveda holds that Spine problem is a result of vitiation of one of the three principal 'doshas' that is ‘Vata’. 'Kateegraham' / 'Prishtasoola' or low back pain,Gridhrasi (Sciatica) etc are an indication of Vata aggravation and bone and muscle weakness.

Why Ayurvedic Treatment ?

The Spine Care is an ancient Ayurvedic therapy based on the Ayurvedic principles. This natural healing therapy deals with proper spine care and its nerves, muscles, joints and blood & lymphatic channels. Authorities in the field believe that the body is co-ordinate by three different humors or energy forces i.e.; Vata, pitta and kapha. This therapy helps in restoring and balancing the energy forces of the body that regulates the physiology

The strength of Ayurveda in the area of spine and joint treatment is globally appreciated. Since it addresses the root cause of the issue the results are fantastic

Ayurveda, the holistic health science, with its wide range of treatments including the panchakarmas, internal medications along with exercise and life style modifications incorporating with the other systems like Yoga definitely opens up a way of hope for the ailing humanity. The modern treatment especially the surgical procedures are many a times causes many number of side effects, not forgetting the huge financial burden for the patients.

As we all know "AYURVEDA" is a very true ancient science, taking advantage of its authenticity we made a very unique combination of this ancient tradition with new technology and made Ayurveda more effective, fast acting and user friendly. As we know old drug administration methods may be bitter, time scheduled or difficult to handle during travel and fast life, by accepting some new scientific and advanced technology-- our experts have developed new formation of drugs which are very simple, easy to consume i.e. in forms of extraction combinations, in form of tablets which are very potent and safe.

Spine Problems Treatment
  • 1) Panchakarma treatments

    A purifying therapy to facilitate the metabolic process through food and herbal medicines. The Treatment usually involves a series of ABHYANGAM, SWEDAM, NASYA, PATRA-POTTALI-SWED, SHASHTIC SHALI-PIND-SWED, KATI BASTHI, KASHAYA BASTHI & ANUVASANA BASTHI etc.

  • 2) Internal medications
    • Marma chikitsa, Vatahara chikitsa, Brumhana chikitsa.
    • Rasayana therapy - To nourish the body, boost immunity, and help to resolve specific conditions.
    • Herbal preparations - Yograj guggulu, Mahayograj guggulu, Sinhanad Guggulu, Maharasnadi Kwath, Dashmularishta, Punarnavasav etc.
  • 3) Yoga

    The source of the pain is due most often to pushing oneself beyond physical or emotional capacity. The spine needs stability and, therefore, the mind must first be steady. So, the first step is to learn to relax the mind and focus on the specific areas of back painwith the help of Pranayam & Yoga.

    Asanas: to support and strengthen the spine –Tadasana, Bhujangasana, Sarpasana, Shavasana etc.

  • 4) Life-style Modifications
    • Keep the muscles well conditioned by improving sitting, standing, stretching postures. Well-conditioned muscles are less susceptible to injury.
    • Never bend at the waist or stoop to pick up an object. Instead, lower the body to the level of the object by bending the knees. Grasp the item, hold it close to the body, and raise yourself with your legs while keeping your back straight.
    • Do not lift very heavy objects.
    • Whenever possible, prop yourself up.
    • Lean against a wall or pillar while waiting for a bus or standing in line at the bank.
    • Sleep on a firm mattress and find a comfortable position.
    • Wear low-heeled shoes.
    • Standing straight will do wonders for your back.
    • Sit on a comfortable chair that supports the curve of lower back.
    • While sitting for long hours rest feet on a low stool so that knees are above hips.<
    • Do not sit or stand in one position for a very long time. Get up periodically and walk for a while.
    • Avoid activities which hurt back.
    • Do not sit in same position for long hours. It may prove hazardous to back. Take break in between and move around.
    • Avoid becoming overweight. Overweight increases the risk of back pain.
    • Increased stress and strain enhances the chances of back pain. Hence remember to relax! Yoga and meditation are best techniques to relax.

Joint Care

According to Ayurveda mostly Joint & Muscle pains are caused by the aggravation of vata dosha. It is a condition which is caused by accumulation of Ama and aggravation of Vata. (Ama is a toxic by-product of improper digestion). This Ama circulates in the whole body and deposits or gets collected at the sites which are weaker. When it deposits in the joints and at the same time there is aggravation of Vata, it results in joint-disease.

Symptoms
  • The main symptom of this disease is severe pain in the affected joints. The tissues in and around the joints become inflamed and movement of the joint becomes extremely painful. Untreated arthritis may lead to permanent deformity of the affected joints.
  • Fever in case of infections
  • Immense pain & stiffness in affected muscles, specially stiffness and pain (i.e., fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, ankles) in the morning.
  • Excruciating pain and stiffness in the joints
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Root Causes

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Joint pain as a symptom. There are likely to be other possible causes.

  • Wear-and-tear, such as from

    1. Joint overuse
    2. Joint strain
    3. Joint sprain
    4. Joint injury
    5. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, or joint inflammation

  • Gout and Pseudogout

    Conditions that affect metabolism. These conditions result from materials being deposited into the joints.

  • Infections of the joint

    many infections cause aching joints and aching muscles

    1. Viral infection - Common cold
    2. Flu
    3. Bacterial infection

  • Autoimmune disorders

    In which a person's body produces antibodies against its own tissues. These disorders include Rheumatoid Arthritis and Systemic Lupus Erythematus.


Pathophysiology

Causes include both internal and external factors. Ama associated with Vata quickly moves to different parts of the body and accumulates where circulation is sluggish or slow such as the hands, knees and other bone joint. It is also more common in old age when Vata naturally increases in the body. Meat diet, foods such as ice cream, to much concentrated dairy products such as aged cheese or goods of sour cream or cheese with your meals, cold foods especially during cold weather which vitiates Vata, heavy cakes, pastries and candies, packaged and processed foods with little fiber are the main dietary causes. Gas producing vegetables and legumes also create more internal air which moves the toxins to different parts also the condition. This ama blocks tissue pores and passages. This causes heaviness and weakness of the heart which becomes the seat of the disease.

Types Of Pain


  • Vata type:

    Most common type. Severe, throbbing and cutting pain that is variable and migrating. This becomes worse in cold weather or when cold water comes in contact with the affected joints.

    Other symptoms include dry or scaly skin, stiff or cracking joints, bone deformities, gas, abdominal distension, low back pain, nervousness, fear, anxiety and insomnia.

    The pain is relieved by heat. Constipation is usually a symptom. Body types will usually be thin. Best to live in a tropical climate and follow a Vata diet.

  • Pitta type:

    Second common. There will be a burning sensation with redness and inflammation which becomes worse in hot weather or from hot water. Diarrhea, loose stool, anger, sweating, fever, irritability are usually present. With Pitta type it is recommended to use bitter herbs along with the Guggulu.

  • Kapha type:

    Least common. There will be itching, swelling or loss of movement and edema without inflammation around the joints. It becomes worse in cold, damp or wet weather. Other symptoms may be heaviness, aches, oily skin, congestion or mucus in the stool. Pain is relieved by heat or hot-dry weather. Best to live in a hot-dry climate and follow a Kapha diet.

Useful Herbs : for example
  • Guggulu (Commiphora mukul gum)

    It is the most effective herb used in the Ayurvedic treatment of arthritis. Guggulu has strong rejuvenating, purifying, medicinal and healing qualities. Guggulu is perhaps used more than any other herb in Ayurveda. Vata (under-weight) and Kapha (obese) types benefit the most from this herb. Guggulu increases the white blood cell count, dis-infects secretions in the body. Guggulu has been used extensively for similar health disorders such as rheumatism, gout and lumbago

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  • Rasna (Vanda roxburghii):

    The root of the plant is found Effective in inflammations, rheumatic disorders, osteoarthritis and allied disorders. It has been used for indigestion also.

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  • Lohsun / Garlic (Allium sativum) :

    Garlic has been demonstrated as effective for high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and as an anti-infection agent. It has more recently been found to be effective against rheumatoid arthritis. It may used singularly or in combination with the usual medications.

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  • Diet :
    • Avoid curd & all sour items pulses (except moong dal), rice, meat, fish, white bread, sugar, refined cereals, fried foods, tea or coffee.
    • Have potato & lemon juice
    • Celery seeds, bitter gourd are highly beneficial.


Ayurvedic Medications
For example:
  • Mahayograj guggul
  • Yograj Guggul
  • Sinhanad Guggul
  • Mahanarayan Tail
  • Dashmularishta
  • Maharasnadi Kwath

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