The current sedentary lifestyle is taking its toll in different forms of diseases and backache is one of the most common ailments affecting people. It may be strange but is a fact that people feel proud to tell that they suffer from backache. Though there are many causes responsible for this ailment, few of the prime ones are:
1. Shortage of calcium
2. Working in wrong postures
3. Dislocation of inter vertebral disc.
4. Obesity or heavy weight of the body
5. Gas formation in the stomach
6. Accident or injury
Besides the above, in the case of females, bulging of belly after delivery towards the front and increase of body weight could also lead to backache problems.
Our backbone frame is made up of twenty blocks of bone with hollow space in between. By joining with each other, these bones form a fine network. The central portion of this framework has the spinal cord. Between the bony blocks are cushions of cartilage and elastic tissues called inter vertebral discs.
These vertebral discs act as shock absorbers for the back. Mobility is quite impossible without these discs. The backbone takes the shape of a protective arch over the vertebral and spinal cord and protects the spinal nerves which are interwoven through the spinal column. There is a close relationship between the bones, discs, joint muscles and nerves in the back. Any slightest problem or injury to the back or neck area can have disastrous effects.
Sometimes the cushions in between the bony blocks rupture and the pulp protrudes a little. If the cushion disappears entirely, it is known as degenerated disc. In the case of slip disc, the nerve is affected so much that the pain radiates down the thigh and leg. If there is slip disc in the neck area, it causes numbness and pain radiates to the arms. Actually disc trouble builds up over a period of time and doesn’t occur all of a sudden.
In the majority of cases of backache, the pain is felt either in the middle of the back or lower down. It may spread to both sides of the waist and hips. Due to acute pain, the patient is bedridden being unable to move.
Majority of backache patients suffer from cervical or lumbar spondylosis which is a sort of degenerate disorder in which the vertebral bone on the inter vertebral disc becomes soft and shapeless resulting in loss of flexibility of the spine.
The other causes of backache and spondylosis are:
1. Muscular tension
2. Joint strain
3. Incorrect nutrition due to dietetic errors or lack of exercise.
4. Acute kidney or prostate problems
6. Female problems
7. Stress and strain arising out of sitting for a long time, improper lifting of weights, wearing footwear with high heels, emotional problems which create painful muscle cramping.
Drugs which relieve pain or relax muscles don’t actually cure back problems but may aggravate the intensity by excessive intake. Hence certain safety measures are to be taken:-
1. Exercise regularly to improve the supply of nutrients to spinal discs. Walking, cycling and swimming are safe exercises.
2. Control body weight as excess weight greatly increases the stress on soft back bones.
3. Those engaged in sedentary occupations should avoid soft cushions and stand up every hour.
4. Should sleep on firm mattresses with knees bent at right angles to the torso.
5. While lifting any object, care should be taken not to bend from the waist down but should instead squat close the object, bending the knees but keeping the back straight and ultimately stand up slowly.
Neck tension or cervical spondylosis can develop due to long hours of work at the desk or constant driving long distances. Neck exercises helps a great deal in such cases. Rotating the head clockwise and anti-clockwise allowing the head to drop forward and backwards as far as possible and turning the head to the right and left several times are some of the exercises which help to loosen contracted neck muscles which may restrict blood supply to the head.
As far as the dietetic control is concerned, such patients should take salad of raw vegetables like tomato, carrot, cabbage, cauliflower, spinach etc. Besides plenty of fruits barring bananas. The patients should have four meals daily, fatty, spicy and fried foods, curd, sweetmeats, condiments, tea and coffee should be avoided. Smoking and tobacco products should be completely given up.
Hot fomentation, alternate sponging or application of radiant heat on the back and alternate hot and cold compresses on the back will also give immediate relief. Yogic Asanas which are beneficial in backache treatment are 3 types of Makarasana, Shatubandhasana, Katichalan, Bhujangasana, Ardhasalabhasana, Dhanurasana (later), Tiger breathing exercise, Purvotanasana, Bhajarasana, Ustrasana and Ardhachakrasana etc.