Keep back pain at bay - part 1

Back pain is the most common complaint among adults under 45. Back pain brings their activities to a complete halt and intervenes in the progress of their career. Researchers say that it is really a challenge to a physician to find out the true cause of back pain.

Here is a quick take on the anatomy of the human back. Our body depends on the spinal column for structural stability and mobility. We twist, bend and flex with the help of spinal column. The spinal column is made up of 24 vertebrae, 7 in the neck (the cervical vertebrae), 12 in the thorax (the thoracic vertebrae), and 5 in the lower back (the lumbar vertebrae). The sacrum, located just below the lumbar vertebrae, consists of 5 fused vertebrae. The tailbone, or coccyx, with its 3 to 5 fused vertebrae, lies just beneath the sacrum. These vertebrae are placed one on another from skull to pelvis. Spongy discs are present in between vertebrae .The spinal column is tightly wrapped by muscles and ligaments. The spinal cord is enclosed within vertebral canal which is formed by alignment of vertebrae.

Acharya sushruta describes anatomy of spinal column as follows.

Prushte trimshat
The number of back bones are 30 (Cervical-7 , Thoracic - 12, Lumbar- 5, vertebrae fused in sacrum -5 , coccyx -1 ). While describing the joints in spinal column it has been said as " Chaturvimshatihi prishta vamshe ". This means there are 24 joints in spinal column.

Maamsaanyatra nibaddhani siraabhihi snaayubhistatha. | Asthinyaalambanam kritwaa ||

The ligaments and tendons hold the bones and muscles together.

Causes for back ache

Bones and thighs are mainly occupied by Vata . Vata controls and directs the body movements.Back pain 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).

  • Back ache 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

The vitiated vata causes stiffness of joints, pain and limits the movements of back.

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