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Backache is one of the most common ailments prevalent today. Sedentary living habits, hazardous work patterns and psychological conditions associated with emotional stress, which bring about spasm of the muscles, cause backaches. As the back bears theweight of the entire body, overweight persons feel the strain on the back when they have to carry an extra load.
In most cases of backache, the pain is usually felt either in the middle of the back or lower down. It may spread to both sides of the waist and the hips. In a condition of acute pain, the patient is unable to move and is bedridden.
About ninety per cent of backache patients suffer from what is called cervical and lumbar spondylosis. It is a degenerative disorder in which the different vertebrae adhere to each other through bony unions. As a result of this, the spine loses its flexibility.
The main causes of backache and spondylosis are muscular tension, straining of the joints, poor posture, and incorrect nutrition resulting from dietetic errors and lack of exercise. Acute or chronic illnesses like kidney or prostate problems, female disorders, influenza, and arthritis, may also lead to backache. Other causes include stress and strain resulting from sitting for a long time, improper lifting of weights, high heels, and emotional problems which may cause painful muscle cramping.
The most important home remedy for backache is the use of garlic. Two or three cloves should be taken every morning to get results. An oil prepared from garlic and rubbed on the back will give great relief. This oil is prepared by frying ten cloves of garlic in 60 ml of oil in a frying pan. Any of the oils which are used as rubefacients, such as mustard oil, sesame oil, and coconut oil can be used according to one's choice. They should be fried on a slow fire till they are brown. After the oil has cooled, it should be applied vigorously on the back, and allowed to remain there for three hours. The patient may, thereafter, take a warm-water bath. This treatment should be continued for at least fifteen days.
Lemon is another useful remedy for backache. The juice of one lemon should be mixed with common salt and taken by the patient twice daily. It will give relief.
The use of chebulic myroblan is beneficial in the treatment of backache. A small piece of this fruit should be eaten after meals. This wiII give quick relief.
Vitamin C has proved valuable in case of severe backaches.
Raw potato is an ancient home remedy for backache, characterised by incapacitating pain in the lumbar region, especially in the lower part of the back. Application of raw potato in the form of a poultice has been found very effective in this condition.
The diet of those suffering from backache should consist of a salad of raw vegetables such as tomato, carrot, cabbage, cucumber, radish, lettuce, and, at least, two steamed or lightly¬ cooked vegetables such as cauliflower, cabbage, carrot, spinach, and plenty of fruits, except bananas. The patient should have four meals daily. Fruit and milk are advised for breakfast, steamed vegetables and whole wheat chapatis for lunch; fresh fruit or fruit juice in the evening; and a. bowl of raw salad and sprouts during dinner.The patient should avoid fatty, spicy, and fried foods; curd, sweetmeats and sugar; condiments; and tea and coffee. Foods that have been processed for preservation have few nutrients and should also be eliminated from the diet
Smoking or taking tobacco in any from should be given up completely. Hot fomentation, alternate sponging, or application of heat to the back will also give immediate relief. Yogic asanas which are beneficial in the treatment of backache are bhujangasana, shalahhasana, halasana, uttanpadasana and shavasana.