The spine or the backbone is the central support structure of our body. It is made of vertebrae (bones), cartilage, vertebral discs, nerves, and ligaments. The spine is divided into 5 main segments named cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum, and coccyx. Spondylosis is the common name given to any form of inflammation in the vertebral discs of the spinal cord. It can be cervical, thoracic, or lumbar.
Dr. Kiran B Nair, CEO, of Sreeragam Ayurveda, Kochi, Kerala talks about lumbar spondylosis in the younger population. He also discusses the various reasons and ayurvedic remedies available for treating the condition.
Spondylolysis usually occurs due to wear and tear of vertebrae due to aging. “As one ages dehydration of the jelly-like material of the vertebral discs results in disc herniation or bulging which can be quite painful,” says Dr. Kiran. Lumbar spondylosis is the most common type of spondylosis that causes intense lower back pain. As the condition worsens it can lead to radiating pain in the legs, numbness, and bowel incontinence.
Though aging is a major reason for lumbar spondylosis, many patients who visit Sreeragam Ayurveda are quite young. Most of them are youngsters who hit the gym unsupervised. These people focus on developing every possible muscle in their body but tend to ignore the most important one, the paraspinal muscles. These muscles line the spinal cord on either side and are very important for the proper functioning of the spine. “If you imagine our body to be a tree, then the paraspinal muscles are the root. For the tree to grow strong and big, the root must be deep and strong. Similarly, if the idea is to make your body strong, you must ensure that the paraspinal muscles are strong,” says Dr. Kiran.
Doing exercises like squatting, weight lifting, etc without proper stretching exercises often results in paraspinal muscle spasms due to incorrect posturing. This results in inflammation leading to improper functioning of these muscles that are involved in functions like flexion, elongation, etc. Over a period, this leads to the bulging of the discs causing symptoms of spondylosis.
Gym enthusiasts with improper techniques, long-time bike riders, IT professionals who sit for long periods, pregnant women, etc are the younger group of people who are most often plagued by lumbar spondylosis.
Allopathy has only one treatment option for anyone suffering from spondylolysis, surgery. However, this can have long-term ramifications in the form of numbness of the legs, bowel incontinence, and other problems. “At Sreeragam Ayurveda, our focus is to treat the condition without resorting to surgical intervention,” says Dr. Kiran. Ayurvedic medicines and treatments like Kashaya Vasthi, Dhara, Kizhi, ultrasound therapy, etc are employed to reduce inflammation. The paraspinal muscles are strengthened via exercises and physiotherapy. All the treatments are aimed at reducing the intensity of the compression to the sciatic nerve endings thereby remedying the numbness and other symptoms.
Keeping your spine healthy is of paramount importance to prevent lumbar spondylosis. “When your paraspinal muscles are strong, it automatically improves your posture, increases your lung capacity, keeps you more energetic, and gives you strength and confidence in every aspect,” says Dr. Kiran