The backbone/spine is a unique and immensely signif icant organ of the human body. The backbone is made up of thirty-three separ ate vertebrae and supports the weight of the entire body. There is a disc like cus hion in between each vertebra. These discs are softer than the bones and maintain a spec ific distance between the vertebrae. There is a hole in the center of each vertebra and each disc that forms a hollow pipe. The spinal column that comes from the brain is safe in this hollow pipe. The nervous fibers in the spinal cord arrive from in between ea ch two vertebrae and sets out to its specific organ. The distance maintained by the disc s in between each two vertebrae is for this purpose. This structure of the backbone en ables its movement in all directions- leaning forward, backward, bending side ways, twisting sideways- are all possible due to this characteristic structure of th e backbone. Furthermore, physical shocks to the body are absorbed by the backbone and stopped from reaching the brain. The discs are filled with thin fluid and this fluid is covered with a strong and tenacious coat. This too helps in absorption of sho cks. There can be many diseases or deformities in these vertebrae and discs.
These include bent vertebrae, difference in size of the vertebrae, misaligned joints in some vertebrae, etc. Surgery can overcome these deformities in many cases. Minor deformities may be reduced by Yoga or by usin g back braces.
Accidents can damage the vertebrae and injury to th e disc may cause severe trouble. Any harm to the spinal column may stop the function of certain organs. Surgery may be the answer in case of accidents. The nature of treatment depends upon the nature of injury.
Prolonged medication can treat this disease. Rest a nd use of plaster or braces is needed and in some cases surgery is necessary
The wearing out of the vertebrae or shifting of dis cs can be severe over a period of time. These conditions are well known by the names spondylitis, sciatica, and slipped disc. The number of problems of the bac kbone is increasing and Yoga is the only natural remedy for these problems.
Not only ladies but men also posses an attraction t owards necklaces and waist belts as ornaments. When these braces transform int o surgical braces, it is painful to carry them physically as well as mentally. Using it is an encumbrance and not using it is an impediment. The reason behind being prescribe d a brace is Spondylitis. This disease has affected the human population to such a large extent that even doctors state that there would be few exceptions to who is not suffering from some vertebral diseases.
Modern medical science has not succeeded in produci ng effective medicines for this disease. Pain relieving pills, injections, tractions creating artificial tensions and pressures and at last surgery are the ways to o vercome the disease. These do not 69 always bring the disease under control and the pati ent encounters many side effects. When the patient turns to Yoga in a frustrated cond ition, Yoga gives him a helping, sympathetic hand. Yoga teaches the patient the tech nique of fighting with the disease and leading as well as maintaining a healthy life.
The erosion between two vertebrae puts a load on th e vertebrae, pressing the nerve fibers passing through them and causing the p atient a lot of trouble. Specific yogic processes carry out exercise to the various m uscles of the vertebrae enhancing their efficiency where the load on the vertebrae is inefficiently sustained by these muscles. The nerve fibers aren’t pressed and pain i s relieved.The symptoms of this disease start from pain in the waist or neck. The c onsequent symptoms are pins and needles in the hands and feet, giddiness etc. An X- ray is the way to diagnose this disease. Once spondylitis is diagnosed the patient has to follow certain rules whatever treatment- allopathic or yogic – s/he may be underg oing. Following these rules prevents the severity of the disease and it is the first step towards healing.
The first and the foremost rule is,do not lean in a forward direction. Bending forward brings the vertebrae nearer to each other f urther compressing the nerve fibers resulting in pain. Many of our movements include be nding forward and hence the use of neck or back brace becomes mandatory. Avoiding t his movement can achieve a lot. Furthermore, sleeping on a hard bed instead of spon gy or thick cotton mattresses will prevent increasing severity of the disease. Sleepin g on the plain floor or a plain board with some soft blanket or thin mattress will provid e the required comfort. Taking support beneath the head when in supine position wi ll be harmful but while sleeping on one side having support of a pillow will be bene ficial. Hurried movements are prohibited.
Patients are inclined to seek allopathic treatment for spondylitis. Traction may benefitthem to a certain extent. But if the intensi ty of the disease is not much, yoga can treat well without traction. Use of collar or b ack braces is suggested in consultation with the doctor. Use of such braces do es not cure the disease but prevents increasing its severity. It prevents the patient fr om leaning forward and this reduces his discomfort. Taking medicines or injections to r educe discomfort is not recommended. Avoid their use as far as possible.
Certain Yoga asanas are useful in treating this dis ease. The disease is caused in the vertebrae of the neck or back.
All these steps are to be performed in the opposite sequence leading up to the initial position of Vajrasana. It forms a chain of eight asanas - the above four and the four reverse steps. Try to attain stability in each step to the extent the patient is comfortable. The movement from one step to another must be very gentle and controlled. Stop at the position where the patient experiences trouble. Besides the above chain of nine asanas, asanas like Marjarasana , Samakayasana, Matsyasana and Veerasana in which backward bending is included are helpful. Trikonasana and Pavanmuktasana (without lifting the neck upward) ar e helpful in spondylitis of the back. These are well-known asanas and hence their d escription is not provided in this chapter. Moreover they cannot be performed without a Yoga coach. Mere description will not add to the patient’s knowledge.
After learning the asanas necessary for the treatme nt the patient must practice them twice a day initially. The effect of the asana s lasts for about four to six hours. Later the neck/back starts aching. Hence if they ar e performed in the morning as well as in the evening, the patient will not experience discomfort. After such practice for a month or two he can cut down his practice to one ti me daily as muscle strength increases.
Medication should not be stopped even if yogic trea tment is going on. As yoga practice increases, medication can be reduced gradu ally and then stopped completely on consultation with the doctor. Practice must be c ontinued even later. Once the patient gets rid of his trouble he can follow his r egular regimen. The practice of asanas ought never be stopped but it is not within the reach of asanas to cure this disease entirely. The trouble may recur once the pr actice of asanas is stopped. Practicing asanas is preferred to taking medicines forever. Besides, the side effects of asanas are positive. The disease can be overcome wi th proper guidance and practice, immediately after the diagnosis of the disease. Som e patients try other ways out. When other options fail to help them, they ultimate ly have to turn to Yoga. But it is always better to pursue the yogic path before the d isease gets worse.
The asanas mentioned above are not the only one’s t hat are beneficial for spinal cord diseases. A specific course has been de veloped for the purpose (Yoga Sanjeevan). The course contains body movement exerc ises, simple Yogasanas, respiratory practices, and other yogic processes th at are useful. Besides these, some specific asanas according to the condition of the p atient are also included.
Initially this appears to be trivial but it may tak e a serious form later. The disc between the two vertebrae shifts due to wear and te ar of the vertebrae or due to some other reason. This compresses the spinal cord and h arms the nerve fibers. The result is heaviness or pins and needles in the feet, numbness in the calf of the leg or a finger. It is only surgery that works in case of numbness in t he feet. In other cases, the way out is pain- relieving medicines, waist brace or tracti on. It gives relief to some extent but yoga and naturopathy render wonderful outcome in th is kind of diseases. In case the patient is experiencing severe trouble, it is not possible for the patient to perform yoga. The patient is treated with naturopat hy in that case to reduce his trouble and pains. In case of extreme condition, the patien t has to be given traction and medical treatment as well. As his condition improve s gradually, he can be treated with naturopathy and yoga. If the numbness of feet incre ases then there is no option other than surgery.
The treatment of spondylitis can be followed for sl ip disc patients too. In addition, the following treatment will help.
Take enema of 50 cc sesame oil in the evening betw een 5.30-6.30 (This must be done under guidance of an expert).
Have a glass of water and dill seeds on an empty s tomach in the morning.
Perform Shavasana for fifteen minutes with a pillo w underneath the waist.
Sleep on a hard floor or bed instead of foam or th ick cotton mattresses.
(Lower backache, Cervical/Lumber Spondylitis)
All asanas are to be practiced on Level 3
Tadagasana, Vajrasana series from Yoga Sopan book, Pavanmuktasana, Ardha Chakrasana, Anantasana, for about 10 days, then Bhujangasana– Shalabhasana– Dhunurasana Ardhamatsyendrasana, Tada sana – Tiryak Tadasana - Katichakrasana Trikonasana– Veerasana, Shavasana (when needed)
Anulom Vilom Deep Breathing 15 minutes Sheetali Purak followed by Bhramari Rechak ( 21 rou nds)
Meditation on Vishudhdhi Chakra with mantra “ Ham” Swadhisthan Chakra with mantra “ Ham”
Asanas: Vakrasana, Uttanpadasana, Sulabh Ushtrasana . Ushtrasana, Marjarasana Sankatasana,
Pranayama: Right nostril breathing, Bhramaari Prana yama without kumbhak
Cleansing Practices: Neti
Suitable : Normal food with less fats & carbohydrate s but with high fibres. Best food is fruits & vegetables, less protin diet.
Avoid: Nonveg food, Milk & milk products ( Skimmed milk can be taken), Rice, Oily & Spicy food, refined foods, Fast Food, Preser ved Food. Salts.
Yoga Vidya Dham, Kaivalya Nagari,
College Road, Nashik - 422005.
Phone - +91-9822770727 (for courses in ENGLISH)
+91-253-2318090 (For courses, in HINDI or MARATHI)
(Please call during 9.00 AM to 5 PM Indian Time)
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