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Natural Medicine : Backache

Causes :
1. Being overweight is a major cause of backache. Carrying excess weight strains the bones and the soft tissue (muscles, ligaments, and joint tissues) of the back. The excess weight in front of the spine, on the abdomen and on the chest pulls the body forward. As the body is constantly pulled forward, the back muscles are under strain to hold the body erect.

The soft tissues of the back are weakened by fat deposits that surround blood vessels and lie between muscles and joints. As a result of weakened soft tissues, the back may be more prone to minor injuries.

2. Overeating is another major cause of backache. In a thin person, eating excessively large meals may unbalance he body. The body is pulled forward from the extra weight of the food and digestive juices. The reflexive effort to hold the shoulders and ribs off the overloaded intestinal tract adds strain to the back and creates backache.

3. A slipped or ruptured disc causes severe back pain, often with pain radiating down the thigh and leg. Ruptured or slipped discs rarely develop suddenly. Disc problems develop over time from excessive strain on the back joints. Poor posture, occupational stresses, and competitive sports are contributing factors to disc problems and resulting back pain.

4. Chronic back strain may be caused by maintaining one position for a long period of time, such as from typing or bending over at work. Learning to sit and bend without straining the back helps to prevent backaches.

5. Muscle weakness from lack of exercise also causes backache. Vigorous outdoor exercise involves all the muscles and movements of the back and helps to gradually correct certain types of chronic backache. It is important to start exercise slowly, as exercising weak muscles can cause flare-ups of pain.

6. Spondylolisthesis is a slipping forward of one vertebra over its neighbor with erosion of a part of one vertebra. Avoid sitting on the floor with the legs straight out in front as this position can cause this type of backache.

7. A transitional vertebra is a birth defect in which one vertebra in the low back is carrying out double duties - both as a part of the spine above and as a part of the pelvis below. The resulting overwork leads to pain. Back-strengthening exercises can help this type of pain.

8. Psychological factors are a very potent cause of back pain in some people. Neutralizing tension or mental anguish may help to reduce backache in these individuals.

9. Constitutional factors, such as constipation, hypoglycemia, pregnancy, menstruation, and pelvic tumors in both men and women, also cause backache.

Treatment :
Specific remedies for backache include removing all of the causes already known, and strengthening the back by walking, purposeful labor, or well-directed exercises as follows:

1. Stand with the back against a wall, heels four inches from the wall. Tilt the pelvis in such a way as to tuck the buttocks under and flatten the curve of the low back. While in this position, contract the muscles of the abdomen and the buttocks and hold for 30 seconds. Relax for five seconds and repeat.

2. Stand facing a wall with toes on a line drawn two feet from the wall. Place hands on the wall at a level slightly lower than the shoulder and lean into the wall. Keep heels on the floor at all times. Hold for ten seconds. Push up for three seconds. Repeat three times. This stretching exercise helps low back pain in some people. This exercise should be done daily for 30 days.

3. Sit in a chair. Hug one knee to the chest. Raise the other leg to the level of the chair seat, keeping the knee straight and toes pointed up. Hold for a few seconds and alternate.

4. Winging is another back exercise. While lying on the floor face down, raise the arms and legs off the floor above the back, and hold the head and shoulders off the floor, causing the entire body to be supported only by the abdomen. Hold for several seconds and build-up time to two minutes.

5. You may also try bridging. Lie on the floor on your back. Arch your back and support your body weight on the heels and shoulders, keeping the head off the floor. Maintain this position for several seconds and build-up gradually to two minutes.

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