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A slipped disc refers to rupture or damage of the intervertebral disc due to pressure from the vertebra above and below it. These intervertebral discs are the protective cushion-like pads present between the vertebrae and act as shock absorbers. The most common symptoms of a slipped disc are pain, numbness and tingling in the affected area. Slipped disc usually occurs in the lower back (lumbar) regions, but it may also affect the upper back (thoracic) and neck (cervical).

Some Ayurvedic treatments that can be used to treat a slipped disc include snehana (oleation), swedana (sudation or sweat therapy), pizhichil (oil massage), shirodhara (pouring liquids or oils over the head), nasya (nasal insufflation), basti (enema) and dhanyamla dhara (pouring warm medicated liquids on the affected body part). Some of the herbs and medicines used to treat slipped disc are shunthi (dried ginger), rasna (Indian camphorweed), ashwagandha (Indian ginseng), guduchi (heart-leaved moonseed), dashmoola kwatha, bruhadvatachintamaṇi rasa and trayodashanga guggulu.

  1. Ayurvedic view of slipped disc
  2. Ayurvedic treatment for slipped disc
  3. Ayurvedic herbs and medicines for slipped disc
  4. Dietary and lifestyle changes for slipped disc patient as per ayurveda
  5. How effective are ayurvedic medicines and treatments for slipped disc
  6. Side effects and risks of ayurvedic medicine and treatments for slipped disc
  7. Takeaway
  8. Doctors for Ayurvedic medicine, treatment and remedies for Slipped Disc

The most common cause of a slipped disc is wear and tear due to ageing. Very rarely, it can occur due to an injury to the backbone and intervertebral discs. As per Ayurveda, of the three doshas that make up the body, vata is essential for proper body movements and functions. As an individual ages, vata aggravation occurs, leading to reduced quality of body tissues, degeneration of tissues and numerous vata disorders. This vata aggravation is believed to be the cause of a slipped disc. Ayurvedic remedies for slipped disc primarily focus on alleviating this aggravated dosha and healing body tissues.

  • Swedana
    • This therapy involves the use of different procedures to induce sweating.
    • Swedana widens the channels of body, liquefies and dislodges ama (toxins) from tissues and mobilises it to the digestive tract. This ama is then expelled out of the body using panchakarma (five therapies).
    • Swedana relieves the heaviness, stiffness and coldness in the body and is used as the main treatment for numerous disorders, especially those caused by increased vata. This makes it an effective therapy in the treatment of slipped disc.
    • Swedana can be performed by using various tools such as a heated cloth, metal objects or warm hands or by applying a poultice made of appropriate herbs on the affected areas. It can also be performed using steam or by pouring warm liquid containing herbs on the affected part of the body.
  • Snehana
    • Snehana is a type of ayurvedic massage given to the whole body or the affected region of the body using herbal oils.
    • This procedure helps reduce the pain and other symptoms of the disease.
    • Abhyanga (oil massage) is one of the commonly used techniques to perform external oleation. Abhyanga harmonises and balances the vitiated vata and strengthens bones, tissues and ligaments. It alleviates pain and enhances the natural healing power of the body. Abhyanga also removes fatigue and relaxes the mind and body.
    • Sesame oil is commonly used for abhyanga to treat disorders of vata origin. 
  • Kati basti and greeva basti
    • In this procedure, a frame made of flour is placed on the affected region and warm medicated oil is poured inside it. The oil is allowed to stay in contact with skin for a certain period of time and is replaced throughout the procedure to keep it at a specific temperature.
    • The oleation and sweating of skin eliminate ama and pacifies the aggravated doshas. It relieves heaviness, stiffness and pain and is hence useful in the management of vata conditions like a slipped disc.
    • When this procedure is used to treat neck and shoulders itis known as greeva basti, and when it helps to treat the back is called kati basti. This procedure has no side effects and is safe in individuals with heart disease.
    • Both these procedures improve blood circulation, enhance flexibility and promote smooth movement of the affected part. They reduce musculoskeletal stress and relax and rejuvenate muscles. They are also useful in treating disc lesions.
  • Pizhichil
    • Pizhichil is an Ayurvedic therapy that involves massaging of the body rhythmically using lukewarm herbal oil by two trained therapists.
    • This massage is done in both the lying down and sitting positions in a chair specially made for this purpose.
    • It should be performed for about 10 days to experience an optimum healing experience.
  • Shirodhara
    • This therapy involves pouring of medicated liquid over the forehead rhythmically.
    • Liquid used for shirodhara depends on the condition of the individual.
    • This technique is helpful in reducing stress and calming the mind. It promotes mental peace and improves sleep, which is hampered in most of the painful conditions.
  • Nasya
    • This procedure involves the instillation of herbal liquids into the nasal cavity. This is because the nose is considered to be the gateway to head, administering anything in the nose will directly affect the head. 
    • It helps in relieving stiffness in the neck and shoulders, one of the most common symptoms of a slipped disc.
  • Basti
    • Basti is an ayurvedic enema. It involves introduction of liquids like medicated oils and herbal decoctions into the intestine through the rectal route.
    • This procedure clears the bowel, thereby eliminating ama and aggravated doshas from the body. Since these factors are the primary causes of most disorders, their elimination aids in maintaining good health.
  • Dhanyamla dhara
    • In this procedure, medicated liquid made from grains like dhanya (cereals) and amalaki (amla or Indian gooseberry) are poured on the affected body part.
    • For the preparation of this medicated liquid, dhanyamla, navara rice (a variety of rice), citrus fruits, shunthi (dried ginger) and millet are tied into a poultice and boiled in water. This water is then cooled to a lukewarm temperature and used to perform the procedure. 
    • Treatment with dhanyamala usually lasts for 7-14 days but may extend as per the individual’s need.
    • This procedure improves blood circulation and treats body ache and muscle spasms. It revitalises the body and boosts immune function.
    • It can be used to treat a slipped disc and is usually recommended for treating vata-kapha disorders.

Ayurvedic herbs for slipped disc

  • Shunthi
    • This wonder herb acts on the respiratory and digestive systems and helps in the management of disorders caused due to an imbalance in all the three doshas.
    • It has pain-relieving, digestive, expectorant (expels phlegm) and aphrodisiac properties and can be used with rock salt to treat vata disorders.
    • It relieves pain and spasms, increases agni (digestive fire) and reduces kapha.
    • It can be used in the form of an infusion, powder, pill, decoction or paste.
  • Rasna
    • Rasna improves gurutva (heaviness) and ushma (heat) in the body and is bitter in taste.
    • It is used to treat sandhivata (osteoarthritis), shvasa (asthma), jwara (fever), sidhma (white spots) and kasa (cough).
    • It is highly effective in the management of vata disorders such as slipped disc.
    • It can be taken with lukewarm water or as per the instructions given by your physician.
  • Ashwagandha
    • It acts on the reproductive, nervous and respiratory systems and has rejuvenating, anti-inflammatory, sedative (induces sleep), nervine (relieves stress), astringent, aphrodisiac and tonic properties.
    • It is most well known for its strong immune-boosting action.
    • Ashwagandha relieves pain, promotes tissue healing and strengthens tissues, which makes it an effective herb in the management of slipped disc.
    • It is also used as an adjunct in the treatment of several diseases to promote recovery and improve strength.
    • It can be used in the form of a decoction, oil, ghee (clarified butter) and powder.
  • Guduchi
    • Guduchi acts on the digestive and circulatory systems, and it has immune-boosting and blood-purifying properties.
    • It helps in improving the overall strength and can be used as adjunctive therapy along with the main medicines in the treatment of slipped disc.

Ayurvedic medicines for slipped disc

  • Dashamoola kwatha
    • Some of the ingredients of this liquid formulation are shaliparni (tick clover), prishniparni (kalshi), agnimantha (headache tree), kashmari (malay beechwood) and gokshura (small caltrops).
    • It is primarily used in the treatment of vata disorders but can be used to balance all the deranged doshas.
    • Dashamoola kwatha can be used for treating stiffness of the neck and back, cough, and asthma.
    • It can also treat conditions caused by avrutta vata, anubandhya vata or paratantra vata, which are the different types of vitiations of vata. These involve the obstruction and deviation of vata by other doshas and ama. As vata is the main dosha involved in a slipped disc, dashamoola kwatha can be used in the treatment of this condition.
  • Bruhadvatachintamaṇi rasa
    • Bruhadvatachintamaṇi rasa is prepared from various ingredients including bhasmas (calcined preparations) of suvarna (gold), raupya (silver), abhraka (mica), lauha (iron) and pravala (red coral), which are then infused with the properties of kumari (aloe).
    • It is indicated in all types of vata disorders such as slipped disc and sandhivata.
    • It is also indicated in conditions like siragatavata, in which, vitiated vata affects the blood vessels and channels of the body.
  • Trayodashanga guggulu
    • This preparation is made from ashwagandha, guduchi, shatavari (hundred roots), guggulu (Indian bdellium-tree), ghee (clarified butter), shunthi and rasna.
    • Trayodashanga guggulu is effective in treating disorders of the tendons and ligaments. It relieves pain, stiffness, tenderness and swelling and is thus an effective therapy for slipped disc.

As treatments vary according to numerous factors and an individual’s prakriti (constitution), consult a qualified Ayurvedic doctor for the appropriate medications and treatments for your specific complaints.

Do’s

  • Perform breathing and relaxation techniques including yoga asanas like bhujangasana (cobra pose), ardha chakrasana (half wheel pose), ushtrasana (camel pose) and setu bandhasana (bridge pose).
  • Include meditation in your regular schedule.
  • Maintain a proper posture and take warm water baths. 

Don’ts

  • Do not eat heavy meals, which are difficult to digest.
  • Avoid a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Avoid physical exertion after eating meals.
  • Avoid overeating and excessive exposure to cold temperatures.
  • Avoid eating chilled foods and beverages.

A case study involving a 35-year-old man with degenerative disc disease indicated the effectiveness of Ayurvedic remedies in the management of the condition. The person was treated using swedana, kati basti and sarvanga abhyanga (full body massage). Medicines like maharasnadi kwatha, suvarnayogaraja guggulu, ashwagandha capsule and topical application of panchaguna taila were also administered. Follow up after 2 months indicated a marked reduction in pain, inflammation and swelling. It was suggested that this symptomatic improvement was due to pacification the aggravated vata.

Although ayurvedic remedies help uproot the cause of slipped disc, certain precautionary measures need to be taken while using them., e.g., nasya is contraindicated in individuals with excessive secretions from eyes, nose and mouth;basti is not advisable in individuals with anal inflammation, intestinal obstruction and perforation, and cholera; and ashwagandha should be avoided in individuals with severe chest congestion. This is because the type and dosage of a remedy depend on individual symptoms and physiology. So, it is best to check in with an experienced doctor before self-medicating yourself with any medicine or herb.

A slipped disc is a common cause of neck and back pain that occurs due to ageing. It can also lead to conditions like sciatica and cause severe back pain that radiates to the leg. The main cause of slipped disc is the derangement and aggravation of vata with age. Consequently, balancing this dosha can help in the prevention and treatment of this condition. Ayurvedic therapies aim at restoring the balance in doshas and removing toxins from the body, thereby treating the underlying cause of slipped disc. When taken in the right dosage ayurvedic medicines also prevent disease relapse, strengthen the body and improve the overall quality of life.

Dr. Hariom Verma

Dr. Hariom Verma

आयुर्वेदा

 Dr. Sarita Singh

Dr. Sarita Singh

आयुर्वेदा

Dr. Amit Kumar

Dr. Amit Kumar

आयुर्वेदा

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