Using Ayurveda to Ease Back Pain: Introduction

It just so happened that fall started settling in about the time that our Ayurveda unit fired up in YTT. As the wind came up and the temperatures went down, I noticed my low back tightening up more than usual. I’ve been experiencing chronic low pain from 2 torn discs and a genetic disorder of the spine for about three years, and I’ve tried nearly every remedy from Western and alternative medicine that I could find, usually with lack-luster or temporary results. Throughout all that, I’d never thought about whether the pain pattern shifted based on variables like time of year or temperature. It was actually quite an enlightening moment when I realized a connection between the increased discomfort and decreased temperature.

From the reading I’d been doing in The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies by Vasant Lad, I’d already identified that my vata dosha was out of balance and I’d read about the common link between aggravated vata and low back pain. So, I tinkered with vata-balancing diet and routine recommendations for the week of our Ayurvedic experiment, but that didn’t give me enough time to really dive into my back pain and whether I could decrease pain by applying Ayurvedic principles. So for my personal experiment, I formed this hypothesis: If I apply vata-balancing and back pain recommendations from Ayurveda, along with asanas prescribed for back pain from B.K.S. Iyengar’s Light on Yoga, I can better manage my low back pain.