Ram Aditya, Ph.D., CCHT.
Chronic back pain is perhaps one of the most prevalent medical conditions afflicting our society today. It is normally assumed that back pain is a natural outcome of age. Often the condition is precipitated by an incident or accident with the sensation of a sharp, stabbing pain in the lower back. In other cases, the pain may make itself felt gradually. In the first case the medical profession has no trouble pointing to the injury as the source of the problem. In both cases, however, the standard medical response is to prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and pain-killers and, in some cases, surgery. In either mode of treatment the body undergoes a brutal assault, either chemically through lifetime dosage of toxic drugs or physically through surgery.
So much of all this preventable–with just a little education.
It is true that in rare cases, primarily of accidental injury to an otherwise healthy individual from collision or other event, the injury itself may the source of the problem. However, the question even then is: what constitutes a healthy body? In the vast majority of cases the injury is caused less by the precipitating event than by the body’s condition at the time of the event. The injury often manifests itself as a sharp, searing jab of pain near or between the hips; however, the real injury has already occurred over a long period of time. It is just that we never noticed it because the body was trying to cope with a gradually occurring injury.
Often the precipitating event occurs while the person is bending over and lifting or moving something heavy. So health professionals talk about “correct” ways of lifting heavy objects, getting up and bending down to do chores, and so on. What is lost in all this scientific focus on preventing or coping with back conditions is a basic understanding of why the triggering event occurred in the first place.
Nature’s design is not so fragile that the spine or hip should be injured or broken so easily as moving or lifting heavy objects, unless one is involved in a unnatural and unusual event such as a blow to the back by some heavy object. No, the painful event in most cases is triggered because 1) the tissues and ligaments in the body were already stiff and degenerating day by day, and 2) because there was undue pressure on the spinal column from inside the body.
The real questions, then, are: why were the tissues and ligaments stiff and degenerating, and where did the pressure on the spinal column come from. The answer to the first query lies in what nutrients we put into our bodies in the form of food and drink; and to the second query we must look a little into anatomy and physiology.
Our medical experts would tell us that degeneration of ligaments and tissues is part of a natural ageing process and there is little we can do about it. The truth is that this process is no more “natural” as the foods we eat and drink.
Let us reflect on this for a moment—what is the only natural drink that is available to moving creatures on this planet? What every animal drinks is water. Even milk is drunk only by mammals, and that only of each one’s species AND while they are in the beginning stage of growth. No animal drinks its own mother’s milk when past a certain stage in growth, and with good reason: its body stops producing the enzymes necessary to digest milk. What makes us think we have been created any differently? And with what immense ignorance we drink the milk of another species of animal! It is only recently that science has uncovered the fact that certain autoimmune diseases are caused in humans directly by cow’s milk.
And what about the things we eat? The picture here is no less ridiculous. No other animal degrades its food by heating it over fire. And they (save the unfortunate domesticated animals that live in a human environment) have none of the degenerative diseases that we experience as humans. Secondly, they do not try to usurp the food of other species, they only eat what their bodies were designed to ingest. If we reflect on what foods we might be able to eat if we did not have fire or instruments to collect our foods, relying only on our bare bodies to collect and prepare our food, then we would quickly have to rule out all cereal grains (the legitimate food of birds) and practically all legumes and beans (in the form we are used to storing them) and animal flesh (the food of carnivores, whose bodies have an entirely different design). I deal with this subject at greater depth in a different publica
The point here is that we are trying to run a car on water instead of gasoline, so to speak. But unlike a car, which would fail instantly, our bodies are divinely forgiving, trying their best to cope with the situation of an ignorant modern human mind at the conscious level that nevertheless inflicts a great deal of damage on the body. Our bodies are in fact a miracle of design—if we can imagine a car that runs non-stop for decades, adjusting to all kinds of terrain and all kinds of material given to it as fuel00for years until it can do no more. Would we ever think of pouring water into the fuel tanks of our cars? If we only ran our bodies on the fuel for which it was designed, we should not experience the so-called natural processes of ageing such as degenerating tissues, organs, glands and bones at the cellular level that eventually manifest in external signals of what we then term as “degenerative disease.”
With the above arguments in mind, we can now address the second question about back pain—about the source of internal pressure on the spine. Where might this pressure stem from? To answer this question, we need to consider some aspects of human anatomy and physiology.
Consider this—in the little space of less than .25 cu. Ft, (that is, less than 12 inches x 6 inches x 6 inches) that is available in front of the lower spine at the level of the hips, Nature has packed an amazing 32 feet (or 10-11 meters) of intestinal tract that is incredibly complex in form and construction. It is a highly space-efficient design that works impeccably– when we eat as Nature intended us to do.
And here’s where the problem begins. When we are eat foods not designed for us or alter our foods in unnatural ways, these foods are not digested properly. But even when eating our legitimate plant based foods—that is to say, raw fruits, vegetables and greens, and nuts—we often combine them in ways that the body cannot recognize very well through its sensory organs. When this happens we experience poor digestion. What happens next is a sequence of events that is beyond the scope of this article; I have addressed these in detail under physiology of digestion. For purposes of this discussion suffice it to say that it is important not just what we eat, but how we eat, how much, and when. Incorrect combinations and quantities of food lead to indigestion, putrefaction, and undue fermentation, leading to voluminous gas production in the intestines.
When the intestinal tract is constantly fed with cooked foods, which are highly mucoid and devoid of live enzymes, the chyme (food mixed with the digestive juices) becomes a sticky substance that cannot pass through the tract easily. It sticks to the walls of the colon, where much water is lost in the process of absorption of nutrients. Over time, these deposits grow, in much the same way as the mineral deposits in a domestic or industrial water pipeline. These deposits prevent the normal and necessary colonization of the colon walls by lactobacteria, which help in the conversion of proteins from the chyme into nutrient forms.[i] The dried up fecal matter exerts pressure on the walls, which both expand and then lose their elasticity because of the dry deposits sticking to them. In addition, due to the illusory and artificial “abundance” of food, we have gotten into the habit of eating too frequently, and too much, giving the bowels no time to pass the excrement of previous meals from the body before more matter lands up in the intestines.
In the normal course of events, if one were eating only raw fruits and greens full of the nutrients they originally were designed to contain, we would be moving our bowels as many times as we ate during the day. But in contemporary society we can consider ourselves lucky if we are one of those that move our bowels even once a day! The intestines expand with all this fecal matter remaining in the colon. Additionally, the failing population of lactobacteria and the increasing amounts of poorly digested proteins in the chyme lead to the proliferation of other bacterial forms that consume these proteins to produce odorous gases.[ii] This gas is trapped between the ileosecal valve and the mostly dried-up matter packed tight in the colon, thus exerting an enormous pressure much like a long balloon that are used to make toy shapes for children. Ever felt one of those balloons? Well imagine one with a relatively hardened rubber surface—that is what our colon becomes.
And we become prime candidates for a host of diseases starting from diverticulitis, to IBS, colitis, ulcers, and eventually colon or other cancers, not to talk of the possibility of a perforation of the walls, which is a medical emergency requiring immediate hospitalization and surgery involving the removal of a part of the colon, which is one of our primary nutrient absorbing organs. It is important to recognize that the clogging of the colon not only leads to diseases of the colon, but by preventing the regular and complete elimination of toxic wastes, leads to other disease conditions as well. These are explained more in other of my publications.
But anyone who has an extended abdomen needs to be aware that he or she is vulnerable to a back injury sooner or later. The extent of degradation of tissues through autotoxicity, combined with the pressure on the spine created through improper food combinations, exerts a pressure on the already curved lower spine that makes us vulnerable to an accident or other precipitating event of our own doing.
Reversing back pain
There are many things you can do to become free of back pain, but from the foregoing discussion it’s clear that the first step is a thorough cleansing of the colon. In the olden times most cultures had awareness of the need for maintaining a clean bowel, and had periodic fasting or other cleansing practices such as doses of castor oil that are even now prevalent in traditional families in India, Mexico and other indigenous cultures of central America. More recently, enemas and hydrotherapy (also called “colonic irrigation”) treatments have been devised to de-clog the colon.
Enemas and colonic irrigations can be useful as in an emergency or as an occasional practice, but regular dependence on such cleansing indicates an unsuitable diet in the first place. Other practices such as the so-called “yogic” cleanse (with salt and water), “liver cleanse” (with large doses of olive oil and lemon juice), and other methods involving large doses of unhealthy food items are barbaric acts of assault on the body that only give an illusion of cleansing while actually creating a crisis for the body internally. In no case do they actually remove all of the old hardened deposits formed over several decades. That is not a process achieved so easily or quickly. The program I follow for my clients and myself is one that takes a minimum of three months, with doses of an herbal mixture that helps loosen the deposits and doses of fibre that helps sweep these deposits out of the bowels. It is a process that is gentle on the body’s organs and does not load any of them at any time with undue amounts of oil, salt or any other unhealthy substance. I have explained the subject of body cleansing at greater depth elsewhere.
This, then, is the first step in treating back pain. You may find that the pain goes away completely from just the cleanse and nothing else. The immediate second step is to develop healthy eating practices and a suitable diet for your body. This, too, is a topic beyond the scope of the present discussion and will be found in other of my publications.
If the pain is not completely treated by a complete cleanse and a clean diet, it indicates a need to address other issues of general health, such as exercise.
Yoga can be very beneficial for back pain and the improvement of digestion, but one must be careful to go to a competent teacher. Incorrectly done postures can worsen not only back pain but can give rise over time to other problems as well. Some asanas that are relatively easy to perform and are specially beneficial for back pain and digestion are Vajrasana, Vírasana, Bhujangasana, Ardhamatsyendrasana, Sarvangasana, Yashtikasana, Shavasana, all forms of Talasana, Dhanurvakrasana, and Matsyasana. Always train with a good teacher—it is important to find a teacher who will first ask you about your health condition before recommending any asana, and explains in detail the breathing technique for each asana.
You may find other exercise modalities useful as well, such as Tai Chi and other oriental forms, pilates, and so on. Always find a teacher who ascertains the health condition of the client before beginning instruction—that is a good rule of thumb to identify a competent teacher.
Diet and exercise are not just critical but sufficient to get rid of back pain permanently in the vast majority of cases. The only exceptions I can think of are accidents that have physically broken or damaged the spine in a way that requires medical attention for immediate control of the situation. In whichever case, a proper diet will go a long way in accelerating one’s recovery from crisis; and then at the earliest possible time, a thorough colon cleanse and appropriate exercise are necessary to complete the process of recovery and regain good health.Endnotes:
[i] This is why practically all cultures of the world have developed some form of probiotic foods as part of their regular diet. Examples are yogurt and buttermilk in the Indian subcontinent, kefir in Caucasian societies, saur kraut in Germanic cultures, kimchi, miso, and kombucha tea in Korea, Japan and other oriental societies, and cheese and other fermented foods in Europe, North America and other parts of the Globe.
[ii] This process is called putrefaction. The conversion of proteins by lactobacteria also produces gases (non-odorous) in a process of fermentation. Thus odorless gas is normal while odorous gas is a sure sign of an unclean colon.
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