As published in the September 2015 issue of Vitality Magazine
The past sixteen months have brought me the highest number yet of people seeking help with lower back pain and injuries. At first, the condition and the timing seemed to be a simple coincidence; then it occurred to me that I too had injured my lower back prior to this sixteen month period. Was I being given the opportunity to pay attention and pay it forward?
Adrian’s back made a cracking noise and seized up as he bent forward to plug in his computer. In the preceding eight years, Adrian had strained his back a few times each year as a result of lifting boxes, moving the wrong way, and sleeping in the wrong position.
On each occasion, Adrian consulted his General Practitioner who prescribed anti-inflammatory medication plus pain killers. As a result, the problem would subside, then reoccur a few months later.
Following his four week disability leave, Adrian returned to work where he was allocated restricted duties and advised to take things easy. Unfortunately, shortly after his return to work his foot slipped down a pothole in the parking lot and he re-injured his back. This exacerbated his recovering back problem.
In severe discomfort and unable to continue working, Adrian was sent home in a taxi. This episode was the most severe and it prevented him from driving, sleeping, and climbing stairs; it also restricted his daily activities.
After sitting in my office for a short while, Adrian asked if we could continue our conversation with him lying on the floor. This, apparently, was the most comfortable position for his back. Adrian’s burning pain, while sitting or walking, got progressively worse. His back felt weak and he complained of occasional numbness in his feet.
Adrian would doze off for short periods, then wake up startled out of sleep several times a night. He had restless legs and burning soles. Consuming even the smallest amount of alcohol triggered headaches. He was sensitive to loud noises and he felt better in moderate to cool temperatures.
During our consultation, it was revealed that Adrian’s chronic lower back troubles dated all the way back to his teenage years, shortly after his parents had divorced. He admitted to having trouble expressing his feelings and he often felt resentful in his relationships as a result.
Gathering information from a patient is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. When all the pieces come together, a suitable homeopathic remedy reveals itself. In Adrian’s case the remedy was Zincum Metallicum. A few doses of the remedy helped quicken his recovery. Adrian reported better sleep and a stronger back. It has now been one year since Adrian last sprained his back and his improvement has been steady.
Lumbago, or lower back pain, can originate in the muscles, nerves, bones, or joints. It accounts for a large percentage of doctor visits as well as disability cases in the workplace. Causes can include:
• Muscle and ligament strain – from heavy lifting, overexertion, sudden or improper movements, pregnancy and childbirth, poor posture, etc.
• Stress and emotional causes (such as anger, depression)
• Inherent weakness in lower back / abdominal muscles
• Herniated disk (aka bulging or ruptured disk) – Disks act as cushions between vertebrae in the spine. The soft material inside a disk can bulge or rupture and press on a nerve, causing pain.
• Skeletal irregularities, such as scoliosis, where the spine curves to one side. Severe cases can cause back pain.
Pain does not always reflect the extent of damage. In some cases, the severity of pain in the lower back area can be unrelated to the extent of physical damage present. For example, a simple pulled muscle in the lower back can cause excruciating pain that can limit one’s ability to walk, while a herniated disc may be completely painless.
All cases of back pain require thorough evaluation by a trained medical professional to rule out serious causes, and to assess the risk of neurological damage.
Once a medical evaluation has been done, treatment with classical homeopathy can offer lasting improvement and freedom from relapses. In addition, homeopathy can stabilize the underlying mechanical and emotional imbalances.
In homeopathy, the vital force is recognized as the body’s own healing power; the force or energy responsible for the healthy functioning of the organism as well as for coordinating its defenses against disease. Disease results when this force is disturbed by stress, a poor diet, lack of exercise, heredity, or environmental factors. The homeopathic remedy enhances the vital force to assist the organism to heal itself and restore balance. A balanced organism is a strong organism, and one that is less susceptible to illness.
Symptoms of illness, such as back pain, are the outward manifestations of the vital force’s attempt to overcome the imbalance and restore health. This imbalance can consist of both physical and emotional factors combined.
To ensure that the vital force responds in the most effective manner, homeopaths must choose a remedy that matches, as accurately as possible, the symptoms of the main complaint as well as the overall physical and emotional states of the patient.
When seeking homeopathic help for the root cause of any ailment, you are embarking on a healing journey for your mind, body, and spirit. This is the reason that a homeopathic assessment takes into account the person’s character, personality, temperament, food cravings, sleep habits, stress level, lifestyle, and family medical history (to name just a few factors). Gathering the pertinent pieces of information enables a homeopath to prescribe the best remedy in the most appropriate potency.
Undergoing physical changes during pregnancy can trigger lower back pain. The expanding uterus causes weakness in the abdominal muscles, which can contribute to compromised posture and strain on the back. In addition, the extra weight means more work for the muscles, and increased stress on the joints.
Back pain can also be further exacerbated by a long and difficult labour. In most cases, shortly after childbirth the pelvic and back muscles regain their strength and tone. Jessie was not one of those women. Almost one year following the birth of her second child, she continued to suffer with lower back pain and weakness, as well as a sore, bruised feeling in her uterus. In addition to this, her last pregnancy left Jessie with varicose veins, wrist pain, and painful cysts on her back.
Based on all of Jessie’s symptoms and complaints, I selected the remedy Bellis Perennis. “I feel like my old self again” was Jessie’s comment, two months following the treatment with this remedy.
A Young Person with Lower Back Pain<
Kirstin’s problem started with slight stiffness in her right hip, which she ignored. Then, a few months later, it escalated to an achy, stiff lower back. Shortly after that, her back seized up as she was lifting groceries out of her car. She could not move at all without unbearable pain, and had to stay in a hunched-over position for five minutes until the pain subsided enough for her to straighten up.
“This is something old people get!” Kirstin complained, while describing her second bout of lower back strain in less than six months. The 27 year old described herself as being relatively healthy, with the exception of seasonal allergies and sinus troubles.
When questioned, she mentioned having anxiety but made it clear it was not her focus, and that she was seeing a psychologist to address “the emotional stuff”.
The selected homeopathic remedy Rhus Toxicodendron suited Kirstin’s specific type of pain; a few doses of this remedy resolved the problem. Kirstin was surprised to report feeling stronger emotionally. Her allergies improved and she enjoyed deeper sleep.
Prolonged periods of negative thinking and emotions can weaken our physical body, causing all sorts of ailments, including back pain. If you experience chronic back pain, or you habitually strain your back, be curious about what may be the emotional cause of your weakened lower back.
While treating my own back pain, I became aware of the underlying emotional issue needing resolution. I also discovered back strengthening exercises and began rebuilding my core strength.
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