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Spondylolisthesis - Symptoms, Causes, and Ayurvedic Treatment

Dr.C Manoj Kumar,Chief Physician, Nagarjuna Ayurvedic Centre Kalady, Kerala


This is a condition where the vertebra at the lower back level displace over the next below vertebra. It usually happens at L5-S1 level. Trauma, degeneration, defect or fracture in the pedicle of the vertebra and congenital abnormality are the reasons for this condition. Displacement can happen forward, backward and sideways. Based on the degree of displacement, it can be classified into 5.

Ayurveda includes this condition under Kateegraham and is considered as a Vata disorder. The trauma, fracture etc leads to displacement of vertebrae leading to Vata aggravation. This in turn will result in localized pain, stiffness, restricted movements of low back, pain radiating to the thighs etc. The treatment approachis to manage the symptoms conservatively and to prevent further displacement. Therapies are done in different phases for this condition. Phase one is to reduce the inflammation in and around the affected area. This will relax the stiff muscles and relive the pain and the restricted joint movement.

This phase will be followed by the therapies to reinforce the core structures, muscles and ligaments, supporting the vertebral column. Appropriate treatment, both internal and external, are selected after a detailed consultation. Massage of the whole body with selected medicated oils, massage with herbal powder bag (podi kizhi) heated in the appropriate warm medicated oil, massage with herbal leaf bag (ela kizhi) dipped in warm medicated oil, pouring medicated oil all over the body (pizhichil) , cooked medicated rice bag massage (njavara kizhi), keeping medicated oil pool on the affected area (kati vasti), application of the herbal paste on low back, bandage of the low back with medicated oil, enema with herbal decoction and/or medicated oil are the procedures usually performed in the management of these condition. There may be slight variation depending upon the condition.

Ayurvedic procedures like Njavara kizhi and Kati basthy have very remarkable impact on strengthening the muscles and ligaments supporting the spine. These procedures help in arresting the deterioration and progress to advanced stages thereby helping the patient avoid surgical intervention.

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