These are among the most inconclusive symptoms of bodily disorders. Backaches may arise from nervous tension, rheumatism, kidney disorders, constipation, colds, foot trouble, insomnia and many more conditions. Here it is important to understand the nature of the pain and any accompanying symptoms. I prescribe, those complaining of backaches were placed upon non-stimulating diets and daily sun-baths with frequent hot compresses upon the affected area until a complete diagnosis could be made.
Where the patient complained of pains in the lower area of the back, on both sides of the spinal column, the kidney, colon or nervous system was invariably found to be the point of danger. In the case of kidney or colon disorders, a day of fasting was prescribed, accompanied by enemas (one quart, 8o°, twice daily) and an increased intake of liquids (fruit juices, vegetable broth and water, total of three quarts daily). The hot compresses and sun-baths were continued and a shirt-pack (a shirt of absorbent material, dipped in warm, 85° water) applied before retiring.
Where the patient indicated symptoms of a nervous disposition, the backache was generally found to be induced by the central disorder of the nerves. Here the treatment of mind and body together was considered primary, in keeping with the adage “A healthy mind in a healthy body”. The accompanying symptoms were frequently deceiving, since the patient suffering from acute nervousness may display signs of various conditions which are but surface symptoms. He or she may have false palpitations, though the heart proves to be in excellent condition. The patient may complain of dizziness and unnatural periods of perspiration and overheating, though his or her blood pressure be normal, no trace of anaemia, eye or brain disorder present, no apparent cause for fevers, etc.
Where acute nervousness and tension are responsible for the pains, the backache can be temporarily alleviated but final relief lies in the return to and maintenance of a healthy mind and body. Here the backache is symptomatic and treating the symptom is never a successful attack upon the cause of the disorder. However, where the symptom is painful and conducive to further mental strain, it actually contributes to the cause. This is often the case among nervous people. In effect, they induce bodily disorders through the strain upon mind and soul, and the bodily disorders then become a cause for worry that increases the original nervous tension. Here is another cycle, but not one of nature’s doing.
Frequent cold-water baths (6o°), back affusions, cold neck compresses and air-baths were prescribed for the nervous backache. Massage proved particularly useful in these cases, with the area of concentration being the lower spinal area, smilingly referred to as the tail-bone. In many such cases, the mere touch of the fingers to this area, where nerve lines come together in a kind of message-centre, produced remarkable relief. Kneading the entire spinal column, the trunk of these nerve lines, and stimulating the system through open-handed or slapping strokes, were found soothing. Fountain of Youth Cocktail was also prescribed.
In all painful conditions resulting from chronic nervous tension, massage has proved effective. The combination of sun-baths, hot compresses, diathermy (electronic heat treatments) and massage is particularly beneficial. However, there is a tendency on the part of many to separate massage or chiropractic (massage therapy) from the whole area of natural healing and to expand upon the importance of this one element. There is no one cure-all in nature. Any attempt to replace all of nature’s agents with excessive stress upon one area of natural therapy, be it massage, diet, sun-bathing or any other, is a rejection of the total power of nature.
The rheumatically induced backache is generally diagnosed through similar rheumatic pains in other areas of the body. It can be assumed that backaches which come and go with extreme temperature and humidity changes, exposure to cold, damp weather without benefit of stimulating and warming exercise, are rheumatic in origin.
Backaches resulting from localized colds or constipation were treated differently for those specific causes. Colds that were localized in this area were treated with the general cold therapy, special stress being placed upon sun-bathing, hot compresses and the full pack, which was administered nightly until the patient was sufficiently relieved. Massage proved effective in the case of constipation induced backaches and daily exercises to induce elimination also helped to remove the painful pressure in the lower spinal area.
Most people find it difficult to understand how backaches may arise from foot trouble. It must be explained that the spinal column receives daily punishment from the jouncing flat-footed walk of those who suffer from various foot disorders. The torture boxes within which modern men and women imprison their feet can be held responsibly not only for most of the foot trouble of our times, but also for many of the backaches. A daily barefoot tour in garden, yard or field, or even upon the cold tiles of your bathroom, is the first step in reclaiming your foot health. Hot foot-baths and massage of the feet and calves, plus a return to natural living have proved their worth countless times in repairing those ravages wrought by man upon himself. Above all, discard your shoes whenever possible. There is no need at all for wearing shoes at home and the sensible person will forget the silly convention that force these destructive devices upon him sixteen hours a day.