Lumbago, the uncommon name for a very common ailment, affects one out of every four people in the United States. Even more surprisingly, one out of eight of our nation's people loses work time due to this problem. Who would think that low back pain could become so pervasive or so serious?
But the answer to the preponderance of a seemingly simple ailment may lie, according to the information in Cayce's readings, in a misunderstanding of the causes of low back pain. Usually an individual afflicted with low back pain will rack his brain to determine what could have caused a back strain, or what old injury might be making itself felt again. Yet in the 49 lumbago cases for which Cayce gave readings, only once did he trace the primary cause of pain to back strain. In all others he noted that pain was arising in this area from factors increasing the general toxicity of the entire body system, with the resulting toxins settling primarily, in these cases, in the low back regions.
Specifically, in 26 of 49 cases, Cayce stressed poor eliminations, particularly slowed or incomplete eliminations of the colon tract, as the primary cause of the lumbago. In these cases he often described a situation where the body's general lymph circulation (important in the drainage of cell wastes) was slowed, causing an engorgement of the intestinal tract and thus poor eliminations. Or he would mention colon pockets or prolapse ('dropping') of a part of the colon as interfering with elimination and therefore creating a toxic situation.
The second most commonly given cause (13 cases) was due to infection or adhesions in some part of the body. Here the infectious or scarred organ would give rise to an increase of mucous, the body's natural fluid to help soothe irritated tissues and provide a medium for bacteria-scavenging white blood cells; however, the excess mucous would actually serve as a carrier for toxins. Those parts slightly genetically weaker than others would naturally be susceptible first to the spread of the toxic irritation. Cayce named infections in the upper respiratory tract, teeth, and nose (nasal catarrh), or adhesions in the pelvic organs, all as having been initial causes of lumbago.
The third and fourth most frequently given causes, incoordination or unbalancing in the circulatory or nervous systems (5 cases), and overtaxation or overwork (4 cases), were often explained as going hand in hand with the first two causes. In the cases of incoordination it was sometimes difficult to tell which cause actually came first: the unbalancing in these systems leading to general toxic build-up and decreased eliminations, or toxicity creating the circulatory and nervous imbalances. For further discussion of incoordination and unbalancing of the nervous system, see Dr. William McGarey's excellent book, Edgar Cayce on Healing.
Finally, in reading 2533-3, Cayce gave the fifth named cause of lumbago as being "by a wrench or by a fall...".
A seemingly greatly varied and unique collection of treatments listed in Cayce's readings for lumbago become systematic and clear when we examine them from the standpoint of the causes cited for this ailment. The rationale behind the various treatment approaches can be reduced to two primary aims: to detoxify the body, and to balance body structure with the nervous system.
Detoxification was accomplished by balancing the body's chemical system and by removing toxins from the body. Thus many remedies were recommended (overall in these a total of 48 times) which would neutralize acid toxins and encourage a better alkaline-acid balance (usually more alkaline-producing compounds were needed), such as Milk of Magnesia, Eno salts, Castoria, or Syrup of Figs. These would also help increase eliminations since they were natural laxatives. Minute doses of Atomidine, taken in cycles, was another treatment suggested 8 times to promote chemical balance by its renewing effect on the glands of the body. [Atomidine when taken internally should be used on the advice of a physician]. Other remedies taken orally would help remove toxins by chemical attraction as the recommended preparation moved through the alimentary tract and out through the bowel. For instance, Cayce said (348-19), "Bismuth is that which absorbs poisons and Magnesia produces an alkalinity in the system." At times external treatments were also given to facilitate the neutralization and elimination of toxins by local application to the low back area itself. Packs of many kinds, especially hot salt, or castor oil or Camphoderm [equal combination of Mutton Tallow (melted), Turpentine and Spirits of Camphor] were thus indicated (19 times).
The balancing of the body structure with the nervous system was accomplished primarily by spinal adjustments. Adjustments osteopathically or chiropractically, and neuropathically, or manipulations of other kinds, like massage, were the single most recommended treatment (25 times) in the 49 cases. Violet ray over the lumbar area (indicated 11 times) or the use of an electrically-driven vibrator over the whole spine (prescribed 9 times in 3 cases) would also have helped energize the nervous system.
[NOTE: The above commentary was written by Thomas F. Florian, D.C. & Charlotte Lauda and is included in the Circulating File for Lumbago.]