Sciatica Herbal Treatment
Sciatica is the an abnormal pain and difficulty observed along the sciatic nerve due to any sort of irritation or compression of the same. Pain, stiffness, numbness, burning pain are some of the symptoms of sciatica. Sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It starts from the lumbar area. Five nerve roots from the lumbar are a arise and unite together to form the sciatic nerve. It again gets separated at different level of the leg to supply different area.
- What is Sciatica?
- What is sciatica symptoms?
- What are Sciatica Causes?
- What causes sciatica?
- What is sciatica treatment?
Sciatica in Ayurveda- Gridgrasi
According to Ayurveda the Indian system of medicine the disease is compared with Gridhrasi. The word Gridhrasi is derived from Gridhra i.e. Eagle. A sciatica patient walks like a gridhra or Eagle. Sciatica or Gridhrasi is a condition where dysfunction of Vata affect the sciatic nerve characterized by stiffness in buttock, pinning pain, radiating pain from hip to leg. The radiation takes place along the back of the thigh and outer border of ankle, foot and toes. Stiffness and impairment of lifting thigh also observed in this case.
It is observed that the incidence of low back pain with sciatica is 30% to 90% with a world wide prevalence. Unfortunately it takes place during the age of 30 to 50. And that is the most productive period of a human being. 25% loss of productivity takes place due to back pain.
The concept of low back pain and leg pain is not new. It is too old a concept. Description of the same is available in Atharva Veda, Bible and also in the works of Shakespeare.
The methods of treatment are many varying from exercise to rest, manipulation of discs, muscles, joints to immobilization. Also the healing person to treat the disease are numerous. They include medicine/ orthopedic medicine or surgery doctors, chiropractor, physiotherapist, Ayurveda doctor (Vaidya) and many alternative medicine therapists. Also Yoga for sciatica is a hot topic.
Modern medicine treatment is restricted to analgesic and bed rest. Analgesic drugs do have lots of side effects.
It is remarked that once a low back pain, the life time a low back pain. But it can be proved wrong by Ayurveda treatment in most of the cases. Ayurveda tries to mange the disease and takes care of the spine, vertebral disc and the sciatic nerve.
Ayurveda nourishes the sciatic nerve, tone the lumbar and thigh muscles, prevents compression and boosts immunity to prevent different pathogenesis behind sciatic nerve pain.
Low back pain, stretching pain at the back of the leg, hip pain that radiates to lower part of the leg are some of the Sciatica symptoms. The symptoms of sciatica are many. Multiple sciatica symptoms or a single can be observed with a sciatica patient. According to Ayurveda sciatica is narrated as Gridhrasi. Gridhrasi means ” walking like a vulture”. Normally sciatica affects either of the legs. So the sciatica patient has to walk in limping mode. This walk imitates the walk of the vulture, the “Gridhra”. So sciatica is called Gridhrasi in Ayurveda.
Low Back Pain: Low back pain is one of the frequent Sciatica symptoms. It aggravates on prolonged standing or sitting. Low back ache is observed when sciatica comes as a complication of prolapsed intervertebral disc (PIVD).
Hip Pain: The complain of hip pain takes place when there is a spine compression or the sciatic nerve is compressed at the sciatic notch. The pain is constant and is observed at one side of the buttock. It aggravates on exposure to extreme cold. Also mountain trekking or climbing steps are some of the trigger factors of sciatica.
Radiating Pain: The pain that occurs at the low back or the buttock radiates to the back of the thigh and the lower leg through the course of the sciatic nerve. The pain may subside when patient lie on a flat bed.
Different Types of Pain: The nature of the pain vary from person to person. It may be shooting/ stretching/ cramping/ pricking/ throbbing type.
Weakness: Weakness in the leg may be observed. It prevents free movement of the leg. Sometimes it create a disability in the activity of the affected leg.
Burning sensation: Burning sensation takes place when any root of the sciatica nerve is compressed. Because compression of sciatica nerve gives rise to secretion of a chemical.
Numbness: This sciatica symptom takes place in advanced stage of PIVD or sciatica.
Sciatic Nerve is the composed bundle of five nerve roots. Two nerves from lumbar spines L4 and L5 and Sacrom S1, S2 and S3 make a bundle to form sciatic nerve. When any of the sciatic nerve root is compressed, that gives rise to symptoms of sciatica. The sciatica symptoms are different for “nerve root compression” at different level.
Sciatica from L4 Nerve root Compression:
Weakness during straightening the leg.
Knee jerk reflex is diminished.
Sciatica from L5 Nerve root Compression:
Pain radiates upto ankle joint or Big toe.
Pain or numbness at the upper side of the foot mostly in between the big toe and the next finger.
Sciatica from S1 Nerve root Compression:
Pain and numbness at the outer side of foot.
Little toe or toes are affected.
Ankle jerk reflex is reduced.
Difficult to raise the heel or stand on the tip of the toes.
When more than one nerve root is compressed mixed sciatica symptoms are observed.
Sciatica causes are Numerous. First we will like to enlist the causes of sciatica. They can be classified into different groups.
Due to primary involvement of nerve.
- 2. Arsenic poisoning
- 3. Lead poisoning.
- 1.Focal sepsis
- 2. Rheumatism
- 3. Syphylis
- 4. Post herpetic neurologic
- Avitaminosis like Calcium deficiency
- Due to aging, Extra use of lumbar spine and hip joint.
Sciatica Causes from secondary nerve involvement.
A. Intra spinal compression
- Prolapsed intervertebral disc (PIVD)
- Trauma, injury, stress, strain
- Intervertebral foramen compression
- Neuro fibroma.
- Spondylolisthesis, spondylosis, osteoarthritis etc.
- Vertebral Disease- Tumour, Meningioma, Tuberculosis
- Intraspinal tumour
- Post traumatic arachnoiditis.
- Intrathecal Ingection
B. Extra Spinal Causes
- Compression within the pelvis of buttock
- Pelvic inflammation, Malignancy etc
- Extra pelvic factors like trauma, hip dislocation etc.
Sciatica Causes should be identified to prevent the disease, and cure the patient.
What Causes Sciatica?
” What causes Sciatica ” is a burning question among the patients, doctors and the therapists. Because sciatica is a disease related to spine and nerve. Sometimes it behaves like an independent disease. Sometimes it is seen as the complication of another disease or deformity. Sciatica takes place due to the irritation of the sciatic nerve. At another side the sciatic nerve roots get compressed by the prolapsed intervertebral disc (PIVD) or spine compression. Then it gets irritated. So either way irritation of sciatic nerve is the reason behind what causes sciatica.
Causes of Sciatica
When the students in the Ancient Ayurveda Gurukul ask the Guru ” What Causes Sciatica “, the guru says the causes can be classified into two. They are-
- Sannikrishta Nidana- Near or self reason of the disease
Viprakrishta Nidana- Distant or remote reason of the disease
Before we move ahead for detail discussion, we should discuss the types of sciatica. According to Ayurvedic concept sciatica is of two types from dosha point of view. They are
- Vataja Gridhrasi (Vataja Sciatica)
- Vata Kaphaja Gridhrasi ( Vata Kaphaja Sciatica)
Dosha is the active principle that upholds the body in a balanced state. The derailed and imbalanced dosha causes disease. Vata, Pitta and Kapha are three doshas. They can get aggravated individually or in groups.
a. Aahara (Dietic factors):
Diet possessing the properties of ruksha (ununctuous), seeta (cool), laghu (light) and tastes like bitter, astringent, pungent aggravates vata. Insufficient or excessive diet, frequent fasting, repeated intake of food, intake of diet while thirsty, drinking water while hungry, excessive intake of dried food, aggravates vata what causes sciatica. Excessive intake of green gram (Mung dal), Massor dal, bengal gram (Arhad dal), Chana, Chhole, Horse gram, dry fish, dry meat, cold drink, baked food etc are behind the causes of sciatica.
b. Vihara (Behavioural Factors)
Excessive or wrong practice of jumping, running, skipping, walking, swimming, cause excessive strain to hand, leg, feet and lumbar region. Excessive load lifting, climbing mountain or stare case, biking, practicing wrestling causes strain to chest, low back and spinal column. Long standing and sitting habit, wrong standing, sitting and sleeping habit exaggerates Vata What Causes Sciatica.
Even massage which is considered to be good may harm the health of sciatic nerve if taken frequently and excessively. Suppression of natural urge like sleep, urine, faeces, semen, vomit, sneezing, tear etc aggravates Vata dosha and causes sciatica.
c. Climate and Season:
Excessive exposure to air, cold climate, rainy and summer season, cloudy atmosphere causes sciatica.
d. Improper Treatment:
Improper or excessive practice of Ayurveda Panchakarma over a patient aggravates Vata dosha and may land him with sciatica.
e. Psychological factor:
Worry, grief, anger, fear, anxiety, timidity and tension aggravates vata to cause different nerve diseases. Sciatica is one of them.
Falling from height, road traffic accident, excessive hemorrhage of blood, emaciation due to prolonged illness, poison, anemia may cause sciatica.
Aging is the reason behind the gradual degeneration of bone, disc, sciatic nerve etc. Old age and tissue degeneration aggravates Vata and cause sciatica.
The above mentioned factors aggravate Vata dosha to give rise to sciatica. Similarly there are some activities which aggravate Kapha with reference to the above mentioned factors.
Sciatica Ayurvedic Treatment
Sciatica ayurvedic treatment includes five or more options for a temporary sciatica pain relief. A long standing cure of sciatica is also possible by a guided food habit, life style and medicament and Ayurveda Panchakarma treatment. After all the options include-
- Surgery- Surgery is not a very good option, as most of the time surgery is performed close to the spinal chord.
- Non surgical manipulation
- Alternative medicine.
- Folk medicine
- Home remedies etc.
Although Ayurvedic treatment comes under alternative medicine, it has its own stance in the field of treatment of sciatica.
Sciatica Natural Home Remedies
In modern medicine system, oral medicines are prescribed. They include NSAID ( non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs), analgesic, muscle relaxant, steroids etc.
The local therapy includes heat to cold fomentation, chiropractics etc. Sciatica Ayurvedic Treatment
Folk medicines and home remedies for sciatica are numerous, like taking garlic, Turmeric, castor oil, local bandage of leaves, oil massage etc. Sciatica Ayurvedic Treatment
Physiotherapy is also a good option. But it has its own limitation. It is a non medicinal treatment. Breaking the pathogenesis of the disease is not possible with physiotherapy only. However it is one of the best complementary to any sciatica treatment
Sciatica Ayurvedic Treatment
Ayurvedic treatment for sciatica gives stress over pacification of Vata dosha. The treatment includes analysis and assessment of
- Site of involvement
- Associated dushya (affected tissues)
- Status of Vata
- Prakriti (Nature of patient)
- Physical and Mental Strength
- Adaptability (Acceptability)
The treatment is comprised of food habit, life style, medicament, therapy etc. Balancing the imbalanced dosha and pacifying the symptoms of sciatica is achieved. The syndromes and complications of sciatica are also manged.
The younger the patient, the fresher the disease, the better is the result of Ayurveda Panchakarma treatment. As soon as the symptoms manifested, the treatment should be started. Otherwise that leads to an advanced stage with numbers of complications. A quick ayurvedic treatment prevents the prolapse of the intervertebral disc PIVD and restores the health.
Mostly non-surgical treatment is adopted by Ayurveda for the sciatica treatment. Sometimes blood letting therapy is advised for the same.
Sciatica Treatment at Kulung Ayurveda
Kulung Ayurveda is a specialized Ayurvedic hospital for Joint care and Neuro Care. We provide a protocol based Ayurvedic treatment for sciatica. For that the patient has to come to the hospital with a prior appoint. He should get all his previous treatment records with him. At the out patient department he has to meet the doctor for consultation. He may be advised for internal medicine or Ayurveda Panchakarma treatment.