MANAGING SCIATICA WITH AYURVEDA
Sciatica pain is one of the most common disorders these days, causing severe pain in the lower back. Sciatica means pain that branches out along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Often, sciatica involves only one side of the body.
What are the causes of sciatica?
It is said that 90 percent of sciatica cases are related to a herniated disk. Some of the common causes include
- Wearing high heels
- Lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal cord)
- Spinal injury or infection
- Herniated disk
- Obesity or overweight
- Sleeping on a too-soft mattress
- Degenerative disc disease
- Irregular positions or wrong exercises
Sciatica pain is characterized by pain starting from the lower back to the toe. The pain starts at the lower back, and it travels through the buttocks, inside of the thigh to toe. Often the pain is present in the right or left side of the body. Rarely, it can affect both sides, too. Besides causing severe discomfort, it can hamper daily life and work. The pain aggravates while sitting and working on a computer, bending over, walking, coughing, and driving a vehicle.
Though pain, the first symptom of sciatica, indicates nerve irritation or inflammation, a sharp, burning, or searing pain may be felt, too. Patients often complain of shooting pain, throbbing or pulsating pain, a constant dull ache, and sometimes an occasional discomfort.
When the sciatic nerve is compressed, one or more neurological symptoms may accompany the pain. Some people feel a weakness in the thigh muscles. When the thigh muscles are affected, patients feel weakness while trying to bring the thighs together.
Some patients report weakness in the leg and foot muscles due to sciatica. When the leg muscles are affected, it can cause weakness while attempting to bend the knee or point the foot or toes upward or downward. It can cause difficulty in lifting the front part of the foot while walking. There may also be trouble in rising from a sitting position.
If untreated, sciatica can cause numbness of the calf, heel, and sole of the top of the foot. The loss of sensation happens as the nerve impulses cannot pass through the sciatic nerve.
In some cases, sciatic patients complain of tingling, an abnormal sensation on the skin. It happens due to improper nerve conduction.
How does Ayurveda help in managing sciatica pain?
While hot packs and ice packs are common home remedies to manage the pain, Ayurveda can help reduce the pain and get back to normalcy. Alternating heat and ice therapy are used to get relief from sciatic nerve pain. While ice helps reduce inflammation, heat improves the blood flow to the painful area to speed up healing.
Ayurveda uses a combination of medications, physical therapy, and yoga to manage sciatica.
Ayurveda Massage Therapy
Ayurveda prescribes massage therapy that includes Sarvangadhara, Abhyanga, Swedana, Vasti, Pathrapotali swedana, among others, to relax the nerve and muscles.
Ayurvedic uses herbs to eliminate the toxic build-up in the body. The digestive herbs that are used in it help restore proper digestion. Medicated oils are applied to soothe the sciatic nerve. Panchakarma and massage therapies are said to be effective in reducing the pain of sciatica.
Apart from medicines, external oil applications can stimulate your body’s strength. All you need to do is find the right, qualified Ayurveda therapist or consult an Ayurvedic doctor.