Sciatica

Ever wake up feeling agonizing pain all the way from your upper thighs to your feet? & this pain is so excruciating and debilitating that you don’t even want to get off  from your bed.  It won’t seem to go  no matter what you try? This is sciatic nerve pain, also called sciatica, which causes painful throbbing in the lower back and limbs.

The problem all starts in the lower spine and can come and go, but one thing’s usually certain — when sciatic nerve pain rears its ugly head, you’re dealing with a whole lot of discomfort that can quickly ruin your day.

What is SCAITIC PAIN?

A Bundle of Nerves originates from both sides of the Spinal Cord in the Lumbar Spine (Lower Back). These Nerves come together & form a single Nerve which runs through our Hips & travels down through the backside of our Thighs, our Calves till our Feet.

This Nerve is called the SCIATIC NERVE, which is our body’s LONGEST Nerve & its function is to Control the Movements & the Sensations of our Legs.

When this Sciatic Nerve is Irritated or Compressed, it gets Inflamed & its functions get affected & we experience Pain in our Lower Back &/or whole Leg or some specific parts. Usually, one Leg is affected & there may or may not be Pain in Lower Back.

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Symptoms, Precautions & Treatments

स्फिक्पूर्वाकटिपृष्टीरुझानु जङ्घा पदं। क्रमात् गृढ्रसि स्तम्भरुक्तोदैर्गृह्णाति स्पन्दतं मुहुः।

वाताद्वातकफातन्द्रा गौरवारोचकान्विता॥(च चि २८/५६)   

  • Pain spreading from hip , gluteal region , thighs , knees , legs and to the feet
  • Spandana – pulsating type of pain
  • Ruk – pain
  • Toda vicchinam  shoolam –Intermittent pain similar to the feeling of pin prick .
  • Stambana – Stiffness or rigidity at thigh and legs
  • Utkshepana – Lifting of legs is difficult
  • In Ayurveda , Gridrasi is divided in to two types – Vataja & Vatakaphaja
  • Vataja  types includes symptoms like suptata (Numbness), Dehasya Vakrata (body is bent towards one side while walking)
  • Kati and janu sandhi spuranam – Numbness in low back , and knees
  • Vatakaphaja type includes – drowsiness , Lack of strength in legs , Gauravata – Heaviness  in body ;Arochaka – Anorexia.

Sciatic pain starts in the low back and buttocks. It affects one leg traveling down the back of the thigh, past the knee, and sometimes into the calf and foot. The pain feels worse in the leg than in the back. It may range from a mild ache to severe burning or a shooting pain. Numbness or tingling (pins-and-needles) sensation, numbness or weakness or a prickling  sensation can occur in your leg and foot.

Sciatica can be caused by a number of conditions that irritate or compress the sciatic nerve:

  • Bulging or Rupture of a Spinal Disc in Lower Back is the most common cause, it is medically known as Lumbar Disc Herniation.
  • Muscle Spasm in Lower Back
  • Narrowing of the Spinal Canal (tunnel inside the Spinal Column through which the Spinal Cord runs down from our Brain) in the Lower Back, which is known as Lumbar Spinal Stenosis.
  • Breakdown & Degeneration of Spinal Disc, which is called Degenerative Disc Disease(DDD).
  • One Vertebra (Spinal Bone) Slipping forward over the other causing Spinal Misalignment, it is called Spondylolisthesis.
  • Spinal Trauma or Injury.
  • Spinal Tumor.
  • Spinal Infection.
  • Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Dysfunction.

Ayurveda Causes are mentioned below:

Intake of foods which increases vata like , Chanaki (Bengal gram ), masura (red lentil ), Adhaki (Pigeon pea), kalaya (peanut), Nispava (flat bean),

  • Alasya (sedentary life)
  • Prapatana (Fall , injury )
  • Bhagna – Fractures
  • Kshaya – Depletion of tissues
  • Jaagarat – Awakening at night
  • Veganam cha vidharaneeyat – suppression of natural urges
  • Shaityadi- Excessive consumption of cold foods & activites
  • Ruksh ahara – Consumption of dry foods
  • Kashaya , katu , tikta atisevana – Excessive consumption of astringent , bitter and pungent foods
  • Prakriti analysis of the patient
  • BAHYA CHIKITSA : (EXTERNAL TREATMENT)

Abhyanga – means performing massage, massage of afflicted part or joint with herbal oils  with Mahanaryana taila , Kottamchukkadi taila , Dhanwantaram taila , Ksheera bala taila etc

Svedana- (Fomentation/Sudation)It is type of treatment where
sweating is induced , usually done after Abhyanga or Snehana , among which includes , Nadi sweda , Pinda sweda.

 Dhara /seka /Pizhichil : Pouring of medicated liquids in steams with gentle stroking for a fixed duration .

Kati basti : Warm , medicated liquids are poured for particular time duration within a compartment made at lower back .

Upanaha – Upanaha means poultices using dry powders

  • ABHYANTARA CHIKITSA (INTERNAL TREATMENT ):

Snehana : Intake of medicated oils /ghee

Shodana :                     

Mrudu Virechana : is given after the Snehana  &  Svedana .

Vasti – means medicated enemas , for vitiated vata given with kashaya or using oils /ghee.

Siravyada /Raktamokshana – (Blood letting), Blood letting procedure is extraction of impure blood which decreases the tension in nerves , Adviced to be done above knee joint.

Agni karma – (Cautery )- can also be adopted

  • Conservative line of management is followed , if patient is not fit for panchakarma , using ,Yogaraj Guggulu , vishamusti vati , Rasnasaptaka kashaya etc .

Masha (Black gram), Kulttha (Horse gram), Godhuma (Wheat), Ksheera , Grutha – (Milk , Ghee), Mamsa rasa(meat soup), Eranda taila (Castor Oil), Tila taila (sesame oil). Food with Ruksha (Which reduces corpulence ), Avidahi (which are not spicy ), Alavana (not salty), A low fat milk lactovegetarian diet, which favours sweet , bitter and astringent taste .Frequent self massage with oil . Pranayama Yoga

Eranda taila (Castor Oil), Tila taila (sesame oil).Food with Ruksha (Which reduces corpulence ), Avidahi (which are not spicy ), Alavana (not salty), . A low fat milk lactovegetarian diet, which favours sweet , bitter and astringent taste.

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