What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is the pain radiating to the path of the sciatic nerve, which stems in the buttock and gluteal area down towards each leg. This is the strongest, and thickest nerve one has in the body. The sciatic nerve is basically made of five nerve roots - two from the lower back area known as the lumbar spine and three from the final part of the spine called the sacrum. These five roots conjoin to form a left and right sciatic nerve.
On each side of the body, one sciatic nerve runs through the hips, buttocks, and down a leg, going towards the knees, legs, foot, and toes.
Sciatica mostly happens when a herniated disk or bone spur on the spine or narrowing of the spine affects the part of the nerve. The result could be inflammation, pain that often leads to numbness in the affected leg.
Typically, the pain radiates to only one side of the body, which branches from the lower back to the hips and buttocks down each leg.
Although the pain can be intense, it can be addressed with the right non-surgical procedures in a few weeks. People with sciatica may have pain in the leg or weakness or unpleasant tingling pins or needles sensation in the areas around, or changes in bowel or bladder habits.
Signs and Symptoms
Pain that arises due to sciatica may experience pain that radiates from the lower spine to the buttock and down the back of the leg.
The pain may vary in intensity, from a mild ache to a sharp, causing burning or needle sensation along the nerve pathway. You may feel a jolt or electric shock that gets worse when you sneeze or cough.
Sitting continuously in the same posture can cause the pain to aggravate even more. If you try to stand up after continuous hours of sitting or bend or twist the spine, sciatica pain may worsen. In such cases, it is better to lie on the back with the knees elevated using a pillow or lying on the spine with a pillow in between the two legs. This will help ease the pain.
Likely you may also experience numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in the leg or foot, which is affected.
Common causes of sciatica may include:
Lumbar herniated disc
In more than 90% of the cases, sciatica is a result of a lumbar herniated disc. A herniated disc may compress one or more spinal nerve roots that make up the sciatic nerve. This may affect the sciatic nerve in two ways:
First is direction compression due to a bulging of the lumbar disc or the leakage of the soft inner material of the disc to the fibrous outer core that presses against the nerve. Secondly, a chemical from the disc material may spill and cause inflammation in the area around the sciatic nerve.
Lumbar spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is highly common in adults older than 60. It is characterized by the narrowing of the spinal canal.
A decline in the tissues in the lumbar spine can irritate the sciatic nerve. Also, the sciatic nerve may be inflamed because of degeneration in:
Facet joints can cause inflammation in the synovial tissue in the joints and increase in intensity.
Degeneration of vertebral bone may cause abnormal bulky tissues in the lumbar spine and compression of the nerves in the sciatic nerve.
You may have erratic production of inflammatory proteins due to the degeneration of the intervertebral discs that results in inflammation of the sciatic nerve.
Spondylolisthesis is when the bones of the spine slip on another vertebrate. Sciatica is a result of nerve compression after the forward slipping of the bones in the spine. It usually occurs in young adults.
Ayurvedic treatment for sciatica
In Ayurveda, sciatica is known as Gridhrasi, which means eagle. The name is because when someone has sciatica, their walk or gait resembles that of an eagle, and the inflamed nerve acts like an eagle’s beak.
Every disorder in the body is an outcome of imbalanced doshas in Ayurveda. Sciatica, which is the pain in the sciatic nerve, is a result of Vata imbalance. This aggravation of Vata, which is the principal cause of movement and functionality of the body, may result in damage to the sciatic nerve. Kapha is also disturbed, which helps provide lubrication to the body for movement. It is also related to a poorly managed digestive system that allows toxins or Ama to build up in the channels of the body and disintegrate their working.
So the focus of ayurvedic treatment is to restore normal movement by calming or pacifying Vata and Kapha. Ayurveda has herbal concoctions to help the body reach a state of equilibrium along with more herbal procedures and therapies.
The aim of ayurvedic treatment of Sciatic is to eliminate the toxins and regurgitate the digestion process. Mostly, it is toning and demulcent herbs that can soothe the inflammation of internal tissues and sciatic nerves. Therapies like Panchakarma also aid to help the body get rid of toxins.
At AyuKarma, we use a three-step procedure to get away with sciatic- elimination of the waste products, boost the digestive system, and pacify or correct the aggravated doshas to attain natural strength and vitality.
If you want to know how it is done, consult us now.