What is Sciatica?
Sciaticais a common type of pain affecting the sciatic nerve extending from the lower back through hips, buttocks and down each leg. It typically affects only one leg at a time. It occurs commonly when there is any herniated vertebral disc, any bone spur on the vertebral column or there is the narrowing of the spine.
Causes of Sciatica
Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve is pinched usually by the herniated disc or bone spur on the vertebral column. In rare cases, it is seen that the nerve is compressed because of tumors or in diseases like diabetes it is seen more commonly.
There are certain risk factors for sciatica as follows-
- Age – Age-related issues as a herniated spine or bone spur are the most common causes.
- Obesity –Excess body weight can contribute to the stress on the spine which can trigger sciatica.
- Diabetes – in this condition due to nerve damage changes seen commonly, sciatica is seen more frequently.
- Occupation – Occupations which include carrying heavy loads drive a vehicle for a longer period are seen to have chances of getting sciatic pain.
- Prolonged sitting – People who have a sedentary lifestyle or who sit for a longer period are commonly seen affected by sciatica.
- Muscle spasms in the back.
Symptoms of Sciatica
Common symptoms of sciatica include –
- Lower back pain
- Hip pain
- Constant pain on one side of the leg.
- Pain is unbearable making one difficult to stand.
- Tingling pain down the leg.
The Hallmark sign of Sciatica is the pain radiates from your lower spine to your buttock and down the leg. There is discomfort along the nerve pathway.
This pain can vary from a sharp cutting pain to mild pain. It also feels like an electric shock sometimes. Sitting for a prolonged period can aggravate the symptom.
Some of the people have numbness, tingling, or muscle weakness in the affected leg.
Diagnosis for Sciatica
Personal checkups during the routine examination may reveal the condition. There are few imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis as –
- Xray – Xray of the spine is can reveal the bone spur.
- MRI – MRI spine helps to find out the details images of the spine and soft tissues surrounding helping to diagnose the case.
- CT Scan – it is used to do diagnose the case finally.
- EMG (Electromyography) – this test measures the electric impulse produced by nerves and the responses of your muscles.
Conventional Treatment of Sciatica
There are various conventional methods for the treatment of sciatica like as –
- Physiotherapy – it includes exercises to correct the posture, strengthen the muscles supporting the back improving the flexibility.
- Medications – The types of drugs in sciatica are anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxants, narcotics, etc.
- Steroidal Injection is also suggested in some cases where the nerve root is also involved.
- Surgery – it is the option usually reserved for patients when the compressed nerve causes prominent symptoms like loss of bowel or bladder control, or the pain do not subside though taking pain killers. Surgery can remove those bone spurs or the portion of the herniated disk that is pressurizing on the nerve.
Homeopathic remedies for Sciatica
Homeopathy does not treat a symptom but considers the unique set of symptoms as a whole to address the root cause of the problem. The Homeopathic remedies for sciatica are believed to enhance the structure and functions of the nerves. Homeopathic remedies for Sciatica are –
- Hypericum –Studies suggest that this homeopathic remedy may reduce spasms in the lower lumbar region. [Source:]
- Aconitum Napellus – Studies suggest that this homeopathic remedy may possess anti-inflammatory properties. [Source:]
- Colocynthis – Studies suggest that this Homeopathic remedy may relieve the pain caused due to pressure on the nerve ending. [Source:]
Preventive measure for sciatica
Some types of Sciatica like associated with pregnancy, degenerative disk disease, cannot be prevented. In some cases, it is possible to prevent to an extent by taking certain measures like
- Maintaining good posture.
- Quitting smoking.
- Maintaining a healthy body weight.
- Regular exercises like yogasanas, breathing exercises.
- Keeping safe from fall.
Ayurvedic Diet Suggested
Recommended foods are –
- Brown rice, whole wheat, green gram (moong), horse gram(kulatha), sesame(til), Louki(white guard), ginger, garlic, milk, and dairy products.
- An adequate amount of potassium is also essential for managing Sciatica as it provides toughness to the muscles and helps in neuro-transmission. Potassium-rich foods are green leafy vegetables, avocados, white beans, potatoes, mushrooms, banana, Salmon fish.
- Chicken, meat, and eggs should be consumed moderately as they cause constipation.
Foods to be avoided are –
- Green peas, karela(bitter gourd), Frozen meat, fermented foods, cold drinks, cold water too.
Ayurvedic dietary tips
- Take 5-6 pieces each of garlic and clove in a 10 ml sesame oil, heat on low flame for 5 minutes, allow to cool a bit and then apply it on your back with a gentle massage every day at bedtime. This remedy offers excellent relief from back pain, stiffness, and lumbago.
- Freshly prepared ginger and lemon juice with black salt is good to relieve backache.
Home care for Sciatica
Self-care at home is necessary to manage the pain factor in sciatica. Stretching or activities that place additional strain on the back must be avoided.
Sleeping one-sided with a pillow taking in between the knees is seen as comfortable in many cases.
Heat and ice therapy alternating can provide instant relief of sciatic nerve pain. Ice pack helps to reduce the inflammation, while heat increases the blood flow to the painful areas giving some relief. Apply an ice pack to the painful area for 15 minutes once every hour and then apply heat for 15 minutes every 2 to 3 hours.
Proper body posture is found essential in helping to relieve the pain many times. Varying the posture after every 15 to 20 minutes is also beneficial.