One of the common causes of lower back pain in modern days is Sciatica.
The sciatic nerve is the longest and largest spinal nerve in the human body, travelling from the buttocks into the legs.
Sciatica is caused due to irritation to the sciatic nerve. It is a neuropathic pain, and can occur due to injury, compression or dysfunction of this nerve.
Sciatica is characterized by a pain running from the lumbar (lower back) region to the back of the legs. Sciatica pains – felt in either one or both of the legs – are usually experienced after the age of thirty and can go on aggravating as the person ages.
This pain is a chronic pain and is difficult to cure with conventional medicines. While the pain can subside when painkillers are taken, Ayurveda offers the holistic management of chronic diseases by treating the underlying cause of the disease.
- Pain travels from the buttock, down the back of the thigh, and into the toe.
- Sciatica usually affects either the lower left or right side of the body.
- Walking, standing, bending over, driving a car, working at a computer, catching up on household chores, sneezing or coughing, and many other activities of daily living can cause sudden and intense pain.
Causes of Sciatica
- Spinal injury
- Irregular exercises
- Herniated disk
- Degenerative disc disease
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
- Sleeping on a soft mattress
- Wearing high heels
Ayurvedic management of Sciatica
Sciatica is known as Gridhrasi in Ayurveda. (Gridhra means Eagle), as the gait of the affected person can resemble that of an eagle’s walk and the inflamed nerve appears like an eagle’s beak. Sciatica is typical of Vata imbalances.
Sciatica is also considered to be caused by an impaired digestive system. A faulty digestion causes the build-up of toxins (ama) that keep on accumulating in the minute channels of the body.
The Ayurvedic treatment of Sciatica consists of taking cleansing herbs that eliminate the toxic build up, followed by digestive herbs that restore proper digestion. Along with this, toning and demulcent herbs (herbs rich in mucilage that can soothe and protect irritated or inflamed internal tissue) are also prescribed to nourish the nervous system and alleviate imbalanced body energies.
Ayurveda stands as a better alternative to surgery for Sciatica.
Ayurvedic therapies like Dhanyamla dhara, Abhyanga swedana, Pathrapotali swedana (Elakizhi), Sarvangadhara (Pizhichil), Kati Vasti, Vasti (the most important procedure in Ayurveda for curing Sciatica permanently) etc., are carried out as per the necessity and condition. These therapies are directed towards relieving the inflammation and underlying causes of Sciatica; relieving the spasms and nerve compressions in the affected area; and strengthening and nourishing the entire spine & supporting tissues. Usually the treatment period is 4 – 5 weeks according to the severity of the disease.
The word Marma means a full vital point, which is a conjugation of muscle, nerve, joint, bone, tendon, artery and vein either in combination of two, three etc., or all the above structures.
The marma points in the lower back and thigh are stimulated by massage. Massaging will give the healing effects to specific areas and helps to improve the circulation and relieve the pain.
Kati Vasti is an intensely soothing massage treatment in which warmed, herbal oil is applied to the lower back area using a dam (container) made from dough. Kati Vasti relieves lower back pain and treats complaints affecting the abdomen.
Herbal Steam Bath
Herbal steam bath or ayurvedic steam therapy is also beneficial for relieving pain, numbness and the tingling sensation of the back and legs.
Sciatica treatment at Vibrant Ayurveda
The doctors at Vibrant Ayurveda will not only manage the pain but also treat the site of origin of the condition, which in many cases is the gut.
We find that Ayurvedic therapies such as Abhyanga and Kati Vasti are highly effective in the treatment of Sciatica.
We recommend making an appointment for an initial consultation with one of our ayurvedic doctors in either of our clinics – Brisbane or the Gold Coast – to tailor a personalised plan of therapies, herbs, diet and exercise.