Sciatica is the name given to pain caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is not a condition, it is a symptom of another problem involving the sciatic neve.. Anything that irritates this nerve can cause pain, ranging from mild to severe. Sciatica is usually caused by a compressed nerve in the lower spine.
Often, the term “sciatica” is confused with general backpain. However, sciatica is not just limited to the back. The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in the human body. It begins at your spinal cord, runs from the lower back, through the buttocks, and down the legs, ending just below the knee.
Sciatic nerve controls several muscles in the lower legs and supplies sensation to the skin of the foot and the majority of the lower leg. You may also feel weakness or numbness in these areas.
Signs & Symptoms –
Sciatica is a very distinct type of symptom. If you are experiencing shooting pain that flows from your lower back through buttock area and into your lower limbs, it is typically sciatica.
Other symptoms may include the following –
• Pain that gets worse with movement
• Numbness or weakness in legs or feet, which is usually felt along your sciatic have pathway.
• Tingling sensation (pins &needles) in the feet and toes.
• Inability to control your bladder or bowel movements in severe conditions
The pain can range in severity and may be aggravated by sitting for long periods.
Sciatica results from irritation of the roots of your lumbar and lumbosacral spine.
Additional causes of sciatica are as follows –
• Lumbar spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal in your lower back)
• Degenerative disc disease ( breakdown Of discs, which act as cushions between the vertebrae )
• Spondylolisthesis ( a condition in which one vertebra slips forward over another one)
• Muscle spasm in the back or buttocks
• Tumors within the spine – these may compress the root of the sciatic nerve
• Infection – which ultimately affecting the spine
• Other causes – e.g. injury within the spine
• Cauda equina syndrome- In rare cases, a herniated disc can press on nerves that cause you to lose control of your bowel or bladder.
Risk Factors –
Your risk of having sciatica increases due to following reasons-
• Ageing (which can cause changes in the spine, like bone spurs or herniated discs)
• Being overweight
• Not exercising regularly
• Wearing high heels
• Sleeping on a mattress that is too hard or too soft
• Your job, especially if it involves driving for long periods of time, twisting your back, or carrying heavy things
• Physical examination by your doctor
• CT- scan
• Ice-Packs –
For fast fewdays of pain, use ice packs over the affected area for 20 minutes per day, several times per day. This will help to reduce swelling and ease pain.
• Hot packs –
It is recommended that you use ice during the first couple of days to reduce swelling. After 2-3 days, switch to heat. It you continue to have pain, try alternating between ice and heat therapy.
• Stretching –
Gently stretching your lower back with yogic exercises can also be helpful.
• Over the counter medication –
Over the counter medications, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, can also help with pain, inflammation and swelling.
• Prescription medication –
Your doctor might recommend a few different typesof medication, including –
¤ Anti-seizure medications
¤ Muscle relaxants
¤ Tricyclic antidepressants
¤ Steroid injections
• Surgery –
If you have extreme pain that doesn’t get better, weakness or a loss of bladder or bowel control, your doctor might recommend surgery. They will take out the bone spur or herniated disc that’s pressing on your nerves and causing your pain.
Although most people recover fully from sciatica, often without treatment, sciatica can potentially cause permanent nerve damage. Immediate medical attention is needed if you have –
• loss of feeling in the affected leg
• weakness in the affected leg
• loss of bowel or bladder function
Ayurvedic Perspective –
In Ayurveda, sciatica can be corellated with Ghridhrasi. Ayurveda describes Ghridhrasi as the gait of the affected person resembles that of an eagle’s walkand the inflamed nerve appears like an eagle’s beak. Ayurveda describes sciatica as one of the diseases caused by vitiation of Vata. Sometimes even kapha vitiation along with Vata also causes sciatica.
• Sarvangabhyanga –
• Patrapotli sweda –
• Sarvangadhara (Pizhichil) –
• Navarkizhi –
• Katibasti –
• Agnikarma –
• Siravedhana –
Beneficial Herbs –
• Ashwagandha – It has anti-inflammatory, rejuvenating, tonic, pain relieving and sedative properties. It is also useful in the treatment of osteoporosis and leg pain associated with it.
• Asthisanharaka- It has wound-healing properties and this can be used to repair damaged tissues. It is used in the management of osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis and is thus helpful in relieving leg pain also.
• Guggulu- It has pain relieving, antispasmodic, rejuvenating and stimulant properties. It reduces leg painby lowering the effects of increased blood pressure.
• Tryodashang guggulu
• Lakshadi guggulu
• Chandraprabha Vati
• Shilajit Rasayan Vati
• Aarogyavardhini Vati
• Swarna makshika
• Ekangveer Ras
• Mahavatavidhavansan Ras
Miraculous Asanas –
• Markatasan –
• Makarasan –
• Bhujangasan –
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