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Sciatica is a form of neuralgia or neuritis and characterized by the pain traveling down the leg from lower back, i.e. the length of the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve, the longest in the human body, runs from the lower back through the pelvic region and down to the back of the leg. Acute sciatica is often caused by a displaced intervertebral disk that presses against the nerve root, and it develops immediately after a sudden strain put on the lumbar portion of the (Spinal Column). Easily confused with rheumatism, milder forms of sciatica first cause stiffness and swelling of the leg. In very severe cases, which involve sensory loss and muscle wasting in the leg, surgical decompression of the disk is required. Sciatica sometimes occurs during pregnancy when the sciatic nerve is pinched between the head of the fetus and the pelvic wall.

Ayurvedic Description Of Sciatica :

In Ayurveda, the condition of sciatica is known as Ghridrasi, which is a Vata disorders. The word ‘Gridhrasi’ means the bird; a ‘vulture’. The radiating pain in the affected leg/legs is the typical characteristic feature of this illness. This makes the patients to walk with the gait like that of a vulture. Hence, the name Gridhrasi is given to sciatica.

 

Signs & Symptoms

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  • Lower back pain
  • Hip pain
  • Weakness and numbness in legs
  • Pain in rear while sitting
  • Burning - tingling down the leg

Causes and Risk Factors

Spinal disc herniation

It is present in 90% of the cases, pressing of root of lumbar or sacral is the mostly found cause of sciatica.

Lumbar spinal stenosis

Under this condition, the spaces where spinal cord runs through gets narrowed and compresses the spinal cord. Bone spurs, inflammation or a herniated disc, which decreases the available space for the spinal cord, can cause this narrowing and thus pinching and irritating nerves from the spinal cord that travel to the sciatic nerves.

Pregnancy

The weight of fetus during pregnancy presses the sciatica nerve during sitting. Though most of the cases are not harmful, numbness can be seen and that results in sudden fall or loss of balance.

Disc diseases

Degeneration of the disc that acts as cushions between the vertebrae can cause sciatica.

Lifestyle

Sedentary lifestyle can make the pain more worse, being obese, not doing any workout, high heels and using too soft mattress can increase the risk as well the pain of sciatica.

Self Care Tips

  • It is a Vata disorder, so, excessive dry and cold foods should be avoided.
  • Wrong weight lifting and wrong postures need not to be practiced.
  • Don’t suppress the natural body urges like urination or defecation.
  • Follow a disciplined lifestyle that involves mild physical activities.
  • Proper back and body rest is recommended.

Ayurvedic treatment of sciatica has many modalities that can be used; this ranges from Panchkarma therapies and pain reducing medication. Since it is a Vata condition, the focus of the treatment lies to cure Vata imbalance.

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