The pain in the lower extremity of the body caused by the irritation of the sciatic nerve (the large nerve running down from the lower back of the body to each one of the legs) is referred to as Sciatica. Sciatica is caused by injury, inflammation or compression of the sciatic nerve and causes pain or numbness spreading to leg, buttocks, and hips. In Ayurveda, Sciatica is known by the name of Gradhrasi. It is believed to be aggravated by the imbalance of Vata Dosha.
Sciatica can be caused by strenuous physical activity such as heavy weight lifting, or to exposure to extreme cold. Pressure on buttocks due to sitting or lying continuously for long hours, injury due to a fractured pelvis or trauma to thighs also damages the sciatic nerve.
Pain in the back and the lower extremity of the body is the primary symptom of Sciatica. Also, there is a burning or tingling sensation in the affected area. It can also become numb. One may even find it difficult to walk. In severe cases, it becomes impossible to bend the knee or move the foot.
Treatment Through Ayurveda -
Through Ayurveda, Sciatica can be treated internally and externally by balancing the energies involved in the doshas:
Internal methods of treatment: Yogaraja Guggulu is the herbal pill consisting of Guggulu resin, twenty-five types of herbs and ghee effectively treats all types of pain associated with the nervous system. Dashamula Arishta, an elixir having sixty-three herbs, jaggery, plums, honey, and water has anti-inflammatory properties which help in toning up the affected nerve.
Panchakarma therapies are very effective in the treatment of this condition. They aim to relieve inflammation and release nerve compressions and spasms for strengthening the entire spine and the surrounding tissue. Generally, treatment through the Panchkarma therapies takes four to five weeks depending upon the severity of the condition. Following are some of the processes involved in treatment through Panchakarma:
Kativasti and Elakizi, Naranga Kizhi, Navarakizhi are very important in the treatment of sciatica.
Sarwang Abhyang is the full body massage with medicated warm oils for lubricating and nurturing the body for the pacification of Vayu.
Swedana refers to steaming the body for detoxification.
Vasti refers to the administration of medicated oils and decoction through anal route for treating the vatic disorder that is Sciatica as per Ayurveda. It pacifies dryness and strengthens intestines and is one of the permanent cures for most of the vatic disorders.
Siravedha is the venous puncture or venesection.
Agnikarma is the Cauterisation or burning the affected part.
Raktamokshan is the process for Blood purification.
Sciatica refers to the pain in the lower body due to an irritated sciatic nerve, caused due to nerve compression or trauma or injury. Through Ayurveda, Sciatica can be treated through internal or external methods as well as through Panchakarma therapies.