Ayurvedic treatment for Sciatica

Sciatica

Know More on Pain

  • Definition
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • FAQS
  • References

Definition

Sciatica Ayurvedic treatment

WHAT IS SCIATICA?

Sciatica is often experienced as pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg. It is a result of an injury or excess pressure on the sciatic nerve. Sciatic pain is usually a symptom of another medical disease.1

Lower part of the spinal cord, showing nerves including the sciatic nerveSciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body which controls muscles in the back of your knee and lower leg, and provides feeling to the back of your thigh, part of your lower leg, and the sole of your foot. Sciatic pain can start in the lower back and extend down your leg to your calf, foot, or even your toes. It's usually on only one side of your body.2

Sciatica is described in Ayurveda as

‘Gridhrasi'

, meaning ‘vulture-like’ walking of the person suffering from it. As it is caused by aggravation of

Vata dosha,

it is popularly known as

Gridhrasi Vaata Roga.3

 
 

 

Causes

Sciatica

SCIATICA CAUSES

Common causes of sciatica/leg pain include:1

  • Slipped disk – a flexible tissue in between the vertebra of spine gets displaced
  • Spinal stenosis - narrowing of the open spaces within your spine, which puts pressure on your spinal cord and nerves that travel to your arms and legs.
  • Fracture in the lower part of stomach
  • Tumors

As per the description in Ayurveda, sciatica is one of the many Vata diseases in which vitiated Vata dosha is predominant.4 The common causes of sciatica are vata-aggravating factors, such as grief, sorrowful thoughts, sickness, sitting or sleeping on uncomfortable beds, anger, daytime sleeping, staying up late at night, nervousness, suppression of natural urges, indigestion, injury, starvation, and internal body disorders. As a result of the aggravated vata dosha, blood, muscle, bone, ligaments, and tendons get affected.4

Symptoms

Sciatica

SCIATICA SYMPTOMS

Sciatic pain most often occurs on one side of leg or hip. Symptoms of sciatica pain can vary widely as mentioned below:1

  • Mild tingling
  • Dull aching
  • Burning sensation
  • Inability to move leg when pain becomes severe

The pain often starts slowly and may get worse:

  • After standing or sitting
  • At night
  • When sneezing, coughing, or laughing

Diagnosis

Sciatica

SCIATICA DIAGNOSIS

Your doctor will first perform a physical exam which will help in detecting:1

  • Weakness when bending the knee
  • Difficulty bending the foot inward or down
  • Difficulty bending forward or backward
  • Abnormal or weak reflexes
  • Loss of sensation or numbness
  • Pain when lifting the leg straight up off the examining table

Tests are often not needed unless pain is severe or long-lasting. If tests are required, they may include:

  • Blood tests
  • X-rays
  • MRIs or other imaging tests

Management

Sciatica

SCIATICA AYURVEDIC TREATMENT

Ayurveda plays a significant role in managing sciatic pain through a combination of corrective Ahar (diet), Vihar (exercise) and Aushadhi (Medicines)5,6,7

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

A healthy diet for controlling sciatica pain is for balancing Vata dosha and includes:5,6

  • Grains: Rice, cooked oatmeal, whole wheat and whole grain breads (toasted)
  • Pulses: Yellow split mung beans (green skin removed), whole mung beans, red lentils and tofu
  • Vegetables: : Zucchini, asparagus, carrot, beets, sweet potatoes, cucumber, lady finger, parsley, green peas, fennel, spinach in small amounts and cooked coconut. All should be cooked well so they are soft.
  • Spices: Cumin, ginger, mustard seeds, ajwain, celery seeds, fenugreek, coriander, bay leaves, basil, saffron, hing (asafoetida), cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, anise, fennel, black pepper (in small amounts)
  • Fruits: All ripe, sweet, and juicy fruits. Sweet grapes, banana, melons, plums, cherries, mango, papaya, pomegranate, sweet pineapples, raisins, sweet oranges, dates and figs, avocado, apples and pears.
  • Oils: Ghee or olive oil
  • Sweeteners: Honey, jaggery, date sugar

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

Exercise and Yogasanas help to relieve pain and discomforts of sciatica. Yogic exercises help in stretching and stimulation of nerves, and toning up the back muscles, which in turn helps in increasing the blood supply. Asanas may also release pressure and compression on sciatic nerve. These Asanas are to be practised under medical supervision after consulting your physician.

Image result for dhanurasana Image result for bhujangasana

Image result for makarasana

 

 

Bhujangasana Dhanurasana Makarasana

 

 

Matsya Kridasana

FAQS

Sciatica
  1. Can Ayurveda treat foot pain?

In Ayurveda, foot care is considered very important since it is known to benefit the entire body and nervous system in a holistic manner. There are certain points in our body called marma or vital points, where our vital energies are concentrated. Feet and ankles also have these vital points, which if not taken care of, can cause problems like chronic pain in the ankles, pain and swelling in feet, etc. Ayurveda can play a significant role in managing ankle pain with a combination of corrective Ahar (diet), Vihar (exercise) and Aushadhi (Medicines) regime.

  1. What kind of diet and exercises will be helpful in reducing neck pain?

To reduce neck pain, Ayurveda suggests following diet and exercises:

  • Take lots of fruits, green vegetable salads and sprouts.
  • Good hydration will help retain neck health.
  • Avoid refined foods and junk foods.
  • Milk is an important source of Calcium and can help maintain healthy bones.
  • Vitamin C in citrus fruits will help the healing process.
  • Honey in warm water or herbal teas are good for cleansing the bowels and this will help relieve many backaches that are due to constipation.

Pranayama (breathing exercises) is a powerful way to promote relaxation and a pivotal first step towards relieving muscle tension. Slow, deep breathing & relaxation can stimulate a sense of calmness and cause reduction in pain.

Yoga Asanas are also beneficial in maintaining neck and overall health

Balasana                                       Marjaryasana                                 Bhujangasana              

  1. I have knee pain. What could be the reasons for it?

Knee pain can have different causes. Being overweight puts you at greater risk for knee problems. Overusing your knee can trigger knee problems that cause pain. If you have a history of arthritis (swelling of knee joint), it could also cause knee pain.

Medical conditions that can cause knee pain are

  • Arthritis – Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Gout
  • Infection in the knees / knee joint
  • Injuries – fracture, dislocation, sprained knees etc.
  • Cancer
  1. What can I do to reduce my knee pain?

Ayurveda suggests following diet and lifestyle changes to help reduce knee pain.

Include more foods containing

  • Pulses: Black gram, green gram
  • Vegetables & spices: Onion, garlic, sesame seeds, ginger, radish, ladies finger, pumpkin
  • Fruits: pomegranate, mango, grapes
  • Oils: Ghee

Ayurveda recommends regular, slow and gentle exercises with adequate rest to knee joints. Regular Pranayama and Yoga Nidra is also recommended.

  • Avoid prolonged walking, standing, kneeling and squatting and crossed leg sitting.
  • Yoga asanas: Makarasana, Pavanamuktasana, Dhanurasana, Vakrasana
  1. I have tingling pain in the legs. Is it sciatica?

Sciatic pain most often occurs on one side of leg or hip. Symptoms of sciatica pain can vary widely as mentioned below:

  • Mild tingling
  • Dull aching that radiates from buttock to back of whole leg
  • Burning sensation
  • Inability to move leg when pain becomes severe

The pain often starts slowly and may get worse:

  • After standing or sitting
  • At night
  • When sneezing, coughing, or laughing
  1. What diet is effective in reducing the sciatica pain?

A healthy diet for controlling sciatica pain is for balancing Vata dosha and includes:

  • Grains: Rice, cooked oatmeal, whole wheat and whole grain breads (toasted)
  • Pulses: Yellow split mung beans (green skin removed), whole mung beans, red lentils and tofu
  • Vegetables: : Zucchini, asparagus, carrot, beets, sweet potatoes, cucumber, lady finger, parsley, green peas, fennel, spinach in small amounts and cooked coconut. All should be cooked well so they are soft.
  • Spices: Cumin, ginger, mustard seeds, ajwain, celery seeds, fenugreek, coriander, bay leaves, basil, saffron, hing (asafoetida), cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, anise, fennel, black pepper (in small amounts)
  • Fruits: All ripe, sweet, and juicy fruits. Sweet grapes, banana, melons, plums, cherries, mango, papaya, pomegranate, sweet pineapples, raisins, sweet oranges, dates and figs, avocado, apples and pears.
  • Oils: Ghee or organic olive oil
  • Sweeteners: Honey, jaggery, date sugar
  1. I frequently get gas pain. What food types are good for me?

Following foods are good to help relieve gas pain:

  • Grains: Whole wheat thick flat bread or chapati, millet & sorghum bhakri, unpolished rice
  • Pulses: Chickpea, Tur dal, Masoor Moong
  • Vegetables: Carrots, Radish, Lauki, potatoes, white gourd, spiny gourd, , cucumber, ajwain, guar bean, eggplant, amaranth, cabbage, spinach, coriander seeds and leaves, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, green chillies, lady finger
  • Fruits: , pears, papaya, pineapple, pomegranate, oranges, unripe bananas, water chestnut, dry fruits – almonds, walnuts, peanuts, dry dates, apples, grapes etc.
  • Oils: Ghee, coconut oil in small quantities
  • Ginger, cumin, coriander should be preffered in spices.
  1. What is trigeminal neuralgia?

Trigeminal nerve (TN) pain is a nerve condition that causes a stabbing or electric-shock-like pain in parts of the face.

It usually affects one side of the face. Any vibration on your face, even from talking, brushing etc. can set it off. The condition may come and go, disappearing for days or even months. But the longer you have it, the less often it goes away. TN pain usually affects women and people above 50 years of age.

Ayurveda describes 11 types of shiro rogas (headaches), among which trigeminal nerve type of pain is called ‘Ardhavabhedaka’. It happens when aggravated doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) press on the neck and throat producing a powerful burning sensation, out of which comes excruciating pain. This pain ultimately affects the eyes, eyebrows and temples.

  1. How can Ayurveda help in relieving stomach pain?

Ayurveda describes a comprehensive approach towards managing stomach pain- the most commonly diagnosed conditions being constipation (Vibandha) and indigestion (Ajirna)

Constipation is used to indicate fewer bowel movements, hard stools, painful defection and feeling of bloating, abdominal pain or incomplete elimination.

Indigestion, on the other hand, is an abnormality that occurs in digesting food or lack of proper digestion resulting in stomach pain, burping or flatulance (abdominal gas).

Ayurveda can play a significant role in managing & preventing different stomach pains by practising a combination of corrective Ahar (diet), Vihar (exercise) and Aushadhi (Medicines) regime

Corrective Ahar for both constipation & indigestion includes:

Grains: Wheat, unpolished rice, barley

  • Pulses: Green gram, chickpeas, course corn, Toor dal, moong, masura lentils, Vegetables/Spices: Garlic, Asafetida, long pepper, sunthi (dry ginger), green leafy vegetables, cucumber, bitter gourd, pointed gourd, cabbage, dates, betel nut, turmeric
  • Fruits: High fibre fruits such as apples, pears, papaya, grapes, amala, haritaki
  • Oils: Ghee

Exercise: Regular exercise, meditation and practice of asanas purifies the blood, improves the appetite, increases the will power and makes the patient physically active. The whole alimentary canal improves and becomes regular.

Yoga Asanas: Vajrasana (after every meal), Kurmasana, Vakrasana, Katichakrasana

Pranayama: Surya anulom viloma, deep relaxation technique

  1. What is myofasial pain?

Myofascial pain disorder (MPS) refers to pain and swelling in the body's soft tissues or muscles. Myofascial pain is a long-term, painful condition that affects the connective tissue that cover the muscles. It is considered as a type of muscular pain (fibromyalgia) which happens at specific areas on the body.

Myofascial pain might involve either a single muscle or an entire muscle group. In some cases, the area where you experience the pain might not be where the myofascial pain is generated. The actual location of the injury leads to the development of a trigger point, which in turn causes pain in other areas. This is known as referred pain

References

Sciatica
  1.  Sciatica. MedLine Plus. 2014. [Cited 2016 August 30]. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000686.htm
  2.  Sciatica. MedLine Plus. [Cited 2016 August 30]. Available at: https://medlineplus.gov/sciatica.html
  3. Tank NG & Pandith SK. AYURVED MANAGEMENT OF SCIATICA- A CASE STUDY. EJPMR, 2016,3(4), 360-366.
  4. Mishra LC, editor. Scientific basis for Ayurvedic therapies. CRC press; 2003 Sep 29.
  5. Choudhary B. CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF GRIDHRASI (SCIATICA SYNDROME). Int. J. of Allied Med. Sci. and Clin. Research Vol-3(4) 2015 [568-571].
  6. Vata Pacifying Diet. Amrita Veda Ayurveda. [document on the internet]. [Cited 2016 August 29]. Available at: http://www.amritaveda.com/learning/articles/vatachart_back_bw_final.pdf
  7. Swami Satyananda Saraswati. Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha. [document on the internet]. [Cited 2016 August 29]. Available at: http://sriyogapeeth.com/ebooks/swami-satyananda-saraswati---asana-pranayama-mudra-bandha.pdf

Disclaimer: The information on this page is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Do not use this information to diagnose or ayurvedic treatment of pain and/or sciatica without consulting the doctor. Consult your physician before beginning an exercise regime. "While we have products /ayurvedic medicines for pain and/or sciatica, you must consult an authorized physician before taking any of the products. For more information on products, visit www.dabur.com or call 1800-103-1644"