In Ayurveda Sciatica is known as Gridhrasi as gait of the affected person resembles that of an Eagle's walk & the inflamed nerve appears like Eagle's beak, hence the term Gridhrasi is used for it. Sciatica is a pain resulting from irritation of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica pain is typically felt from the low back to behind the thigh and radiating down below the knee. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body and begins from nerve roots in the lumbar spinal cord in the low back and extends through the buttock area to send nerve endings down the lower limb. Ayurvedic Management of Sciatica Diet: Pulses, beans, and fried foods should be prohibited. Curds and other sour substances should be avoided. Saffron, in small quantities, should be mixed with milk and given to the patient to drink. Life Style: Gentle exercise of the leg is advised. Exposure to damp and cold should be avoided. Swimming in warm water is a good exercise for legs. Yoga: Halasana -Improves circulation of blood and lymph, stimulates the immune system and releases stress and tension in the lower back including the spine, Shalabhasana-Strongly strengthens the core body and the low back muscles. It also stimulates the endocrine, nervous and reproductive systems. Bhujangasana- Develops the strength & flexibility in the spine and rejuvenates spinal nerves. All these yoga postures should be undertaken under the supervision of yoga expert. Ayurvedic formulations: Herbs like Raasna, Aswagandha, Dasamoola, Satavari & Kuth. Yograj guggulu, Rasana Saptak Kwath, Vishgarbh Tail & Mahanarayan Tail gives good results if given in correct dose. Panchakarma therapies: Abhyang (massage with specific herbal oils) Nadi Swedan (medicated steam bath), Elakizhi (herbal leaf bundle massage), Pizhichil (medicated oil bath), Kati vasthi(a treatment done on to the back to decrease spinal compression), Vasti (medicated enema) Virechan (purgation) therapies of panchkarma are tremendously useful for treating the underlying cause of the sciatica without any side effects.
Majority of these patients give a history of lifting heavy weights on their head or back, adopting improper spinal postures while sitting or bending forward, riding two wheelers on bumpy roads, female patients standing for a longer time in kitchens these all contribute to the unbearable & excruciating pain called Sciatica. It is commonly due to disc herniation directly pressing on the nerve or any cause of irritation or inflammation of this nerve. These causes include irritation of the nerve from adjacent bone, tumors, muscle, internal bleeding, infections, injury, and other causes.
According to Ayurveda Gridhrasi or Sciatica is caused by the aggravation of Vata which is responsible for the movement of the muscles & the sensation of the nerves. Sometimes the vitiation of Kapha along with Vata brings on the attack. At times constipation precipitates or aggravates an attack of sciatica.
Sciatica causes pain, burning sensation, numbness, or tingling radiating from the lower back and upper buttock down to the back of the thigh to the back of the leg. Sciatica can make walking difficult if not impossible. Sometimes the symptoms of sciatica are aggravated by walking or bending at the waist and relieved by lying down.
Sciatica is diagnosed with a simple physical examination named Straight Leg Raise Test and medical history of the patient. The typical symptoms and certain examination maneuvers help the health-care practitioner to diagnose sciatica. Sometimes, x-rays and other tests, such as CAT scan or MRI scan and electromyogram, are used to further define causes of sciatica.