Sciatica refers to pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg. It is caused by injury to or pressure on the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is a symptom of another medical problem, not a medical condition on its own.
Sciatica occurs when there is pressure or damage to the sciatic nerve. This nerve starts in the lower spine and runs down the back of each leg. This nerve controls the muscles of the back of the knee and lower leg and provides sensation to the back of the thigh, part of the lower leg, and the sole of the foot.
Sciatica pain can vary widely. It may feel like a mild tingling, dull ache, or a burning sensation. In some cases, the pain is severe enough to make a person unable to move.
The pain most often occurs on one side. Some people have sharp pain in one part of the leg or hip and numbness in other parts. The pain or numbness may also be felt on the back of the calf or on the sole of the foot. The affected leg may feel weak.
Ayurveda described sciatica as Gridhrasi (Gridhra means Eagle), as the gait of the affected person resembles that of an eagle’s walk and the inflamed nerve appears like eagle’s beak.
Ayurveda categorized Sciatica as one of diseases caused by vitiation Vata (one of the principle dosha in the body, responsible for the movement and functionality of the body). Sometimes even kapha (dosha responsible for lubrication and bodily fluids) vitiation along with Vata (vata kaphaj) also causes sciatica.
Treatment in Ayurveda is aimed at restoring the equilibrium through correction of the underlying functional in-equilibrium. Ayurvedic treatments for Sciatica concentrate on bringing back the aggravated vata or vata kapha to the state of equilibrium and thereby to the state of health.
At Sri Vaidya, Treatment comprises of three approaches, Elimination (Sodhanam) of the accumulated toxic products of digestion, metabolism and the disease process, Pacification (Samanam) and correction of the entities responsible for altered functioning and Rejuvenation (Rasayanam) of the bodily tissue to regain and maintain natural strength and vitality.
The strength of Ayurveda in the area of spine and joint treatments is globally appreciated. Since it addresses the root cause of the issue the results are fantastic.
Therapies like Dhanyamla dhara, Abyanga swedam, Pathrapotali swedam (Elakizhi), Sarvangadhara (Pizhichil), Kadeevasthy, Navarakizhi, Vasti (the most important procedure in Ayurveda for curing Sciatica permanently) etc., are done as per the necessity and condition. These therapies are directed towards relieving the inflammatory changes and underlying causes of Sciatica, releasing the spasms and nerve compressions in the affected area, strengthening and nourishing entire spine & supporting tissues. Usually the treatment period is 4 – 5 weeks according to the severity of the disease.
Along with these therapies, Ayurveda has also described Sira vedana (Venesection) and Agni karma (Heat therapy) for treating Sciatica.