Sciatica is a pain that radiates along the path of the Sciatic nerve, i.e., from the lower back, along the hips and buttocks, and down one or both the legs. The pain is a sharp, shooting type, generally intensified by movement.
Sciatica is called Gridhrasi in the Sanskrit language. Ayurveda explains it as a condition of severe pain from the lower back up to the toes of the legs, due to some kind of pressure in the Gridhrasi nadi.
The Gridhrasi nadi can be compared with the Sciatic Nerve.
Why the name Gridhrasi?
The term Gridhrasi is derived from the term Gridhra which means vulture. The vulture is a bird that is fond of meat, with a particular fashion of eating it. It pierces its beak deep into the flesh and forcefully draws it out, causing severe pain. The pain a patient feels is of a similar type, hence the name Gridhrasi is given.
Also, because of the persisting pain, the patient has a typical gait, slightly tilted towards the opposite side. This gait resembles that of a vulture, hence the name Gridhrasi.
Modern medicine explains Sciatica as a set of symptoms caused by an underlying condition like:
- Prolapsed vertebral disc
- Tumor of the cauda equina or meninges
- Tumor of the vertebral column
- Lymph adenomatous deposits in vertebral foramen
- Compression in the pelvis
- Hip joint diseases etc.
According to Ayurveda, the Nidana (causative factors) are as follows:
- Vata Prakopaka Aahara and Vihara: Foods and activities that vitiate the Vata dosha
- Mridu Shayya or asana: Sleeping in soft beds or soft cushions for a very long time
- Atyadhik maarga gamana: Walking for a long time
- Aaghat: any type of injury
Symptoms of Sciatica
- Prarambha of pain from Sphig Pradesh : the origin of pain from the hip region
- Kramasha vedana in kati, pristha, uru, jaanu, jangha ra paada: Pain radiates from hip to thigh, knee, leg and foot posteriorly
- Stambhata: stiffness in legs
- Sui chubhanvat vedana: needle pricking like pain in the affected parts
- Spandan: pulsations
In addition to these, in Vata-Kapha Gridhrasi, symptoms are:
- Tandra : Drowsiness
- Bhaaripan: heaviness in the body
- Arochak: Anorexia
- Lalasrava: excessive salivation
Ayurvedic management of Sciatica is very effective and should be performed by qualified Ayurveda Physicians after prior consultation. Here at Sunshine Ayurveda, we aim to implement the best possible treatment methodology for relieving the patients of their discomfort. Since Sciatica is a Vata vyadhi, the treatment procedures are based on the management of Vata dosha.
Panchakarma: It is the first line of Ayurvedic Treatment, which focuses on the complete treatment of the disease and not just the suppression of symptoms. The treatment protocols are determined on the basis of the condition of the patient and the disease. This is an individualized or patient-specific approach, depending on the Prakriti (Constitution type), Agni (digestive fire), Vaya (age), Bala (immune status), health conditions, and many other factors and hence appears to be more effective in the treatment of the disease.
This Panchakarma therapy should be performed under the supervision of a qualified Ayurvedic physician after prior consultation and involves the following principles:
- Snehana (Ayurvedic oil massage) by any Vatashamak oil prepared by using Ayurvedic herbs.
- Swedana (Ayurvedic steam therapy) by Vatahara herbs. In Vata-Kapha type, especially Ruksha Swedana should be done.
- Anuvasana Vasti (medicated oil enema) using medicated oils
- Niruha Vasti (herbal decoction enema) using decoctions of various herbs.
- Mridu Virechana (mild purgation) using various Ayurvedic herbs.
The procedures basically highlighted here at Sunshine Ayurveda are:
- Kati vasti: This is performed by making a ring-shaped compartment-using dough of special grains or wheat called Vasti. The Vasti is placed on the lower back and warm medicated oil is poured into the ring. When the skin absorbs oil in about 30 minutes, the ring is removed and the remaining oil is massaged over the area. This procedure is very effective for chronic back pain, in this case, caused by Sciatica.
- Marma Massage:
Marma massage is a very important and special type of Massage therapy we provide here at Sunshine Ayurveda. In Ayurveda, vital points of the body are called Marma. These points are treated with pressure, by massaging using medicated oils. When performed by a qualified and experienced physician, this therapy has proven to be immensely effective in relieving sciatic pain.
Ayurvedic herbal preparations for Sciatica:
- Simhanad Guggulu
- Yogaraja Guggulu
- Ashwagandha Churna
- Rasnasaptak Kwatham
- Kshirabala 101 Cap
Some medicinal oils for massage:
- Narayan Tailam
- Prasaarini Tailam
- Dhanwantaram Tailam
- Bala Tailam
Some beneficial yoga asanas:
Note: The information provided here is for general information and the procedures explained here are not to be performed without prior consultation or without the involvement of a qualified Ayurveda Physician.