Sciatica is a condition in which a herniated or ruptured disc applies pressure on the sciatic nerve of the body. This large nerve branches down the spinal column from your lower back to its exit point in the pelvis, hips and buttocks and carries nerve fibres to the leg. Often, a radiating pain is experienced along the path of the sciatic nerve.
Ayurvedic Treatment For Sciatica
In Ayurvedic medicine, health exists when there is a balance between three bodily humours or Doshas called Vata (Air representing flow or pressure), Pitta (Fire representing temperature or transformation) and Kapha (Water representing mass).
According to Ayurveda, Sciatica is known as Gridhrasi and is caused mainly by an increase or aggravation of “Vata Dosha” (resulting in blockage of flow and build up of toxins) that might have resulted from strain to the back due to poor conditioning, bad posture or due to structural damages such as ligament tear etc. It is further anticipated that constipation tends to aggravate the disease. Sciatic pain is felt as numbness, pins and needles and is also associated with muscular weakness.
Ayurvedic treatment for Sciatica includes detoxification and rejuvenation of the entire body to balance the Doshas, with specific attention to regulation of the Vata Dosha so that it can flow again. Therapies for strengthening joints and muscles, improving blood circulation and stimulating the nervous system are employed.
Ayurvedic Herbs for Sciatica
Some of the Ayurvedic herbs found to be beneficial for Sciatic pain are:
- Babunah (Bitter Chamomile)
- Guggulu (Indian Bedellium)
- Rasna (Vanda Orchid)
- Jaiphal (Nutmeg)
- Kumari (Indian Aloe)
- Nirgundi (Vitex Nigundo)
- Clove oil
Ayurvedic Treatments for Sciatica
Panchakarma is a detoxification procedure for the entire body; 5 detoxification activities (including purgation and herbal edema) are performed in a calibrated and controlled manner over multiple days, with specific restrictions on diet.
For an in-depth perspective, check out the video – Panchakarma – Ayurveda Brilliance Of Thorough Detoxification.
Abhyanga: Deep body massage with large amounts of warm oil.
- Matra Basti: Enema (using medicated water)
Kati Basti: Warm herbal oil is poured over the lumbo sacral area and the oil is retained inside a dam made out of dough.
Pichu: A thick layer of cotton wool soaked with warm medicated oil is applied over the affected area.
Patra Pinda Sweda (PPS): Leaves of various medicinal plants are fried with medicated oils; the mixture is tied in a cloth and used to massage the affected area.
Shashtikashali Pinda Sweda (SSPS): Fomentation of the affected area with sacs containing sixty-day-old rice boiled with milk.
Kashaya Seka: Massage using a stream of warm herbal decoction.
Sarvanga Dhara: A complete oil-based rejuvenation therapy where medicated oil is poured systematically on the body followed by a full body massage.
Agnikarma: Transfer of heat to the affected parts of the body using a metal (preferably an alloy of gold, silver, copper, iron and zinc) rod in an aseptic manner.
Siravedha: Removal of impure blood from the affected region.
Agni Deepana: Increase the body’s Agni (Heat) to fire up metabolism, using medicinal herbs and activites.
Ama Pachana: Break down and digest impurities, using medicinal herbs and activities.
Vatanulomana helps in the downward movement of wind and aids in better bowel movement and feces expulsion.
Rasayana is a therapy used to rejuvenate the body (or specific aspects of the body and health), usually after detoxification. For patients suffering from Sciatica, Rasayana will be focused on strengthening the joints, nervous system and the muscular system.
Ayurvedic Case Studies on Sciatica
Case Study 1: Gentle Heat Application Is Beneficial For Sciatica
A clinical trial was conducted on 30 patients within the age group of 25-65 years at Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar. The trial was conducted to compare the results of two treatments, Agnikarma and Siravedha, in the management of Sciatica.
19 patients were treated by Agnikarma and 11 patients by Siravedha. Agnikarama was done at the lower part of the spine and Achilles tendon region by Panchadhatu Shalaka (a metal rod involving 5 metals – Gold, Silver, Copper, Iron, Zinc). Siravedha was done below the Knee joint.
68.42% patients showed marked improvement and 21.05% had complete relief after Agnikarma.
In Siravedha, 72.73% patients had moderate improvement and 27.27% patient had marked improvement.
It was concluded that Agni improved blood circulation to the affected site. Agnikarma was proved to be effective than Siravedha in relieving the main symptoms of the disease.
Case Study 2: Combination Of Herbal Enema And Muscle Relaxing Herb Is Beneficial For Sciatica
A clinical study was performed for the management of Sciatica. It used
- Nirgundi Ghan Vati (extract of an Ayurvedic herb which is a muscle relaxant)
- Matra Basti (herbal enema)
This study was conducted a total of 119 patients between the age group of 20-60 years at the Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Jamnagar. Out of 119 patients, 102 completed the treatment. 52 patients in group A received Nirgundi Ghan Vati and 50 in group B received Nirgundi Ghan Vati + Matra Basti.
The results showed that improvement in both groups. However, Group B showed higher results.
Case Study 3: Gentle Heat Application Using A Multi-Metal Rod Is Beneficial For Sciatica
A comparative clinical study of Agni karma by using Lauha (Iron), Tamra (Copper) and Panchadhatu Shalakas (5 metals – Gold, Silver, Copper, Iron, Zinc) was conducted for Sciatica.
This study was conducted on a total of 29 patients suffering from Sciatica. Tamra, Lauha and Panchadhatu Shalaka were used for Agni karma in 3 different groups.
The results of the study showed that Fifty percent patients in Panchadhatu Shalaka (Group A) were completely relieved
In Lauhadhatu Shalaka (Group B), the success rate was 00.00%. In Tamradhatu Shalaka (Group C), the percentage of success rate was 14.28%.
Agnikarma by Panchadhatu Shalaka provided better result in combating the symptoms.