Sciatica is a type of inflammation of nerves that is characterized by severe pain starting in the sacroiliac joints radiating towards the back of thigh, knee, calf muscles and legs(foot). In ayurveda, this disease is known as Grdhrasi. Grdhrasi is a disorder caused by the vata predominance but may be sometime associated with kapha. The association of this disease causes heaviness, loss of appetite and other kaphaj symptoms.
Inflammation in the region where the sciatic nerve passed through the curve of hip bone is responsible for this disease. This is caused by the aggrevation of vata and physical strain. Constipation often precipitates or aggrevates the attack of this disease.
Some other causes of sciatica are given below:
- Degenerative disease of lumbar spine.
- Any osteoporotic changes in the lumbar spine.
- Vertebral fracture.
- Stress or strain to the lumbar vertebrae like excessive weight bearing.
- Bony changes in the lumbar spine.
- Any malignancy.
Signs and symptoms:
Charak in his charak samhita has described about the symptom of sciatica in charak samhita chikitsasthana (28/56). Apart from the pain which is often excruciating in the hip, backside of thigh and leg, the patient experiences difficulty in walking and he has disturbed sleep due to the pain. In sciatica, the gait of the person resembles to the gait of the vulture.
Ayurveda Treatment For Sciatica:
Eranda (Ricinus communis) is the drug of choice for the Ayurveda Treatment For Sciatica. It is given in the form of linctus which is called eranda paka. This is given to the patient in a dose of two teaspoonfuls at bed time with a cup of warm water or milk. This is also very useful for the patient who are constipated because this acts as a laxative. Guggulu ( gum-resin of Commiphora mukul ) is popularly used for the ayurveda treatment of all the pain of nervous system. Yograja gugglu and tryodashang gugglu which contains gugglu as an important ingredient is given to the patient in a dose of two tablets four times a day along with warm water or milk. For external application saindhavadi taila is considered to be very useful. It is used for the massage of the painful parts specially in the affected buttock from top to down. Hot fomentation by a packet of salt tied in the form of a round bolus in a piece of linen is very useful. This should be done when the patient is going to bed. After this fomentation, the buttock and leg of the patient should be covered with a warm cloth.
Similarly, recent studies have shown parijat(Nyctanthes arbortristis) to be very effective for the ayurveda treatment of sciatica. It is hardly a shrub or small tree upto 10 meter in height with grey or greenish white rough bark. It is mainly cultivated upto an altitude of 1000 meter and also used as an ornamental plant. The leaf or bark of this plant is used as medicine. The expressed juice or decoction of this plant is used as the best medicine for the Ayurveda treatment of sciatica. It gives the best effect if used along with mahanarayan taila.
Pulsed, beans and fried things are strictly prohibited. The patient shouldnot take curd or any other sour thing including sour fruit. Saffron (Crocus sativus) is used both as an medicine and an ingredient of food in this condition. This should be mixed with warm milk and given to the patient.
Gentle exercise for the leg is useful. Violent exercise including running and jumping is prohibited. As far as possible the patient should bath in hot and not use cold water in any form. Swimming in moderately cold water is however considered to be exceedingly useful.