Sciatica is the term referred to the pain caused by irritation and compression of sciatic nerve. The pain that begins in the lower back and travels down the lower limbs traversing the root of sciatic nerve is called Sciatica. The largest nerve in the human body is the sciatic nerve. It originates in the lower back and runs down the hips, back of legs and down to the feet. There is one sciatic nerve on either side of the body and any one of them may be affected when pain is experienced.
Homeopathic Treatment For Sciatica
Homeopathy is a very advanced science fully equipped to treat neuralgic (nerve) pains, including sciatica. Homeopathic medicines can treat acute as well as chronic sciatica. Homeopathic medicines, which are natural and safe, work on the root cause of sciatica for complete, effective healing and cure. In fact, a homeopathic consultation, if taken on time, could prevent surgical intervention in cases of sciatica.
Top Homeopathic Medicines For Sciatica
Some well recognized homeopathic medicines for sciatica are Colocynthis, Magnesium Phosphorica, Gnaphalium, Rhus Tox and Bryonia Alba
1. Colocynthis – For Sciatica Of Left Side
Colocynthis is known to greatly benefit left-sided sciatica. It is indicated where a person complains of pain along the course of the left sciatic nerve. The pain starts in the lower back and radiates down the leg to toes. In some cases, the pain is located in the left hip or pain in the hip radiates to the knee. The pain may be drawing/tearing/ shooting in nature. In some cases, it may be lightening, shock- like or cramping. Pressure application may provide relief. Lying on the left side also offers relief in some cases. Some persons requiring Colocynthis may also get relief from warm applications.
When and How to take Colocynthis?
It is best suited to patient with left-sided sciatica pain. The pain is reduced by pressing the affected area and applying warmth. Colocynthis works wonders in 30C potency. This potency requires frequent repetition, 2-3 times in a day. In fact, it also works well in higher potency like 200C and 1M but it is advisable to consult your homeopathic physician before using higher potencies.
2. Magnesia Phosphorica – For Sciatica Of Right Side
Magnesia Phosphorica is a reliable prescription for right-sided sciatica. The sciatica pain is cutting/ shooting/ stabbing or stitching in nature. Pain starts in the lower back and extends down the right hip, thigh, the hollow of knee and leg. Pressure or warm applications may offer relief. In some cases, uncovering the lower limb worsen the pain.
When and How to take Magnesia Phosphorica?
Mag Phos is a useful remedy which helps in sciatica pain with symptoms mainly occur on the right side. Identical to Colocynthis, this remedy is needed for a person who gets better by applying pressure and warmth.
It can be referred as homeopathic pain reliever. It is commonly used in biochemic form in ‘6X potency’, and is taken in tablets. The frequency and number of tablets depends on the severity of symptoms. Unless recommended otherwise, it can be taken 3-4 times in a day. It is advisable to contact your homeopathic doctor, if there is no noticeable improvement after taking medicine.
3. Gnaphalium Polycephalum – For Sciatica With Pain And Numbness
Gnaphalium Polycephalum is the most useful medicine for sciatica pain attended with numbness. It is also indicated where sciatica pain alternates with numbness. Folding thighs towards the abdomen provides some relief. Gnaphalium Polycephalum is also prescribed in sciatica cases where pain is confined to the calves and feet.
When and How to use Gnaphalium Polycephalum?
This medicine is an undoubted effective treatment for sciatica when pain is accompanied with numbness. Normally, higher potencies are not advisable and are not to be repeated very often. So, it is suggested to use in 30C potency and can be repeated twice in a day.
If there is still no improvement after repetition of doses, seek professional guidance from a homeopathic physician.
4. Bryonia Alba – For Sciatica That Worsens While Walking
Bryonia Alba is the most effective homeopathic medicine for sciatica that gets worse while walking. The slightest motion may worsen sciatica in such cases. Lying down absolutely still provides some relief. Bryonia Alba is also prescribed when the person feels relief by lying down on the affected side. The hip and leg of the affected side may feel heavy. The pain is tearing in nature from the hip through the back of the thigh and into the calf.
When and How to use Bryonia alba?
The main feature to use this medicine is when sciatica pain gets worse by the slightest movement but gets better by rest. Lower potency 30C can be used and repeated up to 3-4 times in a day. Higher potencies like 200C and 1M potency are not repeated frequently and should be used cautiously.
5. Rhus Tox – For Sciatica That Becomes Painful With Rest
For sciatica pain that gets bad at rest or while sitting, Rhus Tox is the ideal prescription. Lying on the painful side could worsen the pain in such cases. Walking or movement of the affected limb offers relief. Along with severe pain, a burning sensation may be felt in the lower limbs. Rhus Tox also works wonderfully well in treating sciatica that arises from lifting any heavy weight. There is a cramp like pain in the leg. The patient has an inability to sit in one position for a long time.
When and How to use Rhus Tox?
The hallmark feature of this medicine is sciatica pain which becomes worse at rest and gets better by movement. Rhus Tox can be used in 30C to 1M potency. The dosage and potency depends on the severity and intensity of the symptoms. It is equally effective in 200C potency but symptoms should be monitored before its repetition.
Note You may use the above-mentioned 30C potency after closely monitoring the symptoms but do not self-medicate with higher potencies i.e. 200C and 1M. If no improvement is observed, it is best to consult a homeopath to decide whether change of potency is required or not.
Causes Of Sciatica
The causes of sciatica could be many, the main among these are as follows:
A disc bulge or a herniated disc: Disc bulge of lower spine can cause pinching, compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. This is the most common cause of sciatica.
Degeneration of the spinal disc: It is the natural wearing down of disc between the vertebrae of spine. This results in shortening the height of vertebrae and resulting in narrowing of nerve passageways (spinal stenosis).
Stenosis (narrowing) of the spinal canal: This can lead to reduction in the space available for the spinal cord and nerves.
Spondylolisthesis: It is the slipping of a vertebra which makes it is out of sync with the one above it, as a result there is narrowing of the opening through which the nerve exits. The extended spinal bone can pinch the sciatic nerve.
Piriformis syndrome: Piriformis muscle is a small muscle that lies deep in the buttocks. Tightening or spasm of this muscle is called Piriformis syndrome that can put pressure and can irritate sciatic nerve.
Tumor in the spine: It causes the compression of sciatic nerve.
Symptoms Of Sciatica
Pain: Sciatica is characterized by pain that travels from the lower (lumbar) spine to the buttock and down the back of your leg. The lower back, buttock, and the back of your thigh and calf are likely to experience pain.
Numbness: There is numbness in legs, feet, buttocks, or lower back may feel numb or weak.
Loss Of Movement: There is less movement and pain that gets worse if the person makes an effort to move.
Pin Needle Sensation: One can experience a feeling of pricking by pins and needles in feet, toes, or legs.
Burning Sensation: Constant or episodic burning sensation down the leg.
Risk Factors For Sciatica
Injury: The chance of developing sciatica increases if you suffer a lower back or spine injury.
Age: The bone tissue and discs in the spine naturally deteriorate as you age. With normal ageing, changes and shifts in bone, discs, and ligaments can put the spinal nerves at risk of being hurt or pinched.
Obesity: Excess body weight can increase stress on the spine. This results in changes in the spine that trigger sciatica.
Prolonged Sitting: The chances of developing sciatica is more common in people who sit for long hours or have sedentary lifestyle than active people.
Diabetes: Your chance of developing nerve damage is increased by this disorder, which alters how your body uses blood sugar.
Smoking: The nicotine in tobacco can weaken bones, cause injury to the spine, and hasten the degeneration of vertebral discs.
Lack Of Proper Posture: Even if you are physically healthy and active, sciatica can still occur if you lift weights improperly or perform other vigorous strength training exercises.
Pathophysiology Of Sciatica
The most common cause of sciatica is herniated disc. Disc (intervertebral disc) is the cushioning pad between each vertebrae of the spine that absorbs shock. Pressure from vertebra due to some reason can cause the gel-like centre of a disc to move from its normal position. This results in compression or puts pressure on sciatic nerve which leads to sciatica.