Sciatica is a very common pain that starts in your lower back and shoots down to one leg or in both legs or sometimes it can shoot down all the way into your foot. Nerve root compression and irritation or inflammation of the sciatic nerve is often accompanied by low back pain and neurological deficits in the lower limb. In order to cure sciatica, my recommendation is to follow a proper treatment protocol which includes a proper diet and nutrition, hydrotherapy, massage, yoga, sunlight, sleep, stress management and exercise.
HYDROTHERAPY FOR PAIN MANAGEMENT:
Hot fomentation on the back for half an hour daily thrice.
Ice pack on the painful areas daily thrice for 3-5 min.
Hot leg pack for half an hour daily thrice.
A hot and cold compress – Take two cotton cloths. One dipped in warm and the other in cold. Apply the warm cloth on the affected painful part for 3 minutes and then the cold cloth for a minute. Repeat this round around 4 minutes. Always start with warm and end with cold. This treatment helps to improve circulation and reduce pain.
Hot application will help in the reduction of pain and inflammation and cold application helps in numbing the pain sensation.
Mustard pack is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and it helps in the reduction of pain. Partial light massage to lower back and legs with mustard oil will help in managing the pain. Try to use mustard oil mixed with camphor in it. Heat it and apply it on the affected area for 10-15 minutes. It helps in strengthening the muscles and improves microcirculation in the affected area. Moreover, it helps in relieving compression on the nerves affected.
Regular practice of yoga helps in providing relief from sciatica in the long run. One must include at least 30 minutes to 1-hour practice of yoga or physical activity in daily life to prevent nervous and musculoskeletal disorders.
Follow proper yoga session module once the pain has subsided, do not practice more than your capacity because it will aggravate the condition. Backward bending, standing and gentle twisting postures are recommended whereas forward bending poses are contraindicated as they cause strain and can increase pain. These exercises are better done under the guidance of a yoga therapist.
1. Standing series:
2. Supine series:
Followed by quick relaxation technique - QRT
3. Prone series:
4. Sitting series:
Followed by deep relaxation technique - DRT
In addition to yoga, please maintain proper posture. Note that continuous sitting increases pain whereas taking short breaks and walking helps takes off the strain from the back.
DIET AND NUTRITION:
Some of the root causes of sciatica are gastric and digestive problems. In naturopathy, we believe that the root cause of every disease comes from your gut. Nerves are the only places that can trap air in the form of gas. A person suffering from sciatica mainly faces gastric issues such as bloating, which can aggravate the symptoms of sciatic nerve pain. So the cleansing of the digestive system is one of the necessary steps to start with. Follow diet therapy at least for 10- 20 days. Proper diet as given below and afterwards follow a proper plant-based diet and foods enriched with anti-inflammatory properties. It will help in soothing the system for positive repercussions.
• 6 am -hot water with 2-3 crushed garlic- Garlic has an anti-inflammatory property which is highly beneficial in reducing the inflammation and pain.
• 7 am –soaked black raisins water.
• 8 am –papaya or any other seasonal juicy fruit, dates.
• 11 am- tender coconut water.
• 1 pm -raw salad.
• 4 pm -carrot juice/ cucumber juice.
• 6.30 pm –Papaya or other seasonal fruit, brown rice &soup- try to finish it before sunset.
• 9.30-ginger tea- Ginger contains a substance known as gingerol, which is said to have an anaesthetic effect.
Please note that it is very important to eat a whole food plant-based diet as animal-based foods like dairy, meat, eggs etc. cause inflammation and cause more pain. Please also keep your intake of grains low as they are not easily digested. Eating a diet high in water-rich foods like raw fruits and vegetable salads will give the fastest results for reducing inflammation and reducing pain.
SUN, SLEEP AND STRESS
Use the power of the purest form of energy – harness the sun’s light for atleast 20 minutes a day to see improvement in sciatica pain.
Sleep on time in total darkness atleast most days of the week i.e 10 p.m or earlier as that is when the body works in healing, torn and damaged body parts and nerves get much-needed rest.
Stress – Use stress management techniques to handle stressful areas of your life and relax your nervous system.
(About Dr Ruchika Sharma: Dr Ruchika Sharma has a degree in naturopathy and yoga. She believes that diseases should be treated from the root cause. This corrects imbalances within the suffering body and restores the health and wellness of the patient to the maximum level. She dreams of looking at a universe disease-free, pain-free and suffering-free).
DRT – Deep relaxation technique - http://www.yogamaze.com/guided-yoga-practice/deep-relaxation-technique-drt/
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