Sciatica refers to severely painful spasms along the sciatic nerve of the leg. This nerve runs from the back of the buttock and thigh, down the inside of the leg to the ankle. Among the possible causes of sciatica are trauma or inflammation of the nerve itself, rupture of a disk between the spinal bones, and neuritis. There is numbness and tingling.
What causes sciatica?
The sciatic nerve can be irritated, impinged, or compressed for several different reasons. Simple causes include awkward sitting postures and muscles spasms including spasms of the piriformis muscles. Material from a disk herniation can affect the nerve roots. If the foramen is being narrowed, this can affect the nerve, too. This narrowing could be from osteoarthritis, degenerative disk disease, facet joint syndrome, spinal stenosis, or spondylolosthesis. Rarely, infections or tumors can be the root causes of sciatica.
Clinical features of sciatica
The onset may be sudden or gradual. The pain is felt in the buttock and radiates down the posterior aspect of the thigh and calf to the outer borders of the foot.
The pain is worse on coughing or sneezing due to raised pressure in the spinal subarachnoid space. Parathesis and later numbness may be felt over the distribution of sciatic nerve.
In severe cases weakness of the calf muscles or foot drop may occur. Movement of the spine is limited. Due to intense pain the patient may not be able to sleep.
Involvement of first root causes- loss of ankle joint jerk, a weak planter flexion of the foot and sensory loss over the outer border of the foot.
Involvement of the fifth lumber root causes- weakness of the dorsiflexion of the toes and sometimes foot drop. Sensory loss occurs on the dorsum of the foot and lateral aspect of the leg. Here ankle joint is unaffected.
Involvement of the fourth lumber root causes-weakness of invasion of the foot and there is loss of knee jerk. Sensory loss is over the medical aspect of the leg. A valuable sigh in limitation of flexion of the thighs if the leg is kept straight at the knee.
Investigations of sciatica
Tests are guided by the suspected cause of the dysfunction, as suggested by the history, symptoms, and pattern of symptom development. Investigations may include-various blood tests, X-rays, MRI, CT scan, and electromyogram.
Homeopathic treatment of sciatica
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat sciatica but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several remedies are available to treat sciatica that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensations and modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. There are following remedies which are helpful in the treatment of sciatica:
Colocynth – the most important remedy in sciatica, corresponding to the worst cases; there are pain in sciatic nerve extending to the knee or to the heel, worse from any motion, and especially aggravated by cold. The pain is paroxysmal and followed by numbness and partial paralysis. There is a sensation which has been described as if the thigh were bound with iron bends, or as though screwed in a vise; the muscles are fearfully tense and fixed. Particularly is the right side involved, and there are stitches during walking.
These is sense of constriction around the hip, the pains, too, may come suddenly and leave suddenly, they may be sticking and burning, and all are worse from cold or damp and at night, when the patient can find no easy position for the limb.
Arsenic album – with this remedy the pain is marked by complete intermissions; it exacerbates every night at a particular hour, and becomes unbearable; it is increased by vigorous and relieved by gentle motion. It is aggravated by cold, but relieved by momentarily by warmth. It is a pure neuralgia, neither inflammatory, toxaemic nor reflex.
Lycopodium – chronic cases; burning and stinging pains; with complete intermissions; stiffness and weakness in the affected limbs; worse by rest and slightly alleviated by motion, but ameliorated by keeping moving.
Ruta – this remedy also has shooting pains down the back, down the sciatic nerve on first moving or on rising after sitting; the patient obliged to walk about constantly during the paroxysms of pain. The pains are felt most in the region of the knee. It is worse during damp or cold weather and from cold applications.
Bryonia – pain in the lumber region, extending to the thigh, worse by sitting up, by moving and late in the evening; lies best on painful side; often relieved by cold eater; atrophy and emaciation of the affected limbs.
Sulphur – subacute sciatica from some dyscrasia in organism; pain in small of back, stitching-drawing on raising from a seat; tensive pain in hip joint, especially left one; drawing down the limb, accompanied by a bruised sensation.
Magnesia Phos – inability to lie in bed at night, must stand all the time, paroxysm in violent lightning-like shocks, aggravated on right side.