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Veterinarian Reviewed on June 22, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
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Sciatica is referred to the associated pain and discomfort caused by the slight damage of an important and longest nerve and the nerve roots in the human body. This nerve is called sciatic. This is present in the back and abdominal region and extends all the way up to hips and legs. Frequently though the pain is experienced in intervals but other times it can be prolonged, continues and cause discomfort with numbness too.

Sciatica is not caused by any disease or does not result in any disease and is rather caused by the general wear and tear of the nerve due to age or physical exertion. It’s just an injury of the nerve. It is most common in people of ages 30 to 50. Although the pain may go off after few weeks, but some treatment are available to get relief, especially in extreme discomfort.


It is caused by sciatic nerve damage. This in turn may be caused by many reasons. The first can be slip disk when one of the disk covering the lower vertebra is displaced, exposing the nerve to physical damage. It is also caused by aging due to general wear and tear of the muscles, bones and nerves tissues.
Also any tumors on the spinal cord can cause pressure on the sciatic nerve and nerve roots. Spinal stenosis can also cause sciatica. This occurs when the canal carrying spinal cord constricts. This condition causes pressure and injury of sciatic nerve. Spondylitis in which one vertebra comes on top of the other may also cause sciatica. Some other reasons are Piriformis syndrome, trauma, physical injury and osteoporosis.

Signs and Symptoms

The usual symptom of sciatica is pain that starts from lower back and is continuous downward towards buttocks, thigh and calf muscles. It is generally experienced on one side of the body. Depending on which exact nerve tissue or root is damaged, the pain can vary in different individuals.

It is commonly associated with extreme pain accompanied by ti8ngling, burning or numbing sensation in the leg. The pain may get worse on nay physical activity like walking, running, coughing or even sneezing which effects the damaged nerve. Sometimes the muscles can also become weak and the affected person loses muscle coordination.

Treatment Options

Treatment of sciatica is often related to limiting the pain. The doctor may prescribe over the counter pain relieving, anti-inflammatory d r u g s and muscle relaxant like ibuprofen to minimized the pain. Also in extreme circumstances surgery is also performed to rectify the damaged nerve.

Holistic Treatments

Holistic treatments including natural and homeopathic medicines and also exercises and home care can greatly help to get relief from the symptoms of sciatica. Naturally occurring herbs like Matricariarecutita, Arctiumlappa and Devil’s Claw have both anti-inflammatory and pain relieving effects for the muscles and especially back. Rhustox and Colocynthis are some homeopathic treatments for getting relief from muscle soreness, physical pain and to boost nerve health.

Other than these applying cold ice packs for 15 to 20 minutes on the affected area also helps to minimize the pain. Conversely a hot pack may also help to loosen the sore muscles. Special doctors’ advice may also be taken to practice exercises that give relief from sciatica. These may relax and strengthen the muscles while reducing pain.

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Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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