It might come as a surprise, but more than 80% of world’s population is affected with sciatica or lower back pain, at some point in their life. Ayurvedic medicine firmly believes that the lower back pain stems from ApanaVata, or downward facing wind, which is located in the region and from there it affects our lower back, hips, thighs, and our digestive system.
In Ayurveda, sciatica is referred to as Grdhrais, or vulture. The name comes from the common occurrence of people affected by the disorder limping due to the pain it causes. Ayurveda also suggests that sciatica is a typical vata disorder, as where’s pain, there’s vata.
If you’re after sciatica-caused pain relief, and you don’t want to resort to pain killers or surgery, Ayurveda has multiple solutions for your issue.
Here are some of the most commonly used Ayurvedic treatments for sciatica and lower back pain:
- Steam and massages
Massages are used in Ayurveda most commonly to get rid of muscular tension and pain. Essential herbal oils are used during the massage, so that they can, in combination with pressure, be absorbed into skin and help with pain relief. Traditionally, after getting a massage, steam therapy follows in order to relax the muscles and painful areas even more.
- Kati Basti
One of the unique Ayurvedic treatments is known as Kati Basti, and it is a treatment applied to the lower back. Kati roughly means lower back, and Bastitranslates to to hold. Flour based dough is made and formed into a well on the patient’s lower back, and then it’s filled with warm oil. As the oil cools down, it is replaced with new, warm oil, in order to stimulate the blood circulation in the area, which in turn reduces the pain.
- Herbal supplements
Commonly used herbs for sciatica and lower back pain in Ayurveda include:
- Castor oil: with its cleansing effects, castor oil is believed to help reduce vata.
- Ashwagandha, especially Withania Somnifera
- Dashamulu: this is a mixture of ten herbs, used for thousands of years.
Herbal remedies, or oils based on herbs are introduced through the colon, and Ayurveda believes that this method is the quickest, even though the most intrusive one, for removing vata. As both the rectum and colon are subjected to a heavy flow of blood and lymph, the absorption of the remedy is almost immediate. Research and studies show that enemas are more effective than oral consumption, by up to 50%.