Homeopathy is a very advanced science fully equipped to treat neuralgic pains, including sciatica. Homeopathic medicines can treat acute as well as chronic sciatica.
Some well recognized Homeopathic medicines for sciatica are Colocynthis, Magnesia Phosphorica, Gnaphalium Polycephalum, Arnica, Rhus Tox and Cotyledon.
Homeopathic Medicines for 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 in time, could prevent surgical intervention in cases of sciatica.
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 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. Few persons requiring Colocynthis may also get relief from warm applications.
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, hollow of knee and leg. Pressure or warm applications may offer relief. In some cases, uncovering the lower limb worsen the pain.
3. Gnaphalium Polycephalum – For Sciatica with Pain and Numbness
Gnaphalium Polycephalum is the most useful medicine for pain in the sciatic nerve when attended with numbness. It is also indicated where sciatica pain alternates with numbness. Folding thighs onto the abdomen provides some relief. Gnaphalium Polycephalum is also prescribed in sciatica cases where the pain is confined to the calves and feet.
4. Arnica Montana, Hypericum Perforatum and Ruta Graveolens – For Sciatica from Back Injury
Arnica Montana, Hypericum Perforatum and Ruta Graveolens are the most useful medicines for sciatica arising from injury to the back. The injury may be caused by falls or blows. Arnica Montana is advised in case of sciatica with excessive soreness of lower limbs. The slightest touch is unbearable on the affected side. Hypericum Perforatum is considered when the sciatic pain is attended with tingling, burning or numbness in the affected leg. The spine is also very sensitive to the touch. Walking or stooping is impossible from intense pain in the back and lower limb. Ruta Graveolens is the remedy where sciatica pain gets worse on lying down at night. A weakness of lower limbs attends.
5. Cotyledon Umbilicus – For Sciatica with Pain and Sensitivity in Lower Limbs
Cotyledon Umbilicus is a well-indicated medicine for intense sciatica pain where it is accompanied by high sensitivity in lower limbs. Heaviness in the lower limbs may also be felt. Also, in the case of stinging pain in the left hip, Cotyledon Umbilicus shows remarkable healing.
6. Bryonia Alba – For Sciatica that Worsens with Walking
Bryonia Alba is the most effective Homeopathic medicine for sciatica that gets worse from walking. The slightest motion may worsen sciatica in such cases. Lying down absolutely still provides some relief. Bryonia Alba is also the medicine to prescribe where the person feels relief by lying down on lower limb of the affected side. The hip and leg of the affected side may feel heavy.
7. Kali Iod – For Sciatica that gets Worse with Sitting or Standing
Kali Iod is an excellent remedy for sciatica that offers great help where sitting or standing worsen pain. Kali Iod is also the preferred medication for sciatica pain that gets worse at night. The person may wake from sleep in the middle of the night due to the pain. Walking provides some relief. Another unique feature in such cases is formication on the legs. The formication is mostly felt while sitting.
8. Rhus Tox – For Sciatica that becomes Painful with Rest
For sciatica pain that gets worse from 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 a heavy weight.
9. Valeriana Officinalis – For Sciatica where standing Increases Pain
Valeriana Officinalis is the most suitable medicine for sciatica that gets worse from standing. Persons who need this prescription may also complain of sciatic pain getting worse from stretching the leg. Walking may make things better. Valeriana Officinalis is also the most popular medicine to prescribe where severe pain is felt from the calf (back of leg) to heel.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is sciatica?
Sciatica refers to pain that begins in the lower back and travels down the lower limbs traversing the root of sciatic nerve. Sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the human body. It marks its beginning 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 involved when pain is experienced. An irritation or compression of sciatic nerve leads to sciatica.
2. What causes sciatica?
The causes of sciatica could be many, but the main among these are pinching, compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve. This pinching or compression may result from a disc bulge or a herniated disc in the lower spine. Other causes of sciatic nerve compression are degeneration of the spinal disc, stenosis (narrowing) of the spinal canal, bone spurs, spondylolisthesis (dislocated vertebra), piriformis syndrome and compression of sciatic nerve from a tumor in the spine.
3. I have sciatica and my MRI shows a disc bulge in the lower spine. Are the two related?
A disc (intervertebral disc) is basically the shock absorbing cushion between the spinal vertebrae. Discs are placed between vertebrae – one intervertebral disc between two vertebrae. When a disc develops a bulge due to some reason, it moves out from its normal position and starts compressing or putting pressure on the sciatic nerve. This compression leads to sciatica.
4. How can I tell I have sciatica?
Pain in the lower back that radiates down either leg clinically signifies that you have sciatica. The pain may be dull, tearing, shooting, lancinating (piercing or stabbing) or electric shock-like in nature. Few other symptoms that persist are numbness, tingling, burning sensation or weakness in the lower limb on the affected side. Standing or sitting for long worsens the pain. Lying down or walking relieves the symptoms. Doctors usually prescribe investigations such as X-rays, MRI, CT scan, EMG i.e. electromyography.
5. Can sciatica be both sided (bilateral)?
In a majority of the cases, sciatica is one sided i.e. with unilateral involvement of the sciatic nerve. However, the sciatic nerve on both sides (bilateral) may become involved. Causes of bilateral sciatica are large, central disc herniation, compressing of nerve roots, multiple disc herniation at different levels and spinal stenosis.
5. My pain is confined to the lower back and hips, is it sciatica?
You could. Though in a majority of the cases, sciatica pain starts from the lower back and radiates down the legs and feet, there are cases where sciatica pain starts in the lower back, but radiates down to the hips and not beyond.
6. My calf muscles and feet hurt. Could that be sciatica as well?
Yes, this is a possible scenario with sciatic nerve compression. Sciatica pain, which usually starts in the lower back and runs down the leg and feet, could in some cases be confined to the leg and feet alone. Any medication should follow proper investigation.
7. Is sciatica related to age?
No, sciatica has nothing to do with age. A person in any age group could suffer sciatica. However, sciatica from degeneration of spinal disc or spinal stenosis is mostly noted in elderly people.
8. Can lower back injury lead to sciatica?
Yes, lower back injury can cause compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve, leading to sciatica.
9. What investigations are conducted to establish or rule out sciatica?
Any major investigations related to sciatica include X-rays, MRI, CT scan, EMG i.e. electromyography.
10. I had sciatica, which is now healed. How can I make sure it does not come back?
You can prevent sciatica from recurring by learning techniques that reduce stress and strain in the lower back. Doing regular exercise also helps.
11. Can I take physiotherapy sessions along with Homeopathy medicines to manage my sciatica pain?
Of course, you could definitely do exercises or take physiotherapy sessions alongside Homeopathy medicines to manage sciatica. In fact, physiotherapy has serious long term benefits in sciatica. However, in severely acute sciatica pain, exercise should be avoided. It can be resumed once the acute episodes of sciatica have settled down.
12. My doctor advised surgery. Will it help to try Homeopathy medicines in such a scenario?
Yes, Homeopathy medicines are extremely effective and have to power to treat even severe cases of sciatica and avoid surgical procedures. However, the extent of benefit from these medicines will be based on factors such as duration, intensity, and cause of sciatica. Spinal surgery can be avoided in a large number of cases.
13. My physician says I have piriformis syndrome. What is that?
Piriformis syndrome is a neuromuscular disorder that is caused when the sciatic nerve is compressed by the piriformis muscle. Piriformis is a muscle located in the hips and a spasm in this muscle may compress the sciatic nerve. The symptoms arising include pain or numbness of the hip i.e. the gluteal region. Tingling may also be felt in the hip. The pain, after starting from the hip, may radiate down the course of the sciatic nerve. Excessive sitting or pressure over the piriformis muscle may worsen the symptoms.
14. What is the cauda equina syndrome?
Cauda equina syndrome is a serious neurological condition and a surgical emergency. Nerves located at the end of the spinal cord form a bundle called cauda. A severely ruptured disc in the lumbar area, spinal canal stenosis, injury and malignant tumour in the spine are common causes for cauda equina syndrome. The symptoms of cauda equina include severe low back pain, numbness/weakness in legs, bladder or bowel dysfunction, urinary retention, urinary incontinence, sexual dysfunction, anesthesia or paraesthesia in area including perineum, external genital, anus or pin needle feeling in groin or inner thighs, sciatica type pain and gait disturbance. Homeopathic medicines are of no help in such cases and the patient needs to be rushed into Emergency.
15. Can lifestyle changes can help treat sciatica?
Yes, lifestyle changes can truly help manage sciatica and to an extent help it heal fast when accompanied by Homeopathy medicines. Just learning a few techniques to adopt for the way we sit, stand or bend to lessen the stress on the back can reduce pain and make life that much easier. The first on the not-to-do list is forward or backward bending. The next is lifting heavy weights. Prolonged sitting and standing must also be avoided. Reducing body weight will help, as will avoiding high heels and quitting smoking. To further reduce pain, warm applications in the affected area are advised. Sleeping on a firm mattress is also recommended. Stretching exercises and physiotherapy also hasten the positive effects of medicines and help the condition to heal faster.