Sciatica is the medical term for a pain that travels from the lower back down the back of the leg, through the calf and to the outer aspect of the foot. It is caused by inflammation of the sciatic nerve, which is the largest nerve in the body, the main nerve of the lower limb, and has branches coming from the spinal column from the spaces between lumbar vertebrae four and five all the way down to sacral outlet three .
Depending upon which part of the nerve is inflamed, a pain may be felt anywhere along the sciatic nerve line, such that a discomfort in the foot or calf may be a sciatic inflammation. The diagnostic test is to lie down and pull the toes backwards which stretches the sciatic nerve. A worsening is probably sciatic discomfort. The same will occur if the leg is raised with the knees straight.
The cause is usually a malaligned vertebra or inflamed muscles through which the sciatic nerve passes. A prolapsed disc or arthritic condition may be responsible and, rarely, viral and supplemental defiencies can trigger inflammation.
Apply heat through a wrapped hot water-bottle or heat pad to the area.
The homeopathic remedies Colocynthis or Lycopodium may be used if the discomfort is in the right leg and Carboneum sulphuricum if the pain is on the left. Take potency 6 every hour. A more accurate selection of remedy should be made, depending upon the symptoms, from your preferred homeopathic manual.
Osteopathy, chiropractic, Shiatsu and acupuncture may all be instantly relieving and perhaps preferable to physiotherapy initially.
Any one of yoga, Qi Gong, Alexander technique and Polarity therapy may be considered to train and strengthen the back muscles to protect the sensitive nerves.
Use Vitamin B± with the next meal after the problem starts. Then take lOmg per foot of height with each meal for three days maximum. Any nausea or dizziness associated with taking this compound is an indication to stop.
Bromelaine with meals is a very good naturopathic anti-inflammatory.
A teaspoonful of turmeric in half a pint of full-fat milk should be simmered for lOmin. A mouthful should be swallowed every half hour until the pint is drunk.
Two handfuls of white bread mixed with a heaped tablespoonful of cayenne pepper and enough water to make a dough-like consistency can be placed over the lower back and held on by a wraparound. Remove this after 20min because it may burn the skin, but if it is effective then repeat every 6hr.
Avoid orthodox painkillers if possible because a removal of the pain may encourage movement, which will further damage an inflamed nerve.
Steroid injection or nerve block is a last resort but is useful if no other treatment is proving beneficial.