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What Causes Sciatica and How Do You Treat It?

Date :18-Oct-2019


The sciatic nerve is the largest in the body. When irritated, it can cause debilitating pain. This is often characterized by radiating pain or tingling in the back, that shoots into the hips and glutes, extending down to the leg and foot. It is important to understand the causes of sciatica to start treatment on time and stay pain-free.


Sciatica pain is often a symptom of an underlying problem.

Common causes of Sciatica pain include:

  • Sitting for long periods
  • Weight gain or obesity
  • Carrying heavy objects
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Improper form when exercising or lifting weights
  • An awkward sleeping position or a mattress that is too soft
  • Wearing the wrong shoes for an activity
  • Spending a long period in high heels

The most common causes of sciatica is a disc prolapse, also known as disc herniation or slipped disc, degenerative disc disease, bone spurs, lumbar spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, bone spurs, and spinal tumours. If your pain worsens or lasts for more than a few weeks, seek medical attention.

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc, also known as a bulging disc, occurs when the soft disc that acts as a cushion between vertebrae pushes through a crack in the exterior casing. This can irritate nerves leading to sciatic pain.

Degenerative disc disease

The discs between vertebrae lose their cushioning; and the spine loses flexibility due to the wear and tear of everyday life as we get older. The areas of the spine that are in motion the most and endure more stress are the most vulnerable to degenerative disc disease.

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Lumbar spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal bone channel that houses the spinal cord and nerves narrows, causing the spinal nerve roots to compress, and producing the tingling, weakness, pain, and numbness associated with sciatica. This often occurs in the lower back where the sciatic nerves are found. While some people are born with a congenital spinal canal defect, for most people, spinal degeneration happens over time


This condition occurs when a spinal vertebra slips forward onto the bone below it. People who are at risk of this condition are the athletes who put stress on the bones in the lower back, such as gymnasts or football players

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Bone Spurs

Sciatica can be caused by an overgrowth of the bone. This condition is known as a bone spur, which occurs on your vertebrae. Bone spurs are developed from normal wear and tear on the spine due to age, or injury. This condition can cause pain by irritating the sciatic nerves in the surrounding area. Lower back pain from bone spurs is most common among patients over 60 years. However it may spring earlier in life too, either due to hereditary reasons or due to poor nutrition, bad posture, and injury.


A tumour pressing on the sciatic nerve can be a reason for sciatica pain. However, this is a rare condition. Several types of spinal tumours are benign and can be removed surgically, without lasting nerve damage. Cancerous tumours occur in the vertebral column and can grow from either the bone or disc area. This is commonly seen in younger adults and usually grows slowly. 


The diagnosis is done by physical examination, neurological testing and analysing the patient history.

The most common test used by the experts is the straight leg raising test. The result is considered positive if pain in the sciatic nerve is reproduced with between 30 and 70 degrees passive flexion of the straight leg during the test.

Using imaging tests like computerized tomography (CT scan) or with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sciatica can be diagnosed. Piriformis syndrome is another cause of sciatica and can be diagnosed through MR neurography.


Ayurvedic treatment for sciatica varies depending on the medical status of each person. Through a thorough body check up, ayurvedic physician assesses several causative factors which predispose the body to the condition and offer treatment to change those basic causative factors. For assessing the symptoms like pain, Ayurvedic medicines, and oil and herbal massages and other therapies like Kativasthi are administered.

To strengthen the tissues and correct the underlying causes, the most important treatment comprises of Kashaya vasti, Sneha Vasti, Ksheera Basti, Etc are used along with diet and lifestyle changes. The treatment plans are organised according to the severity and nature of the disease. Ayurvedic treatment therapies may range between 3 – 4 weeks depending on the patient's condition. This is to attain the maximum recovery with the treatment phase.

If you are living in pain, don't suffer silently. Ayurveda can give you complete relief from your pain, Chronic back pain and sciatica pain are treatable conditions today. No matter how difficult your case, Kayakalp Ayurvedic Clinic can help you. Visit the Kayakalp Ayurvedic clinic.

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Blog Reviewed By: Dr. Tarun Gupta
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