Sciatica is used to describe the symptoms that result when the sciatic nerve is damaged or compressed. The symptoms are sharp pain couple with or, followed by, numbness and loss of strength in the lower back, hip, or leg down to the foot. The sciatic nerves (left and right) are the largest nerves in the body with nerve roots coming from the spine at vertebrae, L4, L5, and S1. (Minor nerves also go to the upper leg and buttocks from S2 and S3.)
Depending on where the nerve root originates sciatica symptoms may be different.
· L4 – Pain, numbness, tingling symptoms on the inside lower leg and foot. Difficulty in rotating foot upward.
· L5 – Pain, numbness, tingling symptoms on the top of the foot and between great toe and second toe. Weakness will be in ankle and great toe.
· S1 – Pain, numbness, tingling symptoms to the outer side of foot. Difficulty in raising the heel or walking on tiptoes.
The sciatic nerve roots leave the spinal column in the three vertebrae mentioned then come together as one. The nerve then travels through the hip and thigh area and divides and subdivides as it continues down to the foot. Damage or compression anywhere along this path can cause the symptoms described.
Note: These protocols are very similar to those suggested for back pain in general. Remember the sciatic nerve starts in the lower back, vertebrae L4, L5, and S1 then thru the hip area to the legs. The nerve pressure or damage can be anywhere along this path. It is important to identify the distressed spot and to apply the oils that reduce inflammation, heal, and regenerate to this area.
Any back pain usually includes the following scenario:
1) There is an injury or degeneration that leads to damage of nerve, muscle, or connecting tissue. With the back most commonly nerve pressure or damage is involved.
2) Pain may be accompanied by loss of feeling and/or loss of strength
3) Inflammation compounds the pressure on the nerve
4) As the back muscles try to compensate there are often muscle spasms or cramps in the back area that add additional pressure and intense pain.
This leads to the conclusion that the protocol should include:
1) Oils for immediate pain relief
2) Oils for inflammation reduction
3) Oils to relax muscles and eliminate the spasms
4) Oils for increased circulation to facilitate quicker healing
5) Oils that heal and rebuild the damaged tissue
BEST TO START HERE:
· The single best possible step is to use the Massage Blend Technique described elsewhere on this website. Daily if possible. Follow with a hot compress.
· Supplement this with the oils listed below.
THEN COMBINE WITH THESE (as necessary):
Oils for immediate pain relief:
· Soothing Blend, Birch, or Wintergreen
· Apply 2 -3 drops topically to the area where the pain is manifested as often as required. (For some Wintergreen may need to be applied with a carrier oil.)
· To make the Massage Blend Technique or other oils and blends applied to the back more effective use a hot compress after the application to drive the oils deeper into the tissues and muscles.
Oils to reduce inflammation:
· Basil, Bergamot, Myrrh, Roman Chamomile, Rosemary, or Wintergreen
· Apply topically to spinal area. This is the location on the spine where the nerve is being pinched and will probably be different that where numbness or lack of strength or even muscle cramps occur. For example, if numbness and loss of strength is in the leg then the lower back area where the sciatic nerve originates may well be where there is nerve compression. Two or three drops topically 2 – 3 times daily. (For some Wintergreen may need to be applied with a carrier.)
Oils to relax muscles and eliminate spasms:
· Massage Blend, Helichrysum, Lavender, Marjoram, or Melissa
· Apply 2 – 3 drops topically to the area where the spasm is occurring.
Oils to increase circulation:
· Invigorating Blend, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Geranium, or Lemon
· Apply 2 -3 drops topically to the spinal area 2 -3 times per day
Oils to heal and regenerate tissue:
· Frankincense, Helichrysum, or Sandalwood
· Apply 1 -2 drops topically to the spinal area 2 -3 times per day followed by a hot compress
· Baths with oils will help relaxation
· Diffusion of Invigorating Blend, Lavender, or other relaxing oils at bed time will help