Our nerves course throughout our bodies carrying information to the Central core (central nervous system) as well as carry information away by way of motor neurons. When there is impingement or disease anywhere along their paths-there can be pain (neuralgia) and inflammation (neuritis) and this can lead to nerve destruction (neuropathy). Sciatica is a particularly painful inflammation of the sciatic nerve that runs down the leg from the sacral area.
There can be lots of causes of sciatica including lumbar disc disease, bony encroachment, and inflammation of the nerves caused by a viral infection-shingles. Nerve irritation can also be caused by damage to the discs between the vertebrae. Damage to the disc can come from simple “wear and tear” of the outer ring of the disc or from traumatic injury, or both.
As a result, the central softer portion of the disc ruptures or herniates out through the outer ring of the disc and can cause pressure on either the spinal cord or the nerves. This rupture is what causes the commonly recognized “sciatica” pain that shoots down the leg. Sciatica can be preceded by a history of localized low-back aching or it can follow a “popping” sensation and be accompanied by numbness and tingling.
The pain commonly increases with movements at the waist and can increase with coughing or sneezing. In more severe instances, sciatica can be accompanied by incontinence of the bladder and/or bowels.
Western medicine Treatments range from medical management to surgery. With unrelenting pain, severe impairment of function, or incontinence (which can indicate spinal cord irritation), surgery may be necessary.
Essential Oils Can Help with Sciatic Pain
When there is pressure and pain, the person may not be able to stand up or walk straight and pain may be excruciating. A number of essential oils can help relieve the pain and irritation, decrease swelling and inflammation and give the back time to heal. Essential oils can detoxify, relax, and decrease swelling in muscle tissue. A muscle responds to pain with a reflex contraction.
This causes blood flow to the area to be impeded. Less oxygen and glucose and the decrease in circulation means that removal of toxins and waste products is slowed. Inflammation, muscular soreness and pain are the results.
o Helichrysum, peppermint, nutmeg, thyme, spruce, wintergreen/birch, basil, rosemary, clove, tarragon.
o Blends-Aroma Siez, PanAway, Relieve It, Aroma Life
o Compress-warm if there is no inflammation; cold if there is inflammation, 1-2 times daily as needed.
o Specifically for Muscle-basil, marjoram, lavender, Relieve It, PanAway
o Specifically for spasms-Aroma Siez with Ortho Ease or Ortho Sport massage oils
o Topically, dilute 50-50, 6-10 drops on location twice a day or as needed
o Raindrop technique 2-3 times a week in acute situations, and 2-3 times monthly in chronic conditions. (Raindrop technique uses 9 essential oils “feathered” into the spine with a light touch)
I have found helichrysum followed by peppermint to be particularly helpful in relieving the pain of sciatica. Another essential oil I would highly recommend is Palo Santo (meaning “holy wood”). This oil comes from South America and has pain relieving qualities as well as anti-inflammatory properties.
This oil has high levels of limonene -up to 65% making it an excellent anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic oil. It has been used to heal fractures and get people out of wheel chairs. Using a combination of Palo Santo & Frankincense for pain & for bone rejuvenation (including Idaho Balsam Fir) will shorten recuperation time.