Mike Tyson, former world heavyweight champion, has revealed that he is suffering from sciatica, a nerve-impacting condition that causes pain in the lower back and leg. The condition also makes it difficult for him to talk sometimes, said Tyson, who was photographed in a wheelchair at Miami International Airport last month, in an interview with Newsmax TV. “I have sciatica; every now and then, it flares up,” he told the outlet. “When it flares up, I can’t even talk! Thank God it’s the only health problem I have,” he said in the same interview.
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What is sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition in which the sciatic nerve gets compressed. It can cause backache which can radiate to the feet. It can also lead to a person experiencing a tingling sensation or numbness, said ayurvedic practitioner Dr Dixa Bhavsar.
“It originates in the buttock or the gluteal region and the pain runs down the entire leg because that is the course of the sciatic nerve — it runs on the back of the leg and ends near the knee joint after which it has its branches, Dr Manan Vora, sports medicine expert and orthopaedic surgeon, told indianexpress.com.
Sciatica mostly occurs when a herniated or slipped disk or an overgrowing bone starts putting pressure on part of the nerve, thereby causing inflammation, pain and some numbness in affected leg, mentioned Dr Sabika Abidi
consultant senior physiotherapist, Masina Hospital Physiotherapy Center, Mumbai.
The major causes include slipped vertebral disc, spinal stenosis, degenerative disc changes, and injury to the spine, Dr Deeksha Katiyar, physician, at WeClinic Homoeopathy, told indianexpress.com. “The condition may get further exaggerated due to weight gain, lack of exercise, sleeping on mattresses that are not firm or soft enough, or due to occupational issues like prolonged sitting and heavy weightlifting,” Dr Katiyar said.
What exactly happens when you have sciatica?
Pain can vary from a mild ache to a sharp burning pain (like an electric shock), on the back of thigh, calf, or foot, said Dr Apoorv Dua, hip, knee and shoulder replacement and reconstruction surgeon, Dept. Of Orthopaedics, Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Medical college and Hospital, New Delhi. He added, “Complication like loss of feeling in the affected leg, weakness in affected leg, and loss of bowel or bladder sensation can also occur.”
If left untreated for a longer period, sciatica may lead to permanent neurological damage; and it can also impact one’s speech and ability to talk; and sometimes increases the chances of developing Parkinson’s disease, behaviour change, Bell’s Palsy, Alzheimer and epilepsy, Dr Katiyar said. However, Dr Dua said that isolated sciatica doesn’t affect speech or the ability to talk but the pain associated can be excruciating and recurring, causing hindrance in our day to day activities.
What can be done?
According to Dr Bhavsar, some ayurvedic tips can “definitely help you relieve backache in sciatica.” “It can also help you maintain the health of your spine,” she told indianexpress.com.
*Do not stand for more than 40 minutes continuously.
*Practice Makarasana, Shalabhasana, Markatasana, and Bhujangasana daily.
*Don’t sit in the same position for more than two hours. Take five minutes break and stretch.
*Abhyanga (massaging your back) with oils help.
Ayurvedic oils to relieve backache are
You can also use sesame/mustard oil from your kitchen pharmacy.
Dr Katiyar suggested the following remedies
*Apply ice or hot bag to reduce pain and swelling
*Perform gentle stretching and physiotherapy
*One can take homeopathic medicines as Arnica, Hypericum, Gnaphalium, and Causticum to reduce pain, inflammation and swelling caused by the condition.
Counter pain medications, medications that are given for nerves and muscles, spinal injections are also advised for such patients, said Dr Vora, adding that “if one does not get relief with all the above and if all other consecutive treatments fail, then spine surgery is the only solution”.
Regular exercise, good posture while sitting, and avoiding lifting heavy weights can help, said Dr Dua. Dr Vora concurred, adding that maintaining an ideal body weight, exercising regularly, not smoking, and in general, stretching and conditioning helps.
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