Have you ever experienced the pain of sciatica? If you are like millions of other people, the answer is a painful “yes.” The discomfort of sciatica is not an ailment in and of itself; it is actually a symptom of some other problem affecting the sciatic nerve. Sciatica can manifest itself in many ways, ranging from a dull ache to a sharp pain. A burning sensation along the course of the sciatic nerves can also signal trouble.
The nerves themselves are the longest nerves in your body. You actually have a right and a left sciatic nerve, each emerging from the base of the spine, running through the pelvis and buttocks, into the thighs, and then splitting just above the knee into two major branches: the tibial nerve and the common peroneal nerve. Sciatic pain can occur anywhere along the nerves, on either side of the body.
Where Conventional Wisdom Meet Cayce Wisdom
Conventional wisdom is that sciatica results from some sort of pressure on the nerve roots at the base of the spine, perhaps due to a bulging or ruptured spinal disc. The anatomy of a disc is fairly simple. Discs are made of a layer of strong, circular fibers with a gel-like substance inside. A bulging disc is where the fibers have weakened or torn and a portion of the gel protrudes outward causing pressure on the nerve (called a protrusion). A more serious situation occurs when there is a tear in the fibers and a portion of the gel breaks free (a prolapse). The former situation can be treated by chiropractors and osteopaths; the later may require more serious intervention. Conventional wisdom is that problems with discs are a major cause of sciatica. Secondarily, spinal imbalances are to blame where joints are stiff or locked, putting pressure on the nerve roots, a condition that manual manipulation can address.
Cayce agreed with such wisdom in that he indicated that sciatic distress is related to nerve irritation in the lower back that transferred through the nerve into the lower extremities. But Cayce went further than dismissing sciatica to disc or alignment problems only.
Cayce’s Holistic Approach
The Cayce readings approach sciatic symptoms holistically, recognizing mechanical problems relating to the spine and surrounding musculature, but adding more systemic potential causes related to poor eliminations, glandular imbalance, and overacidity.
As one Cayce reading indicated:
“(Q) Is the pain in leg sciatica?
“(A) Rather as indicated, it is not true sciatica; rather a combination of pressures or conditions existent in the alimentary canal as well as the glandular forces that are contributory to, or are the basis of those conditions which produce disturbance in the limbs.” (Cayce)
What treatments, then, did Cayce suggest?
- Eat an alkalizing diet, low in fat and high in fiber
- Keep your colon clean and healthy through your high-fiber diet and periodic colonics
- Visit an osteopath and have the needed spinal adjustments
- Use the violet ray and radio-active appliance (Radiac®) to stimulate circulation
- Massage the lower lumbar area to relax muscles
- Apply a mullein “stupe” or compress to the lumbar area to stimulate circulation (see Mullein)
- Soak your aching body in an Epsom salts bath
Here’s one Cayce reading that will give you a flavor of a Cayce excerpt on this subject:
“Also each evening when ready to retire, we would use the violet ray (hand machine, bulb applicator), very lightly, for about a minute and a half, along the spine and especially across the lumbar and sacral, and on the shoulders and arms and neck – as a stimulation on these areas, and along the limbs.
“This done, with the colonics, will tend to relieve tendencies towards sciatica, rheumatism and neuritis – which are the tendencies that naturally arise in this short circuiting of the nerve forces and energies, and the slowed circulation, and quickness of the pulse in some portions and the slowing in other parts of the body.
“In the diet – keep those things that will aid in good eliminations for the body; such as more vegetables, some raw, but most well cooked; the leafy being preferable to those of the tubular or bulbular nature.” (Cayce)
As I studied Cayce’s recommendations for sciatica and studied the subject in medical resources, I realized how common this problem is, especially as we age. Cayce’s holistic approach to sciatica is likely to result in relief of symptoms and improved overall health and vitality.
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Elaine Hruska is a therapist at the A.R.E. Houston Spa and former teacher at the Cayce/Reilly* School of Massotherapy. This article is reprinted with permission by Venture Inward Newsletter, Virginia Beach, VA.