I agree with the previous posters entirely...assuming you've done a complete and thorough Colon Cleanse already, and are having 2-3 normal bowel movements daily.
If you haven't done a thorough colon cleanse, the root cause of your sciatica could easily be a swollen/engorged/sluggish colon...as the lower colon wraps around the sciatic nerve...and if the colon is compacted, sluggish, engorged (and stuffed full continually with more than one or two meals worth of food), it can put INCREDIBLE pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause pain that virtually no type of herb, product, pain-killer or chiropractic treatment can stop.
Of course, if you've done a thorough Colon Cleanse and already understand how your colon can affect your sciatic nerve and back pain, then this is all just 'review stuff'...but if you haven't, please take the time to check it out!
See the articles below (and the links below that) for more information :)
If more people understood the importance of keeping their digestive tract in good working order, we would experience a healthier and more compassionate society. That may seem like a fairly bold statement but I have witnessed and experienced life transformations from simply committing to an annual colon cleansing regimen each spring. In fact, my husband has nicknamed me the “queen of bowel cleansing” since I never neglect to mention a Colon Cleanse to anyone who comes to me for health advice. In the November 1999 Idaho Observer, I shared many stories of friends and family who have experienced first hand the benefits of colon cleansing. Rather than repeat that article, I have decided to share some excerpts from Dr. Richard Schultze's excellent March 2002 Get Well! Newsletter: Your Colon¾Knowing What Goes on in the Last Five Feet Can Save Your Life!
According to Dr. Shultz, colon cancer kills more men and women in America than breast or prostate cancer and four times more people than AIDS.
It is estimated that in 2002, over 130,000 new cases of colon-rectal cancer will be diagnosed and this form of cancer will be the cause of death for 60,000 Americans.
Current medical statistics reveal that every American will develop some type of colon disease, tumor, polyp or cancer in their lifetime.
The Merck Manual, the standard text for the diagnosis and treatment of disease, tells us that colon degeneration is on the rise. In fact, the incidence of diverticulosis has increased dramatically over the last 50 years.
According to this manual, in 1950 only 10 percent of adults over 45 had this disease; in 1987, over 45 percent of adults over 45 were afflicted. In the latest Merck Manual it states that the incidence increases rapidly over age 40 and that every person is expected to have diverticulosis if they live long enough.
Into the bowels
Dr. John R. Christopher stated that over 90 percent of our ailments can be traced to an accumulation of toxins in the colon. Dr. Shultze had a hard time believing some of Dr. Christopher's stories of people having a bowel movement only once a month until he started his own clinic in Hollywood, California. He then had the experience of meeting patients who claimed to have a bowel movement only every other month. He thought that was the record breaker until he received a letter from a woman who thanked him profusely for his Intestinal Formula #1. This woman claimed to have a bowel movement twice a year!
So what is a normal bowel movement and how frequently should we be “pooping?” If we were eating a more natural diet consisting of plenty of raw foods and drinking large amounts of water and hydrating liquids, we would be evacuating the same as the number of meals eaten daily. In other words, having a bowel movement two to three times a day is optimum. Any less than this is a sign of constipation.
Dr. Shultze recounts in his superb newsletter numerous stories of patients who want one of his miraculous herbal formulas to clear up their health problems. He patiently listens to their complaints and immediately puts them on a bowel cleanse. Many of them are initially irate, not realizing that their health problems will disappear in the process of bowel cleansing.
I, too, have had similar experiences with friends and acquaintances so I can totally relate. I have seen too many people recover from migraines, back problems, crippling Arthritis and even cancer by simply going on a Bowel Cleanse first and then continuing with a healthful, vegetarian diet.
One such story from Dr. Schultze's newsletter is classic:
“I had a lady come to see me; she had been out of work, literally flat on her back in pain for 2 #189; years. She had pain in the lumbar vertebrae, sacrum and sciatic nerve, EVERY DAY, ALL DAY. No work, not even housework, not even going shopping for a few groceries. She had many visits to her chiropractor along with Hatha Yoga, which are two of the best therapies for any spinal problems, but she got little results. The osteopath's orthopedic treatments didn't help either and she was at her wits end. She even told me she was contemplating killing herself.
“Guess what? She was constipated! I put her on the bowel-cleansing program and in less than a week all of her pain was gone, and never returned. She was shocked, in disbelief, and she was really, really mad at all the doctors for overlooking something so simple; constipation. Her blocked, engorged, swollen colon was pressing on all the nerves in her lower back.”
The Reason Over 90 percent of ALL Disease (or MORE) Can Be Traced to the Colon
Even if you think that your particular health problem is unrelated to how well your bowel functions, you may be wrong. The reason for this is the fact that a swollen, irritated, constipated colon puts pressure on and infects everything around it. Quoting from Shultze's newsletter:
“...the entire colon is so big that it is connected to, touches, sits next to or is in the vicinity of every major organ in the human body except the brain. It also touches most of your major blood vessels and nerves. Constipation causes the colon to literally swell, expand and even herniate.
Remember that all the major medical books told us that all of us store too much fecal matter and have this happening inside of us. So when an area of the colon gets constipated and swells, it compresses and crushes the organ next to it. This could be the lungs, the heart, the liver and gallbladder, the pancreas, the kidneys and adrenals, the uterus, the prostate -- again, almost every major organ in the body.
This is why a constipated and swollen colon can cause an almost endless amount of seemingly unrelated diseases and problems...The point is there is NO EXTRA SPACE in your body. If your bowel swells due to constipation and bowel pockets, another organ gets pinched, if not crushed.
...What's the bottom line? A sluggish, constipated, swollen bowel, retaining pounds of old fecal matter can either compress a nearby area causing disease or emit infection and toxins which can affect and infect any area of the body.”
Dr. Schultze has witnessed hundreds of patients with chronic back pain, sciatica, leg pain and even migraines all recover after a good bowel cleansing program. This is because the nerves from the spine run right next to the bowel before they go down the legs.
In his newsletter, Dr. Shultze reprints testimonial letters that he has received from all over the country. One of these letters, printed at the end of this article, really speaks to many of our readers.
It is such a typical story. People wait until the alternative is clearly worse than the cure before they decide to go on a bowel cleansing program. We suggest instead that you use this spring to start on your annual bowel cleansing basic maintenance program. We just finished our annual “spring cleaning” and are experiencing all the side benefits. The most important benefits are a healthy body, a recharged immune system.
Sciatica can be a very painful and disabling problem. It involves pain in the leg, which is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body.
The sciatic nerve is formed by lumbar (lower back) nerve roots, where the nerves emerge from the spine. These nerve roots join together at the sides of the spine to form the large unified bands, which are the right and left sciatic nerves. These nerves course downward from the lower back, through the buttocks, and into the thighs, each one eventually splitting into two major branches (the tibial nerve and the common peroneal nerve) just above the knee. These smaller nerve branches provide the nerve supply to the lower leg, which is essential for controlling the movement of the leg muscles. Sciatica can involve pain at any point along the course of the sciatic nerve and its branches, from the lower back to the tip of the big toe, but it most commonly refers to pain in the leg.
Though most nerves are threadlike in appearance, the sciatic nerve is more accurately visualized as a thick, smooth gray rope, often approaching an inch in diameter. The bulk of the nerve (and the many layers of nerve fibers within it) make it particularly susceptible to pressure and irritation.
Modern Medical, Osteopathic and Chiropractic Explanations of Sciatica
The current conventional understanding of sciatica is that it most frequently occurs as the result of pressure on nerve roots, due to a bulging or ruptured spinal disc. These discs are composed of a strong outer layer of circular fibers and an inner layer of a gel-like material. Spinal discs act as shock-absorbing cushions between the vertebrae (spinal bones).
If the outer fibers of a spinal disc give way due to a traumatic injury or long-term gradual weakening, the gel can slip out through the tear in the outer layer. In most instances, it remains connected to the main mass of gel in the disc (this is called a protrusion), but in other more severe cases, it breaks off (this is called a prolapse) to form a "free fragment." Protrusions and prolapses usually occur in the area of the nerve root. Because the root is exquisitely sensitive, this results in the classic sharp leg pain of sciatica. If a large disc rupture occurs, and a significant amount of the gel breaks loose, there may be no good alternative to back surgery. Fortunately, most cases of sciatica are less severe and can be treated less invasively.
Sciatica caused by mild to moderate disc bulges can be treated by chiropractors and osteopaths with specialized forms of traction (the McManis and Cox methods), spinal adjustments or manipulations, and stretching exercises for the lower back.
Sciatica-like leg pain can also come from spinal problems not directly related to the spinal discs. Spinal imbalances, which chiropractors call "subluxations" and osteopaths call "lesions," may involve the locking of joints (places where two bones meet) of the lumbar vertebrae or of the sacroiliac joints, located in the back of the pelvis. These are a common source of both lower back pain and the leg pain that sometimes accompanies it. Such subluxations and lesions are best treated with manual manipulation by a chiropractor or osteopath.
The Cayce Readings Approach to Sciatica
The Cayce readings that are related to sciatica are consistent with the modern health perspective, insofar as they demonstrate a recognition that the symptoms relate to nerve irritation in the lower back.
But the Cayce readings go further. They rarely conclude that the mechanical problems of spinal alignment, joint motion and nerve pressure are the whole story. Instead, they point toward potentially deeper levels of causation, particularly with regard to the organs of digestion, elimination, and circulation.
The Cayce health readings always evaluate the primary symptom (in this case sciatica) in relation to the rest of the body, with its many interdependent systems. Cayce's full-body, all-systems' approach is an excellent early example of holistic medicine. Readers of the Cayce material find that symptoms are never viewed in isolation, but rather as part of a whole system, which includes not only the entire body, but also the mind and spirit that infuse the body.
Commitment to Healing: Making a Choice
Before delving into Cayce's physical recommendations for the sciatica-sufferers who consulted him, its important to remember the underlying body-mind-spirit context of the readings. As Cayce said in reading 3138-1:
"...unless there is the determination in self, as well as those who may be necessary to make the applications for corrections with this body, we would not begin, but rather rely upon the sedatives ... [which] are not curative forces at all."
In other words, patients face a choice between suppressing their symptoms on the one hand, and, on the other, pursuing deeper levels of healing. Making this choice requires the individual to examine his or her goals. The Cayce readings are saying that unless these goals include a commitment to pursuing deeper levels of the healing process, suppressing the pain with medication may be all that can be hoped for. The readings by no means endorse such a course of action, but recognize that each individual has free will in this matter.
These deeper levels of healing may involve much more than the disappearance of a particular pain or malfunction, and the healing process may be demanding of both the patient and the doctor. In some of the cases in this file, the patient did not follow Cayce's recommendations, and in other cases the directions were followed only in part. Those cases in which the greatest success was achieved appear to have involved people who made a commitment to healing and then followed through.
Causes of Sciatica According to the Cayce Readings
The Cayce readings on sciatica refer consistently to three key causes of the condition:
1. Injuries to the spine or spinal muscles
2. Congestion in the colon (large intestine)
3. A general condition of acidity in the body
Interestingly, the readings indicate that while a back strain or other back injury usually plays a role in the development of sciatica, it is not often the primary role. Instead, a more wide-ranging condition of acidity and toxicity is seen as the central cause. Cayce is saying that the sciatica stems from an overall imbalance in the body, which takes the form of a specific symptom (in this case sciatica) as the result of a particular injury sustained by the body. Reading 2516-2 states this concisely:
Q: What produced these poisons and nerve pressures in the first place?
A: Unbalanced condition and lack of proper eliminations.
Q: Is the condition due to an injury, a wrench in my back, which I received in the spring?
A: This, of course, only localized it.
In reading 404-12, the questioner asks why the colon affects the sciatic nerve. Cayce replies, "Because the nerves connect directly from one to the other!" Modern medical textbooks recognize this phenomenon, referring to it as the viscero-somatic reflex (viscera=internal organ, soma=body). Other examples of such reflexes occur when people with heart problems experience pain in their left arm, or people with gall bladder trouble have right shoulder pain. (It should be noted that most cases of left arm and right shoulder pain are not caused by the heart and gall bladder.)
Cayce's approach expands the conventional view of sciatica. The inclusive and holistic context mapped out by the Cayce readings is more akin to the approach of Eastern healing arts than of Western medicine.
Cayce Recommendations for Treatment of Sciatica
Among the physical treatments Cayce advised for sciatica are:
1. a natural diet low to moderate in fat, including plenty of vegetables
2. colonic irrigations
3. spinal manipulation
4. massage with oils including olive and peanut
5. low-power electrical stimulation with the Wet Cell Appliance, which was used to electrically transmit gold chloride ions into the body
6. external herb and mineral applications, including mullein, Glyco-Thymoline, and hot Epsom Salts
7. low-power electrical stimulation with the radio-active [radial] appliance
Massage, manipulation, the electrical therapies, and the external applications can be understood, for the most part, as methods of balancing the muscular, skeletal, and nervous systems. As such, Cayce's recommendation to use them is largely consistent with methods of healing widely accepted today in the health professions, though the form of electrical stimulation favored by the Cayce readings is of a different nature than the higher-intensity electrical therapies in common use today.
Where the Cayce readings differ most significantly from current conventional treatment is with regard to the emphasis they place on diet, and the roles of circulation and elimination. Most contemporary doctors who deal with sciatica consider diet, circulation, and elimination largely irrelevant. The Cayce readings, consistent with the osteopathy of Cayce's era, consider it to be crucial.
The readings assert that poor diet (high in fats, low in nutrients) creates a drag upon the overall system. This results in a buildup of toxins in the system, particularly in the colon. The levels of the spine that provide the nerve supply to the colon also supply the sciatic nerve. Nerve distress signals from the colon are transmitted to the spine at these levels, which in turn activates pain pathways in the sciatic nerve. This feedback loop goes in both directions, further reinforcing the vicious cycle.
Cayce's therapies seek to interrupt the cycle at several points along the way, through colonic irrigations to cleanse the colon of toxic matter, spinal manipulation to correct structural imbalances and normalize the nerve supply, massage to stimulate circulation and relax tense muscles, and electrical therapies to balance body energies. These, combined with a non-toxic natural diet, provide a program for both symptom relief and improved overall health.