The sciatic nerve is the longest and the widest nerve in the human body. This nerve runs from lower back, buttocks and the legs, ending right below the knee.
Sciatic nerve controls various muscles in the lower legs and provides sensation to the lower leg.
Sciatica is a symptom caused due to problems in the sciatic nerve. Sciatica usually occurs due to slipped disk or spinal stenosis (narrowing of the nerve).
Causes of sciatica include:
- Slipped disk
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the nerve)
- Diabetic neuropathy
- Sprained ligament
- Infection or injury within the spine
- Cauda equina syndrome
- Hematoma (accumulation of blood)
It is estimated that approximately 40% of people experience sciatica at least once in their life.
Types of sciatica:
- Acute sciatica: It is a short term condition where it normally lasts for 4-8 weeks.
- Chronic sciatica: It is a long term condition that persists for 8 weeks or more.
Symptoms of sciatica are:
- Pain in lower back
- Pain in hips
- Shooting pain which makes it difficult to stand up
- Tingling sensation
- Weakness and numbness in the legs
- Constant pain in the affected leg
Table of Contents
- Best Ways To Take Turmeric For Sciatica
- How Turmeric Benefits In Sciatica
Best Ways To Take Turmeric For Sciatica
Disclaimer – There is no particular prescribed dose of turmeric defined for sciatica. Based on the studies and reader’s reports we have summarized various ways of taking turmeric which could benefit in this disorder.
The dosage depends on the formulation of the turmeric supplement and severity of the health condition. Here is the recommended dose:
Fresh Turmeric roots
Turmeric roots are a great addition to diet but the limited quantities we eat cannot exert a significant therapeutic effect in sciatica.
Recommended intake: 1-3g or ½ inch long piece of root sliced or chopped. You can also juice it and take it with a pinch of black pepper. This can be a part of your fresh juices or taken individually as 30 ml thrice a day to curb pain.
You can also make Golden paste from fresh roots.
Further Read – Is fresh turmeric better then powder?
However, if you take turmeric powder straight with black pepper then it would be 1-2 g of turmeric powder with a pinch of black pepper.
In terms of teaspoon that would be 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder with ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper powder twice a day.
Maximum dose: 1 tsp of turmeric powder with ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper thrice a day
Golden Paste combines heat, black pepper and healthy fats to increase the absorption of turmeric.
It is highly recommended to take this paste after/with meals and to avoid taking it close to other medications. (Read Does Turmeric cause acid reflux? Black pepper in GP: Does it cause drug interaction?) Here is the recipe.
You can also make Golden Paste from fresh roots.
Start with small doses such as 1/4-1/2 tsp and if you see no side effects then increase the dose by ¼ teaspoon every week. Continue till reaching a dose of 1-2 tsp 2-3 times a day (precisely 1 tsp 3 times a day).
Also if the pain is too severe you can consider splitting the dose and taking it in regular intervals. Or you may increase the dose.
This is the ideal dose of Golden Paste where you should experience relief. The ideal dose differs with every individual; some do fine on a small dose while some may need more.
Thinking of other ways to take Golden Paste read 10 ways to take Golden Paste
Maximum dosage: 1 tablespoon 2-3 times a day only advised if you are comfortable taking it and not experiencing gastric side effects.
Some individuals swear by turmeric tincture’s pain relief action. And it also skips the taste issue.
Take 10-30 drops 2-3 times a day depending on the condition. It can be added to teas, juices or smoothies.
Maximum dosage: 20-30 drops 3 times a day
This is a good option for tea lovers and who want to skip the taste of turmeric paste. Here is the recipe for Turmeric Tea.
Recommended intake: 1-2 cups a day
This is just perfect when it comes to combating pain naturally. You can find the recipe for Turmeric Milk here.
Recommended intake: 1-2 cups a day
The recommended dosage for supplements is 300-400mg 2-3 times a day for standardized 95% curcumin extract.
However the dose would differ based on the formulation, hence it is best to consult a doctor before taking turmeric supplements.
Avoid taking supplements on an empty stomach and close to the time of taking medicines. Consult a health practitioner before taking turmeric supplements.
How Turmeric Benefits In Sciatica
Let us see with the help of scientific research studies and evidence if Turmeric can be used to fight the symptom of sciatica or not.
1. Anti Inflammatory action
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are widely used for curing low back pain.
A large number of studies have been performed to test the efficacy of NSAIDs for alleviating symptoms of sciatica.
One of the most important properties of curcumin is its ability to reduce inflammation.
A review article titled “Anti-inflammatory properties of Curcumin-A major Constituent of Curcuma longa.
A review of pre-clinical and clinical research” and “Curcumin- a natural anti-inflammatory agent “discuss in detail the mechanism of anti-inflammatory action of curcumin.
They indicate that curcumin inhibits the expression of inflammatory enzymes like cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), lipoxygenase and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS).
What do we conclude? Curcumin in turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory properties.
It reduces inflammation by a number of different mechanisms by targeting inflammation- inducing molecules.
Since proinflammatory cytokines produce neuropathic pain and turmeric can suppress the release of inflammatory cytokines, we can conclude that it may serve as an effective therapeutic against sciatica.
2. Turmeric is comparable to corticosteroids in producing an analgesic effect
The lumbosacral radicular pain in sciatica can be effectively relieved by the administration of corticosteroids.
Studies have proven that epidural corticosteroids produce an analgesic effect for a short period of time and may also be effective for long-term durations.
Corticosteroids, however, produce a large number of adverse effects like immuno- suppression, Hyperglycemia , psychiatric disorders like depression , cardiovascular side effects like hypertension, gastric bleeding etc.
Several research studies conducted for other diseases indicate that Curcumin is favorably comparable to corticosteroids.
A research conducted on patients suffering from chronic anterior uveitis compared the efficacy of curcumin and corticosteroids in improving the condition of the suffering patients.
The research lasted for 12 weeks and it was concluded that although the results were comparable, curcumin was still better than corticosteroids because of no significant side effects that it produced in contrast to corticosteroid.
Similarly, another research published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, titled “effects of curcumin in the treatment of experimental pulmonary fibrosis:
A comparison with hydrocortisone” conducted on rats injected with bleomycin indicates that curcumin is as effective as corticosteroid hydrocortisone in the prevention of bleomycin-induced pulmonary fibrosis in patients.
What do we conclude? These studies show that curcumin has similar therapeutic effects to corticosteroids which are commonly used as analgesics against lower back pain in sciatica.
But, considering the fact that corticosteroid produce harmful short- term and long- term adverse effects on patients’ health, curcumin should be preferred over corticosteroids.
Extensive research of curcumin on sciatica patients is thus required.
3. Anti-depressant properties of curcumin
Sciatica is also referred to as mixed pain syndrome as it is caused by neuropathic and nociceptive pains.
The commonly prescribed non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs only reduce nociceptive pain. To relieve neuropathic pain, the patients are needed to be administered with antidepressants.
A research published in Europe PubMed Central suggests the importance of anti-depressants like Amitriptyline along with Non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to treat sciatica completely.
However, chemically produced antidepressants also produce risks of several side effects.
Turmeric can be helpful in this context too. It has a proven potent antidepressant like the activity that too with no significant side effects.
A research shows that aqueous extracts of turmeric produced anti-depressant effects on mice in vivo by inhibiting monoamine oxidize enzymes and another indicates that curcumin also increases the levels of serotonin and dopamine neurotransmitters.
Research published in the journal Current Therapeutic Research investigated the effects of curcumin in the prevention of chronic neuropathic pain in rats with chronic construction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve.
After observing them for 7 days, it was deduced that curcumin treatment successfully prevents chronic neuropathy caused after peripheral nerve injury by inhibition of p-ERK and p-JNK antibodies.
What do we conclude? The studies indicate that curcumin can be an efficient alternative to anti-depressants in relieving neuropathic pain in sciatica patients.
Its ability to increase the levels of serotonin and dopamine and decrease the levels of monoamine oxidize enzymes make it a potent anti-depressant.
Turmeric in the diet is absolutely safe. Turmeric supplements should be taken with care. (Read Side effects of Turmeric)
If you are taking blood thinners, turmeric supplements should be avoided. Turmeric can be included in the diet in small doses. If suffering from a bleeding disorder consult a doctor and herbalist or naturopath before taking turmeric.
Turmeric supplements should be avoided in case of pregnancy and lactation. Discontinue use of turmeric supplements 2 weeks prior to surgery.
Turmeric supplements should be avoided in case of gall bladder obstructions. (Should you take turmeric if you have gallstones?)
Turmeric may interact with certain medications like stomach acid-reducing drugs, diabetes medications, blood thinners. Avoid taking turmeric supplements at the same time as medicines.
Consult a health practitioner before taking turmeric supplements.
Sciatica is a symptom which is caused due to problems in the sciatic nerves. It is characterized by lower back pain, numbness, weakness and tingling sensation in the legs and the feet.
Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of turmeric make it useful in the treatment of sciatica. Turmeric is also useful in reducing neuropathic pain caused due to sciatica.
Turmeric may work as an efficiently powerful remedy for sciatica treatment if included in the diet in appropriate doses.